When a group representing multiple silos or stakeholders is asked to make a decision, it faces known difficulties: resistance to change, power structures, biases in instinctive (System 1) decision-making and fear of the unknown. Sometimes there is an incentive for the group not to make a decision, often the fear of making a bad one. But the cost of not making a decision - or making a much-delayed one - can be huge. These groups need tools to help them make decisions - a series of good decisions, staged throughout the project.
Our decision-making methods find the best approach in a way that is rapid, rational, auditable and robust to factional interests. Our combination of process (method), content, technology and leadership yields steady project progress, ensures the group understands the decision-making, and makes the conclusion clear and justified. Even people who don't agree with the final decision are more likely to support the conclusion if the process is open and fair.
Moreover, when the wider stakeholders become involved, such as capital approval groups or external investors, they are more likely to endorse the decision if the working material shows due diligence and a strong decision-making method.
Our track record
We are adept at distilling requirements from complex situations and tackling people issues. Our founder Martin Tate has personally run (or rescued) 56 IT selections, interviewed about 790 staff to capture requirements and appraised nearly 1,050 candidate solutions. However, the most important statistic is double-zero - never once has a project gone through our process and failed to deliver a decision, and never once has a project procured a solution that subsequently proved unfit for purpose.
This experience has given us a rich knowledge unrivalled in our field. Our techniques have been employed by many leading organisations such as Biwater, Bombardier, Castrol, DaimlerChrysler, DWP, Intelligent Energy, both Lancashire and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Services, LEGO, Pearson, RNIB, Travelodge and Turtle Wax. There are example projects on our Clients page.
What happens if you use the Decision Evaluation Selection Method?
On two occasions, applying the methodology yielded a discount that was around four times the assignment cost.
The fee for selecting one finance solution was £9k; the supplier gave a discount of £36k. On a much larger selection, the respective numbers were £104K and £365K.
On two other projects, the winner of the rigorous evaluation process was less than 10% of the cost of the runner up.
One client considered two separate best-of-breed candidates before they engaged us. Using our systematic method, we found one integrated solution that reduced their 10 year cost by £18m.
3. Free enhancements
Because the systematic approach involves formal gap analysis before you sign contracts, we negotiate for the standard software to fit your requirements more closely - funded by the R&D budget of the supplier.
An FMCG producer engaged us to prove the pan-European rollout of a new software product. To secure the sale (and a new market), the vendor committed to free enhancements to make the product suitable for France. These were subsequently valued at £130k.
With software that fits rather than restricts, the productivity of all the people using it is raised.
A client's sales administration on patchwork systems meant triple-keying. The resulting integrated solution supported a sales turnover that was nearly doubled, but with the same number of staff.
5. Rapid progress
The method delivers a defensible decision in a predictable - and often aggressive - timescale.
Internal disagreements at an international manufacturer meant large committees had been evaluating off-the-shelf ERP solutions for five years without reaching a decision. We joined the project and took it from requirements to purchase within six months.
What could happen if you don't use the method?
A. The solution might not fit and may not be used at all
Morgan Stanley published an estimate in 2002 that US companies alone had wasted $130,000,000,000 on unneeded IT in the previous two years. As technology becomes more critical and off-the-shelf solutions (including cloud and external service providers) more universal, directors and senior managers need to know how to reduce the risk on such projects.
B. Post-contract costs
There are huge financial and intellectual switching costs to change infrastructure. You are therefore ‘locked in’. To address the lack of suitability that you didn't discover during your evaluation, technology suppliers are able to charge high rates post-purchase.
C. Technology strategies cannot be implemented
If you make decisions that are not informed by understanding both business and technology, you can find yourself committed to a path that is never going to work.
D. Suppliers don't want your business
Good people are scarce in technology, and suppliers can sell their expertise at high rates. If you act like a novice purchaser, they may be unwilling even to tender.
E. Misunderstanding and misrepresentation
Relying too much on tender documentation means technology suppliers can define terms to suit their product. For example, ‘must be able to upgrade’ may mean ‘you can throw it away and buy a new, bigger one later’.