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Securing Approval for a KM Solution Purchase – Part Three: What, Where, When

Posted by Jason Buggy

In my previous posts on the buying process I mentioned that in my experience, an effective purchaser of KM solutions needs to have answers to a number of WHY, WHO, HOW, WHAT, WHERE and WHEN questions.  In Part Two, I shared the “Why, Who and How” of it all, and I shall now reveal the “What, Where and When” questions!

WHAT:   When you can answer these questions for yourself, it will help you present a compelling case to your manager.

What is the size and scope of the project and solution that you are proposing?
What will we be able to do better today that we were unable to do yesterday?
What are the overall goals of this project?
What are the criteria that will gauge the success of the proposed solution?
What are the reasons (once you’ve decided) for selecting the proposed vendor?
What happens if you do nothing?

  • This is an extremely important question; be sure to present the answer to this without catastrophizing – there will be many real world scenarios that powerfully demonstrate problems with efficiency, effectiveness and cost.  Select examples that clearly show the pitfalls of a non-KM approach.  Since you already know who your stakeholders are (See Part Two of this series ), you can provide tailored input that resonates with each of them.

WHERE:  This isn’t as straightforward as it used to be.  There are readily available cloud services and hosting solutions that are as secure as your in-house environment; many organizations look at these as ways to offset hardware and personnel costs.  You must understand the protocols for where you should have the solution installed.  For example, if you work for a financial institution, there’s a high probability that your management prefers installed software, rather than using cloud services.   Vendors who only provide cloud services solutions are nonstarters in this scenario.  Make sure you fully understand your company’s security parameters before you decide where the software will reside.  Again you’ll need to consult with your IT staff to understand their preferred scenarios and support model.

WHEN:  As mentioned, it’s a good idea to definite “go live” date; this dictates when you must sign the contract and get it to your vendor.  Also important is knowing:

When will you be ready to train your end-users and administrators?
When is your IT staff available to work with the software vendor?

The IT team will definitely be working on several different projects at the same time - while also putting our unexpected fires along the way.  It’s  very important to make sure you are working closely with IT to make sure you know when they are available to help design, further develop and maintain the selected solution.

I know this is a lot of information.   I’ve taken the key components of the selling process and flipped them to help my (hopefully) future clients navigate the buying process.  After all, the hardest selling job is never performed by me, the sales person - it’s done by our clients trying to convince their companies and colleagues to allocate budget in order to buy our solutions.  That is not an easy task!

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