Requests for proposals have gotten a bad rap lately. What ends up happening is a fashion show competition breaks out when someone should have simply asked the question: What really is your business problem and what do you see as a success? What is lost is the true understanding of what the company in question is trying to accomplish. It is great that a company might want to entertain the upgrade of their forecasting or replenishment system, but what was the problem with what they were doing in the first place and why do they need this upgrade? Let's face it, a software upgrade is a complicated and uncomfortable process, and it can be a particularly arduous one if you don't have some kind of vision of what the benefits will be at the end of the journey.
This is why I always push for a software provider to do a strategic value assessment (SVA) while working with the customer. Obviously, there should be some kind of qualification, because the last thing anyone wants to do is waste time researching and validating information to a customer who has no intention of moving forward. The SVA is an opportunity to spend a day with the customer to get a complete understanding of what is in the vision.
So, what is a strategic value assessment?
I have been involved in more SVAs than I care to count, but every one of them takes on a strange ritual dance of trust building and expectations. ...