Implementation, the overlooked component of an evaluation
When companies evaluate wireless expense management vendors, they often look at a number of different criteria. Throughout the sales cycle, whether it be an RFP or less formal evaluation, an enterprise will typically provide a large list of questions that must be answered in order to show them that we’re the best fit for their wireless management moving forward.
This list of questions includes categories such as billing optimization, account management, technology workflow, reporting platform, help desk service levels, pricing structure, and much more. Our sales team and solution experts spend a large chunk of each day simply answering questions about these components of our solution, whether it be in writing or during a sales call. We are more than happy to answer these questions and outline exactly how we provide our services, but we are always troubled knowing that they’re leaving off an important question.
The question: What about implementation?
Sure, it might not be at the forefront of a company’s mind when evaluating “more important things” like price, service, functionality, and ROI, but in our experience, implementation is one of the most crucial components of an evaluation. We see time and time again that enterprises assume all vendors implement the exact same way and there isn’t much difference between one project plan from the next. But, as we’ve seen and heard throughout our 16 years of experience in the industry, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
So what separates mindWireless from the pack? Efficiency and customization. Over 90% of clients had their entire solution implemented in 45 days or less – a much more efficient clip than any other company in our space. Most will give you statistics and project plans to back up their implementation timelines, but it’s important to read between the lines and ask more questions to really understand the differences. Below are a few things to consider when evaluating implementation:
1. Portal Set Up – Every vendor in the evaluation will likely have a portal, but although it may seem this way at first glance, not all portals are created equal. And given this, not all portal build outs are created equal. Thus, it’s important to understand what is required of your enterprise to build out the portal as well as the expected timing of this project.
- Questions that most companies ask: How long will it take to build out a portal?
- How to get the real answer: What all do you need from us in order to build out a portal? How long will it take for you to build an initial test portal for us to try? What happens if we don’t get you the appropriate data and information in time?
2. How Long Until Savings? – Regardless of what vendor you choose, implementation is going to take at least a month (and likely much longer depending on the vendor). And since you’re likely going to start paying them shortly after the contract is executed, it’s important that you begin to receive value from this engagement immediately. No one wants to wait until six months into an agreement to begin developing an ROI on a project. So how do you start sooner? Make sure they have an expense management solution that is easy to roll out and capable of beginning immediately and realizing savings within a month. If not, you probably need to ask some more questions.
3. Who Is Involved? – The success of an implementation project begins with the personnel devoted to it. So one of the first questions you should ask is about the resources dedicated to your account throughout the implementation project. The best case scenario? They should be able to dedicate an entire team including but not limited to an implementation manager, client service manager, relationship manager, lead developer, and financial analyst to walk through the implementation process. If they don’t have a well-rounded implementation team and project manager to lead the way, you might have to double the expected implementation timeline.
We hear from companies all the time that, while another vendor’s services were very appealing, they had to cut the contract simply because of the implementation issues. After you do months of work on an RFP or bid evaluation, the last thing you should have to worry about is nine more months of implementation. It’s all about asking the right questions.
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