Through Knowledge Base Technology Selections Deliver Value

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  • Published On: July 22 2002



Through Knowledge Base Technology Selections Deliver Value
Lou Talarico - July 22, 2002

Overview

In April, a major consulting firm began using a branded Technology Selection Tool to help its clients select E-Procurement technologies based on each client's specific business objectives. The tool arms field consultants with information on the functional and technical capabilities and implementation characteristics of various E-Procurement solutions. The information is accessed though a patented decision support tool that allows field consultants to provide clients with quantitative analysis that indicates which E-Procurement software represents the best fit and the risks associated with the decision.

The addition of this tool to the consulting firm's proven selection methodologies promises to shorten the sales cycle and reduce sales costs by properly matching clients with appropriate technology solutions with little consulting time required. Furthermore, the consulting firm's clients are quickly assured that the company understands their business and the technologies available to enable improvement through the use of the branded selection tool. The tool also compliments the consulting firm's proven selection methodologies to help its clients identify the value proposition of implementing E-Procurement solutions such as integration to an E-Marketplace, private exchange, or ERP system.

The firm's field consultants work with the client to determine the business objectives and implementation constraints associated with implementing an E-Procurement solution. This information is loaded into branded selection tool and the tool helps the decision makers determine which solution best matches the client's priorities.

For More Information on Using Knowledge Base Assisted Technology Selection in Your Organization Please Contact: sales@technologyevaluation.com.

The Branded Selection Tool

The branded selection tool was developed in conjunction with the Technology Evaluation Center (TEC). The tool uses the same patented decision support technologies found in the Technology Evaluation Support System (TESS) to help the consulting firm bridge the knowledge gap between product experts and field consultants.

Knowledgebase Structure and Setting Priorities

The branded selection tool has two main components: a collection of ratings (or scores) on numerous criteria for various E-Procurement solutions and a decision support tool that allows users to prioritize the importance of specific criteria and quantifiably compare the results. The criteria are organized into a hierarchy, which is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

The hierarchy is expanded to see the high level groupings of criteria. End-level criteria fall below the high-level groupings, and each E-Procurement solution in the knowledge base has a rating for every end-level criterion. Ratings are scores that indicate a solution's ability to meet the conditions of the criteria.

The firm's field consultants work with clients to prioritize the criteria. The prioritization process allows clients to enter their requirements into the knowledge base. Because the criteria under the first grouping are organized by business objective (the grouping "Business Value Creation Opportunity"), clients can prioritize business objectives to determine which solutions have the functionality to enable those objectives. This is done through a step-by-step process illustrated in Figure 2.

Figure 2.

Each criterion in the hierarchy falls below one of the steps in Figure 2. The steps are organized to allow field consultants to easily use the tool with the proper person in the client's firm. For example, a field consultant can sit down with an Operations Manager to complete Step 5, and then sit down with an IT Manager to complete Step 6. Examples of prioritizing criteria appear in Figure 3.

*Figure 3.


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*Thresholds and other components on this screen represent additional functionality that is outside the scope of this writing.
For more information please write to ltalarico@technologyevaluation.com.

In this example two end-level criteria under Step 4 have been prioritized as "Somewhat Important." Field consultants guide clients through the process of determining importance of each criterion. TESS, the decision engine behind the tool, runs through a set of algorithms to determine the percentage of a selection decision to assign to a specific end-level criterion based on verbal priority selections such as those illustrated in Figure 3.

Selection Tool Results, Reports, and Graphs

Once priorities are collected on all of the criteria, the branded selection tool generates results.

Figure 4.


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The quantifiable results illustrated in Figure 4 were generated based on solution ratings and client priorities. The metrics used to determine the optimal solution are described in the links below:

Weighted Average

Weighted Average Composite Index
(WACI and Percent Match)

In addition to the results metrics, ATST generates meaningful reports and graphs that help the IT decision maker understand the full scope of the decision. One such report is the "Why the Winner Won" report, which indicates which criteria have the most influence over the selection decision.

Figure 5.


click here to view larger version

*The metrics that appear on this screen represent additional functionality that is outside the scope of this writing.
For more information please write to ltalarico@technologyevaluation.com.

Figure 6 depicts the "Results Comparison" graph, which indicates the strengths and weakness of the E-Procurement solutions at a specific position in the knowledge base. In this example the strengths and weaknesses are compared within the Operating Cost Reduction section of the knowledge base. The nodes on the diagram correspond to the criteria under Operating Cost Reduction and the colored lines correspond to the different solutions in the knowledge base. The scale is in weighted average.

Figure 6.


click here to view larger version

For More Information on Using Knowledge Base Assisted Technology Selection in Your Organization Please Contact: sales@technologyevaluation.com.

Conclusion

The consulting firm uses the branded Selection Tool to work with each client to capture priorities and determine the optimal solution. The tool is an inventive solution to ensure that field consultants effectively deliver technology selection advice to clients without having to complete the insurmountable task of becoming a product expert with every E-Procurement solution available.

The consulting firm uses the branded Selection Tool to avoid technology procurements that are destined to fail as a result of a poor fit between vendor and client. This reduces the risk of implementation failure and eliminates time and money expended during implementation to customize the wrong product for a client.

For More Information on Using Knowledge Base Assisted Technology Selection in Your Organization Please Contact: sales@technologyevaluation.com.

 
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