How long is selection process?
It depends on several factors but the selection process usually lasts 3-4 months. Factors that might affect the duration include:
- Key user availability for meetings
- Initial knowledge about requirements on the client's side
- Whether the solution is implemented from scratch, an enhancement or a switch of vendor + technology
- Overall complexity of the project's implementation
- Vendor availability
- Vacation periods (summer/winter breaks)
What constitutes the start and the end of the project?
The project starts when we sign the contract and a kick-off meeting is held.
It ends once the client selects the winning partner.
What's included in the scope of the project?
- Calendar: Overall project calendar
- Initial call: Call with Business Unit Manager to identify high-level requirements
- Interviews: 1-to-1 interviews with key users (usually 10-15)
- Meeting minutes: Detailed meeting minutes from all interviews
- Business requirements: Detailed and indexed business requirements
- Tech requirements: Detailed and indexed technological requirements
- Management requirements: Detailed project management requirements
- Vendor scouting: Initial market analysis of 40+ market players
- Full RFP document development:
- Section 1: Administrative section
- Section 2: Business and technical section
- Section 3: Management section
- Section 4: Pricing section
- Section 5: Evaluation section
- Revisions: Unlimited revisions of RFP sections prior to distribution
- Follow-ups: Weekly meetings with BU Manager and monthly meetings with Steering Committee
- Calls with vendors: 1-to-1 calls to vendors to “sell” the project
- RFP distribution: Distributed to all relevant parties
- Single point of contact: With potential vendors and client
- Q&A: Q&A follow-up with potential vendors
- Proposal reception: Reception and distribution of all RFPs to internal team members
- Evaluation guidelines: Preparation and explanatory session with Evaluating Team
- Evaluation rounds: First and second rounds of evaluations
- Vendor clarifications: Detailed clarifications issued to vendors that passed the 2nd round
- Evaluation meetings: In-depth meetings with internal team members
- Shortlisting: Selection of 3 finalists and reporting
- Selection Day: Organization and attendance in client’s premises
- Final decision: Support in final decision of partner
- Debriefing: 1-to-1 calls with not-selected vendors after final decision has been issued
What is out of the scope of the process?
- Contract and price negotiation with selected partner
- Implementation project management
What internal team members are required during the process?
As I mentioned in my values it's important to have the client's team on board from the beginning and throughout the whole process. A project team organization chart will be defined at the start of the project to identify relevant roles in each phase of the process.
Although each project varies, a typical might include:
- 10-15 key final users who can express their needs
- 1 Steering Committee (usually 3-4 people with strategic vision for monthly follow-ups)
- 1 Business Unit Manager (with operational vision for weekly follow-ups)
- 1 Technical Manager (with relevant technological knowledge)
- 4-5 Evaluating team members (with time and knowledge to review proposals that make it to the second round - this is crucial to avoid any type of bias or favoritism)
Where are you based?
I am based in Spain and work remotely.
I basically use Skype, GoToMeeting and Google Docs or whatever collaborative solutions the client might use to carry out all the phases of the project and communicate with all relevant parties.
Do you work alone?
Yes, I produce all my work, carry out all the interviews, issue project follow-ups and become the single point of contact for all involved parties to ensure the highest quality in every part of the process.
It's crucial though, to have two key people from on the client's side who can dedicate some time to the project:
- Business team member
- Technical team member
In some cases, and if deemed necessary, I will hire a specialist in a certain technology or sector to complement my knowledge but I will never outsource any part of the process or communication with all involved parties.
In any case, if I do decide to hire external help, I will not invoice this to the client.
Are you willing to travel?
Yes. At the final stage of the project I will travel to the client’s premises to evaluate the final round of presentations.
Please refer to the fees section for more details about travel expenses.
What sectors does the method apply to?
It can be applied to pretty much any sector:
- Maritime transport
- Public transport
- Real estate
- Consumer electronics
- Food and beverages
- Events management
What technologies or software categories does the method apply to?
As with sectors, it can be applied to any technology. This doesn't mean that I'm an expert in these technologies, it means that I can apply the method's principles and selection processes for each specific case:
- B2B marketplace platforms
- Collaboration & productivity
- Content Management
- Customer Relationship Management
- Customer Service
- Governance, Risk & Compliance
- Human Resources
- Performance Management
- IT Management
- IT Service Management
- Business Service Management
- Supply Chain & Logistics
- Vertical Solutions
- Association Management
- Health Care
- Real Estate
- Oil & Gas
What does the Administrative section include?
It includes all the guidelines and rules that apply to this particular RFP process that all vendors must adhere too. Each Administrative section is adapted to the client, technology and implementation at hand. Deliberately not adhering to the rules expressed in the Administrative section might be grounds for disqualification.
There are a total of 35 subsections in the Administrative section, such as:
- Client introduction
- RFP problem statement
- RFP schedule
- Vendor information
- Vendor references
- Submission of proposals and administrative information
- Non-disclosure agreement
- Generic evaluation criteria
- Proposal format
- Offer expiration date
What does the Business and technical section include?
It contains information about the client's current business and technical environments in which the proposed solution shall provide a positive and measurable impact. It also details business and technical requirements that shall be considered in order to provide a complete solution.
The current business environment might include (if available):
- The client's strategy
- Value chain
- Business context
- Existing processes
The business requirements include:
- General business priorities
- Target user groups
- Target processes
- Business requirement responses
- Business requirement details
The current technical environment includes:
- Relevant IT map (if available)
- Current implemented technology (if available)
The technical environment requirements include:
- Hardware requirements
- System software requirements
- Application requirements
What does the Management section include?
It includes the necessary project management plan requirements for implementing the solution at hand so that the vendor can deliver it on time, within budget, and meet all requirements as specified in the RFP.
There usually are a total of 18 subsections, such as:
- Project plan
- Project schedule
- Follow-up meetings
- Staffing requirements
- Roles and responsibilities
- Milestones and go-live
What does the Pricing section include?
It includes all information regarding purchase prices and installation costs for each equipment item, software product, and service proposed, categorized by recurring and nonrecurring costs.
This includes a summary and detailed description that includes:
- Hardware maintenance
- System engineering
- Manuals and documentation
- Conversion services
- Shipping charges
- Installation costs
- Acceptance testing
It also asks vendors to supply information on:
- Payment terms
- Warranty period
- Terms and conditions
What does the Evaluation section include?
This section details how the proposed solutions will be evaluated and a general overview of the scoring system used for each of the aforementioned sections. This allows vendors to know the relative importance of each section beforehand.
What is TCO?
It's the Total Cost of Ownership or Total Cost of Implementation, in this case. Simply put, it's the total investment required (direct and indirect, recurring and non-recurring costs) for the solution to be implemented and maintained over a period of time.
TCO costs usually include the following:
- System hardware
- System software
- Application software
- Project implementation
- Project management
Why do you base your fees on TCO?
Because I believe that my services are an investment and contribute to the overall success of the implementation.
It's fair and transparent for decision-makers, managers and team members because it's fixed and it can easily be budgeted and included into the final TCO.
How do you determine the TCO initially?
Most clients have an annual budget allocated to a certain project and this can be used as a reference.
Other clients might have a vague idea of their requirements but no knowledge about a budget estimate. In these cases, before working on an RFP we can work on a small Request for Quotation (RFQ) project to determine a typical budget for the solution to be implemented and maintained.
What is the range of TCO you provide services for?
From 200K€ to 1M€.
Below that, I'm available for consultations and above that I believe other professional services would be required as projects become far too complex
What percentage of fees do you apply for each TCO range?
Less than 200K€:
Not applicable. You can schedule a call if you need help
Fees: 10% of 200K€ = 20,000€
Fees: 7.5% of 300K€ = 22,500€
Fees: 5.8% of 400K€ = 23,200€
Fees: 4.8% of 500K€ = 24,000€
Fees: 4.2% of 600K€ = 25,200€
Fees: 3.8% of 700K€ = 26,600€
Fees: 3.4% of 800K€ = 27,200€
Fees: 3.2% of 900K€ = 28,800€
Fees: 3% of 1M€ = 30,000€
What are the project's milestones?
My invoices are split according to the following milestones:
- 15% upon initial contract signature
- 20% upon formal acceptance by client of detailed business and technical requirements
- 20% upon formal acceptance of rest of RFP document and sending to pre-selected vendors
- 30% upon evaluation and selection of 3 finalists
- 15% in selection day and partner chosen by client
Note: The initial 55% (15% + 20% + 20%) will be based on the rough estimate from the client's budget. The final 45% (30% + 15%) will be regularized once the average TCO of the 3 vendors is available.
How do you calculate the final TCO to base your final fees on?
I make sure we find enough potential vendors so that by the end of the process 3 will stand out as possible candidates. All of them will have provided a summary-table pricing of their estimated TCOs. My fees will be based on a percentage of the average of those 3 estimates.
Is the length of the implementation relevant to include your services?
No, I've seen companies invest 300K€ in a 5-month implementation and others invest the same over a 5-year period.
Usually, the risk is proportional to the investment required. That's why I focus on investment rather than implementation time.
Nevertheless, a typical project would require vendors to provide multiyear projections in order to minimize the risk of investment for clients.
Are taxes included in your fees?
No. Applicable taxes, such as VAT, are always billed on top of my service fees.
For example, since I'm based in Spain, if the client's HQ are in Spain, VAT = 21%. If the client's HQ are in the EU, VAT reversed charges are 0%.
Are travel expenses included in your fees?
No. Travel expenses will be billed apart and according to the client's standard policies and procedures.