Many reasons for such failure exist, but it’s fair to say that a failure to consider business needs is a big part of the equation.
Traditionally, vendors have repeatedly won business based on previous success in securing clients. This is not a testament to the solution’s actual capabilities but rather to the ability of the sales and marketing teams. Shortlisting a vendor should be based on your existing tech stack, needs and processes. Yet, time and time (and time) again, we have seen companies shortlist vendors with:
- Unsuitable solutions because they used similar, confusing terminology in their marketing and communications that is impossible for an average buyer to differentiate.
- Inappropriate maturity, i.e., the solution is either too immature and unsophisticated for complex process requirements and organizational demands or too mature and sophisticated for a small and immature procurement department.
In short, companies choose a vendor that ‘speaks the best,’ instead of a technologically appropriate vendor that ‘fits the best.’ This is not an informed decision, and you may end up choosing a solution or platform that fails to meet your needs or which you cannot fully use for years, resulting in significant lost opportunities on top of high software costs.
At Spend Matters, we believe a properly conducted procurement tech selection considers both the extent to which the solution’s concrete capabilities meet your company’s needs and how other customers have received it.
A shortlisting approach should provide you with a list of vendors with capabilities in which you can be confident. Then, you can evaluate the ‘softer’ factors to whittle the list of good matches to find the vendor that will work best with you. Ultimately, you’ll select the vendor based on their levels of service and support, short-term product roadmap and long-term vision, corporate culture or market share.
To get started with your tech selection you need to curate your options into a shortlist, which requires the following considerations:
- How your company defines ‘sufficient’ or ‘better’ functionality.
- How a solution would fit your enterprise architecture, including other IT environments.
- Your price range.
- The geography you need covered, e.g., a solution needs to support the languages and currencies you use and handle any audit, clearance, tax or other compliance issues mandated by governments in target countries.
But how can you follow such an approach when every solution wants to present itself as the best, regardless of context?
Spend Matters has introduced the Insider Membership — a one-stop shop to help you keep up with procurement technology (and strategies), know what it can do for you, and — when the time is right — shortlist and research vendors ‘from inception to decision.’
Insider makes tech selections more logical and complete by leveraging the TechMatch app to construct more relevant shortlists, then providing the intel you need to further examine the vendors ‘in play’ through Insider content (i.e. vendor analyses) and the Insider capability comparison app.
With an Insider membership, you can quickly read up on procurement technologies and distinguish vendors based on your functionality and customer satisfaction requirements — fully arming you to focus your tech-selection effort and hone in on your front-runners without any doubt.
All Insider intelligence is underpinned by SolutionMap, the Spend Matters proprietary procurement technology dataset underlying Insider member content, TechMatch and Insider apps for a self-service approach to help you buy according to your specific requirements.
The SolutionMap data comes from analyst reviews and scoring of a solution’s functionalities and capabilities. (Read our methodology in full here.) All vendors within a module are measured against the same scale. The analysts’ rankings are balanced with scores from validated, real-life customer surveys to deliver both an internal view of the solution’s capabilities and an external view of how easy it is to use.
SolutionMap data covers both new and established vendors, and two factors inform the comparisons made within the dataset: technical capability (gathered via a rigorous ‘Request for Information’ or RFI process) and customer ratings. Data is refreshed every 6-9 months.