Evaluation team members and rank-and-file staff will get more out of a demonstration if they are able to leave with a better understanding of how the proposed solutions will address their major pain points and challenges, including providing a “day-in-the-life” perspective for key stakeholders. For example, they can see how the solution will enhance the employee hiring and onboarding experience, provide more integrated and streamlined processes across finance and HR functions, and empower managers to make better, faster decisions about their finances and workforce.
3. Run Deep Dives on Key Differentiators
Even though many organizations have a good sense of what each vendor’s technology looks and feels like, there are other critical components to consider. The ownership experience and post go-live support vary from vendor to vendor. As part of the evaluation, it is important to allocate enough time during the process for conversations around issues such as:
- Technology architecture.
- Security and data privacy.
- Service-level agreements (SLAs).
- Customer enablement (to ensure proper training of your team).
- Your “community” and the level of participation among customers (i.e., where customers connect to share best practices/questions).
- How innovations and updates get rolled out.
- Perspective on customer support/customer success managers (e.g., who do you go to if you have questions after go live?).
- Deployment considerations beyond pricing and timeline (e.g., percentage on time/on budget, inclusion of delivery assurance services, or certification/recertification process for deployment partners).
4. Emphasize Customer References
Software vendors can provide a lot of useful information to support the evaluation process, but when it comes to conducting reference checks, this is an opportunity for a governmental body to talk to similar organizations and get honest feedback about:
- Why they chose the software.
- Their implementation experience.
- How life has changed since they went live.
- The customer’s overall level of satisfaction.
- Whether they would make the same decision again.
To enable an apples-to-apples comparison, it is important to require each vendor to provide references of other public sector customers who are using the same version of the software being proposed for the organization.
5. Require a Hands-On Test Drive
Vendor-led demonstrations will help provide government leaders and staff with an overview of the solution. However, just as you would test drive a car prior to purchase, public sector organizations have seen tremendous value in performing a hands-on test drive in which staff can experience how they would perform their roles within the solution. This important evaluation activity could be reserved for the final vendors prior to selection.
The Benefits of Rethinking the RFP Process
While the technology market has shifted dramatically in the last decade, the RFP process has not. Instead of checking every box imaginable, technology evaluations should check the boxes that matter most to your organization. This will allow it to accelerate time to decision, deployment, and value realization. By using this approach, public sector organizations can produce a higher quality evaluation that moves past pure feature and function discussions and focuses more on the differentiators that will unlock strategic and economic value.
To learn more about how Workday helps governments drive digital transformation, visit our website.
Special thanks to Sam Ashbaugh, senior value manager for education and government at Workday, who contributed significantly to this article.