Every company has different needs. These will depend on company size, location, products they offer, not to mention the current infrastructure in place. Unfortunately, there is not a solution that “fits them all”, and the high maturity of the IT market leads to numerous vendors offering their services. In this context, the main issue is not to cover the needs of an organization, but to choose the best solutions and to understand their advantages and disadvantages.
Evaluating and selecting vendors and solutions is not an easy task. It is a process and having a solid methodology in place will certainly mitigate the risks in this choice and allow you to evaluate the value of the wide range of options available more quickly. It is challenging to make decisions considering the job to be done, tasks to be completed and customers’ demands. Generally speaking, this process can be divided into five phases:
It is vital to define the goals of your organization and understand why you need to achieve them. In this sense, it is feasible to identify the priorities, learn about the context, know the vendors and evaluate their performance. At this stage, it is also necessary to establish a time frame. Moreover, businesses will have a clearer description to avoid issues or misunderstanding along the practices.
2. Framework creation
In order to find the best solution, it is necessary to understand the entire business model and the IT strategies of your organization. Creating a framework also allows you to spot vulnerabilities in your current strategy and tend to them. Thus, this stage should be considered as an opportunity to redesign and improve the practices, moving from good to great. In any case, and regardless the findings on the go, it is essential to keep the existing issues in mind.
3. Request for information
Once the problems are defined, it is time to contact different vendors. There should be a minimum criterion to shortlist the suppliers, such as payment, contracting, disbursement, maintenance, and monitoring. Moreover, it is essential to analyse the services from the technical perspective and understand whether it matches the technical structure of the business that seeks for solutions. It is worth mentioning that having strong knowledge on the market is key to speed this stage up.
4. Request for Proposal
At this point, your company already has an idea of the vendors that offer the – apparently - best solutions for your business, and thus final details are to be discussed. You and your stakeholders ask vendors for clarification and for the possibility to amend things in the contract in case they decide to move on. The answers of the vendors must be evaluated to decide for the most suitable supplier.
Choosing a solution does not mean that the implementation will be a one-time task. There should first be a pre-implementation process, where the solution is tested, and professionals identify gaps. It is likely to change procedures, timing, number of employees, among other factors that might affect the final results. Once the changes are made, the operation runs again with these modifications and the process is tested again. Moreover, monitoring is part of the cycle and a vital procedure during the implementation phase.
6. Proof of Concept
Every tool and process have weaknesses and advantages. It is vital to compare the reality with what was expected. Identifying that the solutions focuses on the problem to be solved is a priority to ensure a well-functioning of the processes. A fair evaluation is needed in order to make changes on time or improve the solution.
Can companies do it on their own?
There is nothing to indicate that companies cannot attempt to accomplish this process on their own. However, deep knowledge of the market and of its many vendors is undeniably necessary. There are also several risks associated with this process. One of the most common issues companies have is assuming that they do understand their needs, leading them to implement a solution which does not fully satisfy them – when at all. Additionally, implementing the wrong solution could be twice as expensive as implementing a solution which turns out to be inadequate and undoing the damage caused comes at a cost.
On the other hand, organizations must consider their staff capabilities. Solutions are very complex and unique requiring training new or existing staff, which could be costly. It is important to keep in mind that every company will promise “the best”, but they do not consider every organization’s particular needs and competencies. In a similar vein, considering the compatibility between the solution offered and the organization’s architecture is crucial. Trying to implement a solution that does not fit properly would be both a waste of time and assets.
In that sense, a company like KuppingerCole Analysts can help organizations like yours not only to find the best possible solution in the market, but it will also save you time, money, and resources. Structuring and carrying out an IT implementation process is a critical factor of success. Assuring the correct planning will minimize risks, maximize the outcome of endeavours, and consider affordability within the priorities too.
To support organizations in their search for the solution matching their needs, KuppingerCole Analysts launched KC Open Select, an interactive tool that allows users to map their organization's individual Cybersecurity & Digital ID requirements to KuppingerCole’s Intelligence. This user-friendly, fully automated process provides the user with a shortlist of solutions best-suited to the particular needs of their organization from a wide range of services and solutions available. The tool also provides a rating for the vendors, which allows the user to know what other customers think about the services, and whether the vendor will be the best fit for the organization and to face the challenges. KC Open Select will enable organizations to save time, money and resources when researching industry leading vendors and solutions. Try KC Open Select for free.
While no solution can guarantee a 100% efficiency, it is possible to find the best fit possible. Naturally, automation processes to acquire a shortlist of vendors and solutions is a huge help, nevertheless human expertise is also needed. At KuppingerCole our advisors have extensive experience negotiating with vendors, a clear understanding of the market, and proper knowledge about what leaders are doing. The combination of KC Open Select and advice from expert would undeniably support organizations to find what they need. KuppingerCole can offer this, and in the process to find and implement solutions, we will state hypotheses, validate them, and find the most efficient techniques for your organization.
You can learn more about implementations in the following posts:
Implementing Modern and Future-Proof PAM Solutions
Analyst Chat #138: Jumpstart Your Zero Trust Strategy With Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) Solutions