Increasingly over the last few years I’ve been shocked by how many people use the internet to get a quote for their MAS 90 and MAS 200 upgrades or new implementations.
The fact that people are going out over the Internet doesn’t shock me. It’s the relative complexity of projects they’re looking for quotes on that does.
– Don’t know what version they’re using
– Can’t find their disks
– Can’t “remember” their Sage partner
– Have had several prior accounting staff running their MAS90 system
– Can’t remember/Don’t know if they have customizations, custom reports
I totally get that companies don’t spend all their time analyzing their accounting systems to get these answers.
What I’m opposed to is the notion that sending an email request for an upgrade which either invites the receiving party (VAR/Consultant) to spend 2 to 4 hours (unpaid) doing a needs assessment or just shooting a number and hoping for the best.
You could (quite correctly) ask why VARS are not taking the 2-4 hours to analyze situations and then present detailed bids. In some cases VARS do — until they realize that most Internet requests for bids are really just requests for third bids that a customer sometimes (not always) is using to compare against a preferred provider.
And that preferred provider may not have done any due diligence. So the VAR’s analysis is then fed back to the low cost provider who uses the quote to make sure they didn’t misunderstand the needs of the customer (which they usually did).
The diligent VAR is then left having provided a valuable service for no compensation. Repeat this 4 to 6 times a week and you’ll quickly see how providing free (high level) needs analysis to random customers who you have no prior relationship is not a sustainable business model.
Is there any question why so many IT projects fail?
In the race to the lowest cost people (both customers and VARS) forget that unless the solution works to the expectations of the customer that the bidding process is actually a lose-lose-lose.
Fewer and fewer people are actually taking the time to understand the concerns. Review alternatives — and finally to implement a sound solution.
It’s all ready, fire, aim.
The customer loses because they thought they were getting everything at one fixed low price and that the services would “fix” numerous previously undisclosed problems.
The consultant loses because they underbid – and in some cases race to finish and get out with their sanity intact
The publisher loses because they have an unhappy customer who probably tells everyone how horrible the software they are using is.
Most fo the time these projects shouldn’t be 3 bids and take the lowest. If you’re going to go for bids I’d go for bids on the qualifications of the consultant first. Then expect to pay a realistic price.
Sending an email blast asking “can you quote my upgrade” rather than “would you like to become our trusted consultant” to half a dozen VARS found in a Google search is a recipe for problems because bidding often is not accompanied by any deeper understanding or probing of underlying disclosed or undisclosed problems.
.02 via Information Week