If you're still struggling to deploy software that was delivered before summer vacation, you're not alone. Especially in an industry where merger after merger has resulted in companies with more product than they can handle. What happens is that a lot of sales and a lot of promises are made on the front end, only to get bottlenecked in the implementation phase.
That's because the goal of these frazzled sales reps is to get the deal done and worry about the details later. They mean well but, as they turn their attention to the next sale, they lose track of the state of your order, which may have passed through more than one rep's hands during the post-transaction, pre-installation process. And, let's face it, yours is the one that counts.
Here's how to avoid falling prey to vendors who look good on the outside but aren't well positioned on the inside to deliver a fully installed solution.
- Get the details before you sign anything. Don't settle for "Sure, we can work that out downstream". Ask them for a clear and concise statement of work "SOW", complete with milestones, deadlines and responsibilities clearly identified.
- Insist on a written escalation policy with named individuals and phone numbers so that you can go up the chain of command if needed.
- Make sure the product being installed is actually the product you purchased. That may sound funny, but it's no laughing matter when you purchase a product only to find that the company has just completed a merger or acquisition and your product has been replaced with something else of "so called equal" value.
- Don't get stuck paying for software updates or expensive upgrades that you didn't ask for. And you shouldn't have to pay if you change out your switch either. Not in this era of open systems.
Finally, ask to speak with a few clients. Don't rely only on posted reviews. Nothing beats picking up the phone and talking things over with another user of the product. You'll be surprised at how much you can find out!
Above all, remember, your TEM provider is there to serve you, not the other way around. Make sure you select a company that has a reputation of sticking to their promises. If you do your homework and check all the boxes, you should be well on your way to a smooth installation of a quality product.