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The First Step to a Strategic SI Relationship

Business strategy idea as a targeted strategic plan

Systems Integrators (SIs) play a critical role in the success of your implementation projects, and they are often present from the very beginning of your program timeline.  A typical initial engagement point between organizations and their potential SI partners is the RFP Process, but all too often, companies prematurely launch the RFP Process without taking stock of their internal starting point, making it more difficult to establish a strategic SI relationship.

Understanding where to begin is a critical step in ensuring that you are approaching the SIs at the right time and with the correct level of detail when you begin your Request for Proposal (RFP) Process. Here are the steps to finding balance in your RFP approach and establishing a successful SI relationship for your implementation program.

Document What You Know and What You Don’t Know

To ensure you bring the right information to your SIs in your RFP process, start by documenting what you currently know about your initiative and what you are looking for feedback on from the SIs. Align your implementation team on where the SI may be able to offer beneficial insights to help your program run smoother to ensure you don’t miss out on the opportunity to streamline your initiative.

Identify What You Need to Do to Prepare for Your RFP

Before going out to the RFP process, it is important to identify any additional work that needs to be done internally. This could include things like your business process hierarchy, RICEFW counts, or your business value case.  By completing this preparation work, you can ensure that your RFP is well-informed and that you are ready to move forward with the implementation process. This will also call attention to whether your team is clearly aligned on your program goals, scope and current IT landscape before involving the SIs.

Determine Risks and Pain Points

Prior to launching the RFP, take the opportunity to meet with your key stakeholders to inventory and align on your most significant pain points. Additionally, outline any key risks or challenges that your team anticipates once your program is up and running and solicit the SIs feedback on strategies and suggestions to address your pain points and/or reduce your perceived risks.

Assess Your RFP Readiness

Once you have documented your known requirements and inventoried your risks/pain points, you can assess your RFP readiness. This will help you to determine if you are ready to launch an RFP, need to complete additional preparation work or require a Phase 0 to better inform your Implementation RFP.  To assess your readiness, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a clear understanding of your needs and business goals?
  • Have you identified the risks and pain points that you hope to address with the new system?
  • What is your migration strategy? Are you looking for a brownfield or greenfield approach?
  • Are you able to define your current and future ERP landscape, including external interfaces?
  • Is your team ready to start receiving RFP responses and engaging with potential SIs?

Capitalize on SI Expertise

Look to maximize the benefit you are receiving from your SIs during the competitive process. Leverage the RFP to gain insights and suggestions based on the SI’s experience. This will also provide a better understanding of each SI’s capabilities and how they can help you to achieve your goals.

Establishing a Strategic SI Relationship

Ensuring your requirements are clearly outlined and your SI assumptions are justified is key to a successful RFP process. Don’t overlook the RFP preparation process – it is critical to establishing a strategic SI partnership.

Download our full webinar “Keys to a Successful Systems Integrator Relationship” to learn more about building and maintaining a strategic SI partnership throughout your entire project lifecycle. You can explore our Project Execution Advisory Services for ways UpperEdge can help you manage your SIs.

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