Tech Selection: When Consensus Doesn't Work...
Welcome to RSG's latest "Real Story" case study about technology selection.
Sometimes a team can’t reach consensus. This may be because participants don’t trust each other or have brought baggage to the process, but more commonly they simply disagree about what they saw or the organization’s relative priorities.
We once advised a financial services conglomerate selecting CRM technology. It was a major effort with a large project team, and in this case, after long discussion and analysis, the business and IT stakeholders disagreed about which vendors should advance. The IT participants were agreeable to a vote, which they would have lost, but the savvy business champion decided to take a different approach.
Executive Board or Steering Committee
We documented the key concerns and disagreements and brought the issue to an executive review board, which eventually made the decision.
To be sure, you don’t typically want to punt such decisions “upstairs;” rather, you should employ such bodies for review and validation of specific recommendations from the selection team. In this case, it was essential for a clear decision to be made, and it created an environment where the IT team didn’t feel railroaded by their colleagues, which would have boded poorly for essential future cooperation.
Good Demos Make a Difference
In the post-mortem, it was clear that the team had not done enough hands-on vetting. A product selection process should be empirical: that is, test based. Unfortunately, even larger enterprises often make selection decisions based on emotion, vague impressions, or attractive (but not meaningful) demos.
The demo phase is critical because it takes the abstract and turns it into something real on the screen in front of you. Demos can be very revealing, certainly about the vendor, but also about your own requirements. Here you can find 10 steps to a successful demo.
If you're selecting digital marketing / engagement technology, be sure to check out RSG's hard-hitting vendor evaluation research.