• Choose the right IT consultancy – 6 steps to a good procurement

    Upphandling IT-partner

    Fast-growing Fenix begravning is a Swedish start-up disrupting the funeral industry. To succeed in their mission, they need an efficient and innovative platform. Armed with years of valuable experience, CTO Johannes Ekblad performed an efficient and successful procurement of a partner to help build the Fenix platform. Two years later he is satisfied with his choice – and gives his best advice, step by step. 

    Step 1: Explore the technology

    In many procurements there is already an existing system and the choice of technology has already been made. But in some situations, the choice of technology is still open for discussion. When this is the case, the first phase of the procurement process should be about gaining a basic understanding of what technologies are possible to use.

    “In the beginning I focused on trying to understand how we could build the platform. Talking to people you trust will help you form an opinion on what technologies would be good for the project”, Johannes Ekblad advises.

    This step will give you the knowledge you require to move on with the process.

    Step 2: Write user stories

    At the same time as you are exploring technologies, it is wise to start specifying what functionalities are required. Johannes advises that you do this from a user perspective.

    “Our user stories describe the different ways we want users to be able to do things. We defined the different user roles and wrote stories based on these.”

     Step 3: Set your criteria for suppliers

    Now it’s almost time to contact suppliers. But first you want to know what you’re looking for. List the most important criteria that you are looking for in a supplier. The criteria can be about price, quality, lead time or the skills of the team. 

    “For us, a fixed price was important in the starting phase. We also prioritized finding a supplier who uses modern technology and could start working as soon as possible. And the gut feeling of course – trust is number one for me”, Johannes explains. 

    Step 4: Make a first selection

    Short list the suppliers that seem interesting. The companies can enter the short list from a variety of sources: through word of mouth, via a search on Google or by cold contacting your company. 

    Analyse which suppliers meet your criteria best. It’s a good idea to select three to five companies that you will meet and ask for a tender.

    Step 5: Meet the suppliers

    At this stage it’s all about asking questions and gaining trust. Which of the companies will be able to do your project best? Meet the companies personally and ask for a tender.

    Make sure you meet the actual people who will be delivering in the project, not just the sales representatives.

    “The people who will do the job are most important. You need to trust them. Make sure that you meet them and ensure that you trust they will do a good job. That’s the biggest success factor and that’s what we focused on”, Johannes says.

    An important factor for selecting Indpro during Fenix’ procurement is that Johannes felt that Indpro’s team was open and honest.

    “I especially appreciated that they were not nostalgic about technology, quite the opposite. They were open to building our platform with many different technologies. Their flexible mindset gained my trust.”

    Step 6: Move forward with one supplier

    Now it’s time to decide which supplier you want to move forward with. What company do you believe will do the best job with your project? 

    When you’ve made your choice it’s a good idea to start with a joint workshop where you go through the project.

    “We followed Indpro’s process. They created the technical specs and started working with the technical parts – setting up the cloud services on AWS and building a skeleton. The designer and I started working on the design, created wireframes and communicated this to the team”, Johannes explains.

    Within a year, the first version of the system was up and running.

    “The reason why it took so long is that we started with changing ERPs. Otherwise we would have been up after three months. Also, I didn’t want to release the platform too early. A new work tool needs to be better than the old one you are replacing.”

    Step 7: Continuous cooperation

    If the cooperation is successful, the client and the partner will continue into a phase of long-term cooperation. The team and the client then continue to work with continuous improvements and launching new features. 

    Johannes Ekblad is very satisfied with how his project was implemented, and how the cooperation with Indpro continues.

    “The team has been passionate about the project since day one, and we have worked together closely. I don’t think our platform would have turned out this good with a different partner. Many suppliers want the client to make all decisions, but I’m not the best person to make all decisions in all situations. Indpro have spoken their minds and made their opinions clear when needed. I don’t want to make the decisions just because I’m paying the bills – I want access to the full competence of the team.”

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