Maximo Mobility Myth Busters
Part One - Why is an RFP or tender process usually the worst way to select a mobility solution?
I have been living within the world of Maximo for 17 years. Maximo 5.1 was my first taste, and things have only gotten better since then. While still considered a rookie by some of my [much older] peers, I have experienced the use of Maximo across many industries and on all seven continents. Throughout that time I have been on both sides of the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. Actually, all three sides. Or both sides plus the bit in the middle, however you want to look at it. First, as part of the customer organization, seeking software and services. Then as a Federal Government contractor, procuring and then implementing software and solutions. And then last, as the vendor, responding to RFPs. For the past ten years, I have been focused on mobility solutions. The one thing that I have learned over that time - is that the RFP process sucks for all involved!
RFPs can set the ensuing project up for failure. The more process-driven the RFP, the more it is designed to be seen to be ‘fair and impartial’ (the main reason for RFPs), the more it will fail. The result will be a solution that either meets the letter of the RFP requirements but is not what the organisation actually wants or needs, or is a good solution that was delivered late and over budget.
There are many reasons why RFPs are terrible and everybody hates them. However, for this blog series, I am going to focus on the RFP requirements for Maximo mobile solutions. More specifically, I am going to look at the myths that find themselves into those requirements and set the bar in completely the wrong place.
I should also point out that a well-planned and executed RFP for the right reasons can be a great way to procure software and services. It is incumbent on the contracting entity to do its research before publishing the RFP. An RFI with vendor workshops is a great starting point (as long as the RFI is well written!).
The requirements matrix is the first place I go when evaluating an RFP for a bid-no bid recommendation. A quick once over will often tell me whether it is worth even reading the full RFP. In many cases, the RFP was seeded, or even co-written, by a competitor. In those cases, the goal of the tenderer is to make sure the RFP appears to be fair and competitive while ensuring only their chosen vendor can meet the requirements. Having a good knowledge of your competition’s strengths and weaknesses will usually weed these out fairly quickly. Another reason to give me pause is when the requirements are badly written. Do they even make sense? Are they really just a poorly compiled wish list? I have seen requirements that are contradictory, mutually exclusive even. I have seen others where the procurement manager clearly just told everyone to send in a list of requirements to be included. The results were aggregated and sent out - with no editing to standardise them or even to weed out duplicates! The takeaway here is that if the requirements are so badly written they cannot be understood, then what chance does the project have for success? How will be the customer/vendor relationship be? While it is important to make sales, it is equally important to have a portfolio of successful implementations and happy customers. Actually, I think it is more important.
In my next post, I am going to discuss the RFP myth of an entirely Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) mobility system as being suitable to meet an organization’s unique business processes. In the meantime, please check out our website to learn about our award-winning solutions. You can also contact me directly by clicking the email link below to set up a discussion or demo. I am always happy to talk about Maximo mobility and can promise no hard sell, just frank and open discussion!