Tenth and Final Step in a Software Evaluation and Selection Project Contracts Negotiation and Implementation Planning

March 31, 2009

 

The blog on November 17 discussed the first step that should be undertaken whenever evaluating and selecting an HR system. Once you have defined project resources and initiated the project, the second step involves strategic planning and this was posted on November 24. Once the strategic planning phase takes place, it’s time to develop requirements. This third step was posted on December 4 about developing those requirements. The fourth step, Identify Vendors, was posted on December 18. On December 27, we talked about the fifth step, Distributing RFPs (or RFIs) and scoring the responses that you received from the vendors. The sixth step, developing demonstration scripts prior to the vendors coming in for demos, was posted on January 9, 2009. The seventh step, conducting scripted demo demonstration, was posted on January 27, 2009. Step number eight, selecting finalists and performing due diligence, was posted on January 31, 2009. The eighth step, developing the business case and obtaining management approval of your selected vendor was posted on March 2, 2009. Now it is time for the negotiations with the vendor and implementation planning. Pre-implementation planning was discussed with a little more detail in a blog on March 6, 2009.

 

After successfully completing all the previous steps of an evaluation project, the Extended Project Team and Steering Committee have arrived at a consensus as to the software vendor of choice.   Since several months have now elapsed (and everyone is feeling good about the “last vendor standing”), there is a tendency to say, “Enough already, let’s throw the vendor’s ‘shrink wrapped’ license agreement over the fence to Procurement and get the implementation started next week, we’re already three months late!” 

 

Wrong approach, but good intent.  Project teams often underestimate the importance of doing their full due diligence during this final phase of the software evaluation.  Remember that the software evaluation is not over until the license agreement is signed!  Traditionally, the best risk mitigation plan for the company has been to launch a negotiation team with joint responsibility for this important deliverable as soon as the vendor of choice is identified.  The software license negotiation should not be the sole responsibility of a single contributor i.e. the IT Director, VP of HR, Staffing Director, purchasing manager or the company legal counsel.  While that approach remains viable in many companies, in the era of “Internet speed” some companies launch the process earlier, by empowering experienced consultants to begin the process while final evaluation is still underway.

 

This cross-functional team has been empowered by company management to represent the company’s collective talent management system needs and to negotiate to the company’s best benefit.  That means shared goals, without any hidden agendas.  Be alert to team members who are trying to sabotage the negotiation process because their favorite talent management system vendor was not chosen.  Remember that what is said in the room at team meetings should stay in the room.  If one of the team members is “coaching” their favorite finalist vendor on the side, it will decrease the team’s ability to negotiate a contract to the company’s best benefit.

 

The finalist vendor should not have to navigate through successive levels of negotiation meetings.   If a negotiation decision needs to be made, empower the people in the bargaining room with the authority to bind the company and negotiate on the company’s behalf.  It is not a good start to the long-term client-vendor relationship to come to agreement on the vendor’s price and terms and then have a “tag team” force the vendor to revisit the negotiations and change the deal.  Your company needs to negotiate in good faith.  Reciprocally, the vendor should also be held to the same standard.  Their in-person negotiation team should include management that has the authority to bind the vendor and negotiate on the vendor’s behalf, avoiding time-consuming “tiered” negotiation sessions.

 

Start the negotiation phase with a kick-off meeting and outline the tasks and timeline for executing the software license agreement.  (The timeline may overlap with some elements of the implementation planning phase, but don’t make the too-often mistake of starting the implementation design phase or attending the vendor training without a signed contract.  You may not be able to consummate the deal with the preferred vendor and have to re-visit the evaluation.)  Have regularly scheduled team meetings and distribute the meeting agenda well in advance.  This is especially important when you have in-person meetings or conference calls with the finalist vendors.  Present all contract issues at once, don’t single-thread them and wait until the magic time to throw the “show stoppers” at the finalist vendor.  The agenda, meeting minutes and open issues report will keep the participants focused on what is really important.  Significant time should be spent discussing significant contract issues; insignificant time should be spent discussing insignificant contract issues.  Track all open issues and agreed upon resolutions so that they don’t fall off the table.  Take careful note of any vendor promises related to upcoming features and targeted dates; these need to be recorded in the meeting minutes, as well as in the final contract.

 

Finally, be realistic and watch what’s happening in other software evaluation/negotiation projects, both inside and outside the company, and be ready to alter some of your practices if you see a positive trend elsewhere.  In today’s volatile market place, both vendors and buyers are often learning as they go, and it’s a safe prediction to expect this same “e-business” trend to impact our discipline as well.

 

Parallel to the contracts negotiation phase, the Core Project Team should begin the implementation-planning phase.  These project definition tasks include full gap analysis, scope development, project milestone creation, project team organization, change management and adoption planning, knowledge transfer plan, integration design, migration planning, configuration design, testing strategies, etc.  Please contact HRchitect for additional details if needed.

 

Solving a piece of the puzzle…

 

Matt Lafata, HRchitect


Congratulations to the HRchitect Workforce Planning Beauty Pageant Winner – Infohrm!

March 27, 2009

 

On Friday, March 27, HRchitect held the eight installation in our Beauty Pageant webinar series, this time focusing on workforce planning systems. Participants included leading vendors in the workforce planning world – Aruspex, Infohrm, and Vemo.

 

At the end of the webinar, which featured a short overview of the marketplace and definitions of what a workforce planning system does, Infohrm was crowned the winner. HRchitect would like to thank the vendors for participating and the attendees for judging the contestants.

 

The HRchitect Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Tiffany Appleby, continues to amaze me in how well she does in ensuring these pageants run smoothly. It’s not an easy task coordinating each vendor’s presentation, setting up practice runs, and then running the program the day of the event. Tiffany does a great job in the coordination of questions coming in during the event, tabulating the votes, moving the slides, etc. We are grateful for her dedication, determination, skills, and commitment and I couldn’t do these pageants without her.

 

The HRchitect beauty pageant series of webinars has become the buzz of the industry since its debut in November 2008. This series of webinars covers a different area of HR technology with each event and is presented two times a month. The concept allows attendees to see presentations from up to five leading vendors in a fun and informative format where the audience votes on the winner at the conclusion.

 

Past Winners:

In November, iCIMS won the Talent Acquisitions Systems pageant and Cornerstone OnDemand won the Talent Management Systems pageant. Then in December, GeoLearning won the Learning Management Systems pageant. In January we had our Mid-Market Talent Acquisitions Systems pageant and iCIMS was crowned the winner and then our Onboarding pageant was held where SilkRoad was the winner. In February, Spectrum was crowned the winner of the mid-market HRIS pageant and SumTotal Systems won the Performance Management pageant.

 

The Beauty Pageants schedule continues in April as follows:

 

April 10 – 11am CST – Compensation Management
April 17 – 11am CST – Succession Planning

 

In case you have missed any of our Beauty Pageants, you can view them here. Watch this blog and our web site for updates on all of our upcoming Beauty Pageants and register today so you won’t be left puzzled by HR Technology!

 

Matt Lafata, HRchitect


Don’t Miss Friday’s WebMingle with Jon Ingham, Director and Executive Consultant with Strategic Dynamics

March 26, 2009

 

Our weekly WebMingle is designed to give you some insight into the puzzling world of HR technology, discuss news from around the world that we find interesting, talk about upcoming events in our industry, and provide insightful interviews with people of our industry – who they are, what they do and why you should care. The WebMingle has become the most popular live Internet show in the HR technology industry!

 

This week’s guest will be Jon Ingham, HCM Author and Blogger and the Director and Executive Consultant with Strategic Dynamics. Jon is a researcher, writer, speaker and consultant focusing on strategic people management. He works with businesses that already have sound approaches to people management and helps them gain further improvements in the capabilities and engagement of their people, and the effectiveness of their organizations.

 

Visit www.HRchitect.com/Knowledge/WebMingle to listen live on Friday, March 27 at 1pm CST to the 15th show in our WebMingle series. If you missed any of our previous WebMingles, you can also access them from that page.

 

Below is a list of some of our upcoming guests:

 

March 27 – Jon Ingham, Strategic HCM Author and Blogger and Executive Consultant with Strategic Dynamics Consultancy Services

 

April 3 – Jeff Kristick, Sr. VP of Marketing with Plateau Systems, a talent management vendor

 

April 10 – Ian Alexander, VP of Marketing with SonicRecruit, a Talent Acquisition Systems vendor

 

April 17Mary Poquette, Chief Compliance Officer with Verifications, Inc., background screening specialists

 

April 24 Sean Bisceglia, CEO of TalentDrive, a talent sourcing vendor

 

May 1 – Kimberley Kasper, VP of Marketing with SumTotal Systems, a talent management vendor

 

May 8 – Henry Griendling, Founder and Managing Partner, and Joanne Bintliff-Ritchie, Chief Strategist, from DoubleStar

 

May 15 – Tim Clifford, President and CEO of Workscape, a compensation, benefits and talent management vendor

 

May 22 – Jerome Ternynck, CEO of MrTed, a talent acquisition systems vendor

 

May 29 – Sybll Romley, President & CEO of Spectrum, an HRIS vendor

 

June 5 – Larry Dunivan, SVP, HCM Global Products with Lawson, a leading ERP vendor

 

June 12 – No WebMingle due to theHRshow 2009

 

June 19 – Dave Watkins, CEO of Softscape, a talent management systems vendor

 

We look forward to welcoming Jon Ingham to the WebMingle this Friday and hope to have you join us as well.

 

Matt Lafata, HRchitect


HRchitect’s Beauty Pageant Webinar Series Continues This Friday with Workforce Planning

March 26, 2009

 workforce-planning-all-contestants

Our beauty pageant series of webinars has become the buzz of the industry. This series of webinars covers a different area of HR technology with each event and is presented two times a month. The concept allows attendees to see presentations from up to five leading vendors in a fun and informative format where the audience votes on the winner at the conclusion. In November, iCIMS won the Talent Acquisitions Systems pageant and Cornerstone OnDemand won the Talent Management Systems pageant. Then in December, GeoLearning won the Learning Management Systems pageant. In January, we had our Mid-Market Talent Acquisitions Systems pageant and iCIMS was crowned the winner and our Onboarding pageant where SilkRoad was the winner. In February we covered Employee Performance Management where SumTotal Systems won and then mid-market HRIS where Spectrum HR was the winner.

 

To view any of these past pageants, please visit the beauty pageant part of our website. We also have a full schedule of 2009 beauty pageants on our site and several vendors have asked that we create beauty pageants around additional topics, which we are currently in the process of scheduling.

 

The next exciting pageant will be this Friday on Workforce Planning Systems this Friday, March 27 where the participants will be top vendors in this space, Aruspex, Infohrm, and Vemo. Others were invited but unfortunately some vendors are afraid to go toe-to-toe with others in a competitive situation. Come on vendors – get over it and show off your goods!

 

The 90-minute webinar agendas will look like this:

 

Intro by HRchitect

Overview of the marketplace by HRchitect

Short vendor presentations (vendor order will be determine at random)

Q&A of vendors from the audience

Crowning of the Winner

Wrap-up

 

The sessions are moderated by Matt Lafata, VP of Sales & Marketing for HRchitect. HRchitect developed a format to help guide each vendor with an outline of what should be covered during each portion of the pageant.  Since we have billed this as a beauty pageant, we tried to come up with pageant categories for vendors to loosely follow. Of course each vendor is free to follow their own format as this is simply a guideline:

 

Evening gown – To start off each portion, we are asking the vendor to come out in their best ‘outfit’ – corporate overview, history, specific identity, financial viability, marquee clients, leadership team, etc. This will be the grand entrance.

 

Swimsuit – Here the vendors will show some skin in this portion – usability, configurability, etc.

 

Talent – This portion will cover functionality, technology/integration, global ability, etc.

 

Interview – This will be the Q & A section from the audience. 

 

These beauty pageants are designed to give the audience a quick overview of the leading vendors and we are looking for creativity in presentations. Some of the past participants have gotten extremely creative in their presentations and we thank them for their time and efforts in doing this.

 

Here is the schedule of upcoming beauty pageants along with instructions for registering:

 

March 27 – 11am CST – Workforce Planning
April 10 – 11am CST – Compensation Management
April 17 – 11am CST – Succession Planning

 

Watch this blog and our web site for updates on all of our upcoming beauty pageants and register today so you won’t be left puzzled by HR Technology!

 

Matt Lafata, HRchitect


HISTORY – Learn more about it during tomorrow’s webinar!

March 25, 2009

HRchitect‘s Senior Implementation Consultant & Project Manager, Brian Kimball, will lead a webinar tomorrow on ‘Using HISTORY to Properly Scope Your HR Software Implementation Project.’ HRchitect has created this unique acronym to guide you through the elements that are needed when implementing an HR system:

HRMS
Integration
Strategic Planning
Timeline
Organizational Structure
Requirements Definition
Your Resource Availability

How do you know that your software project is completely scoped when working with a vendor? There are many factors that need to be considered in an implementation, including resource availability, system integration, training, change management, etc.

To get a full grasp of potential costs requires that you AND the vendor have a complete understanding of the complete project requirement that drive effort and final cost. If you are getting numbers from vendors without proper scoping, all that does is lead you to believe it is a good number…but it may potentially come around to bite you later on.

This webcast is not designed to bash vendors but rather arm you with the information you need to work with vendors to get more accurate implementation numbers the first time and avoid having to find more budget to finish items you thought you were getting in the first place.

workscape1
Special thanks to Workscape for sponsoring this educational and informative event.

 Register now!


March 20 WebMingle Featured SilkRoad Technology – Next up is Jon Ingham, Strategic HCM Blogger and Author

March 20, 2009

 

Our weekly web mingle is designed to give you some insight into the puzzling world of HR technology, discuss news from around the world that we find interesting, talk about upcoming events in our industry, and provide insightful interviews with people of our industry – who they are, what they do and why you should care. The WebMingle has become the most popular live Internet show in the HR technology industry!

 

The 50-minute WebMingle on March 20, the 14th in our WebMingle series, featured Brian Platz, EVP and COO with SilkRoad Technology. We touched on a number of issues related to Talent Management including:

 

·         What made Brian and SilkRoad’s founders start a company focused on talent management

·         How SilkRoad is dealing with helping their prospects and clients in moving forward with talent management initiatives with current budget constraints

·         How SilkRoad’s talent management offerings differ in the marketplace

·         What made SilkRoad see an opportunity to develop an Onboarding system so long ago and what makes it special

·         Why SilkRoad acquired a Learning Management company and specifically why they chose VTN Technologies

·         Where Brian sees the talent management market moving towards in the future

·         …and more

 

About SilkRoad

SilkRoad technology inc., is a leading provider of a full suite of talent management solutions that significantly improve the talent within its more than 1000 customers across the globe. With a suite that includes solutions for recruiting; onboarding and life events; performance; learning; and employee intranets, SilkRoad offers the most comprehensive talent management suite on the market.

 

About Brian Platz, EVP and COO for SilkRoad Technology

Brian Platz is the Chief Operating Officer and co-founder of SilkRoad technology and is responsible for the overall direction, technology and services to deliver SilkRoad’s market leading Life Suite of talent management solutions.  Brian has had the opportunity to work with hundreds of SilkRoad’s clients on executing their talent strategies with the use of technology and innovative techniques. Brian is a frequent author and speaker on the topics of talent management technology, employee onboarding and social networking.

 

If you missed this past week’s WebMingle, or any of our past WebMingles, please visit our web site at www.HRWebMingle.com. You will see a complete list of upcoming guests and will be able to listen to past shows.

 

Our next WebMingle will take place on March 20 with Jon Ingham, Strategic HCM Author, Blogger and Executive Consultant with Strategic Dynamics Consultancy Services. We look forward to welcoming Jon to the WebMingle and hope to have you join us as well.

 

We hope to have you join us!

 

Matt Lafata, HRchitect


HR in Hospitality Conference this past week in Orlando

March 19, 2009

 

Matt Lafata at HR in Hospitality 2009

Matt Lafata at HR in Hospitality 2009

HRchitect attended the 3rd annual HR in Hospitality conference this past week at the Disney Contemporary Resort in Orlando for the first time. We were curious about the show and decided last year that we would give it a try.

 

According to their web site, they had over 700 in attendance at the 2008 event which was held at the Wynn resort in Las Vegas. This year, the attendance was probably half that. It’s an unfortunate trend in the trade show world this year that attendance is off everywhere. The expense of traveling to shows is just not fitting in with a lot of corporate budgets given other cutbacks – which I think is unfortunate.

 

Industry shows are important to attend for many reasons. The folks that put the shows on work long hours to secure great speakers, exhibitors, conference space, and more. People who come to speak usually give freely of their time to get in front of an audience, get exposure and spread their knowledge. Exhibitors take the time (and incur the costs) to travel and show off what they are all about. And for attendees, well the experience can be invaluable as you get great educational sessions, you visit with vendors that are selling the products or services that you need, and there are great networking opportunities available.

 

All that being said, even though attendance was low, the quality of the attendees was high. The people that are going to these regional shows are generally those that are more serious about learning and advancing their organizations and more serious about investing in services and products that the exhibitors are offering. HRchitect was no different. We talked to some great prospects, networking with others in our industry and meet up with some old friends. For us, it was successful and I hope it was for the others that attended and/or exhibited as well. I applaud the conference coordinators for putting on an excellent show, despite the doom and gloom that we continue to hear every day (all of which I personally don’t buy into and as soon as others stop buying into it we will all be better off – but that is another story for another time).

 

In any event, this does highlight something that HRchitect has been talking about all year. The fact that regional shows will be a bigger draw this year than the national shows due to the above mentioned budget conscious companies who are looking for ways to cut costs. Today’s economic conditions are forcing people to make smarter HR technology decisions than ever before. However, companies still need to gain the knowledge to make those smart decisions, and where and how do you get that knowledge without spending a lot of money traveling to national shows? We invite everybody to come to theHRshow where we have the most affordable registration fee and the same caliber of speakers, presenters, panels and exhibitors as the larger, more expensive shows! The cost is only $335 until April 1 and you can find out more information, and register at www.thehrshow2009.com.

 

So, does it surprise me that the attendance was low at the HR in Hospitality conference? Not at all. The hospitality industry has been hit hard so we expected it…and we made the best of it. I fully expect the Hospitality industry, and the economy as a whole, to come back in a strong way and we are looking forward to the 2009 HR in Hospitality event!

 

Matt Lafata, HRchitect


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