Case study Energy

Tailored selection process ensures best-fit for business technology

Understanding the customer to choose a new line of business system

After a period of rapid growth fuelled by their success in the rapidly growing renewable energy industry, Tekmar recognised that they had outgrown their existing technology platform and systems and identified that the implementation of a central line-of-business system was necessary. The critical first stage was to select the best-fit system for Tekmar’s needs, and they approached Waterstons to propose a project to support them in achieving this goal.

Why Waterstons?

With significant experience and knowledge of the energy sector, Waterstons provides technology services and consultancy to major clients within the industry and has a strong track record in delivering projects of this nature and has undertaken a number of system selection and invitation to tender projects.

Although Waterstons has developed a robust and proven methodology for delivering selection projects of this kind, our customer- intimate approach means no two projects are the same, and we were able to demonstrate to Tekmar that, even in a fast-moving and developing business such as theirs, the process could be adapted and tailored throughout its course.

System Selection Process

Waterstons’ selection process consists of a number of stages; although every customer’s requirements differ and the project will therefore be unique, the core process, broadly speaking, comprises a number of key stages; in Tekmar’s case, the project was undertaken using the following process:

Interviews and documentation process

Interviews with key users and business leaders were carried out to document core business requirements and processes.

Research into systems and vendors

Research into commercially available systems appropriate for Tekmar and its marketplace was undertaken, and vendors contacted to establish their interest in participating in the selection process.

Request for Information (RFI)

An RFI giving brief details of the requirement was issued to vendors, with pass/fail scoring of functionality and other criteria including financial, approach and methodology.

Vendor discovery workshops

After scoring, selected vendors were invited to attend a discovery session with Tekmar, which gives an opportunity for both parties to meet the other, ask and answer questions, and learn more about the requirements.

Invitation to Tender

A detailed ITT was issued, giving full details of the functional and delivery requirements and of the scoring methodology, selection criteria and weightings given to each part.

Demonstrations

Following ITT scoring, successful vendors were invited to demonstrate their solution to a wide group of Tekmar’s senior users. Selected vendors were then invited to attend a second demonstration session to expand on key functional areas and answer questions from Tekmar.

Selection

Waterstons also produced an outline business case and estimated return on investment for the implementation of the system. Using this and feedback from the demonstrations and ITT, Tekmar were able to select a preferred vendor with whom to engage in contractual negotiations for delivery of the chosen solution.

Challenges

It is important to note that Tekmar are not just a manufacturer and supplier; they are a leader in their market, and they focus on all aspects of their products and associated services, including research and development, design and engineering, project management from enquiry to installation, manufacturing, testing and quality control and offshore installation support.

With a business ethos similar to Waterstons, predicated on the goal of providing not only a high quality product but also in delivering excellence in customer service and project management, the successful supplier was clearly going to need a complementary approach.

With this in mind, it was clear that the selection process should focus not only on the ability to deliver the functionality required, but should also be structured to ensure that the chosen supplier would engage with Tekmar on a very closely aligned basis, with flexibility and excellent standards of delivery both critical success factors for the implementation.

To address this challenge, and having recognised that Tekmar’s functional requirements could be met by a wide range of systems, the project was tailored to ensure that the ITT placed great emphasis on suppliers’ methods of engagement, communication, project and change management, user engagement and training, and ongoing support.

Assessing the Benefits

The two biggest areas in which benefits were identified were end-to-end project lifecycle management, and in easier management and planning of production and assembly activities. Associated benefits included improvements to procurement and stock control processes, whilst Tekmar’s finance function would benefit from integrated financial control processes requiring fewer manual interventions and greater flexibility in management information and intelligence.

A number of specific benefits and improvements were also assessed and their potential ROI value calculated on the basis of revenue earning potential. Values were calculated such that 'delivery staff' (those involved in satisfying customer demand) time is attributed to a potential increase in profitability, whilst 'support staff' (finance, administration etc) time is attributed as a potential cost reduction.

These benefits were also scored for their ease of realisation (difficulty of achieving benefit on a scale of 1 to 5) and their business impact in terms of the number of business areas affected.

The potential ROI value and these scores were then represented graphically to indicate the overall value which can be gained versus the complexity and impact which can be used to help determine which areas should be prioritised during implementation.

Benefits were also assessed against Waterstons’ ‘Five Ways’ model which says that projects should deliver improvements in one or more of the following ways:

  • Increasing information security and reduced risk
  • Improved management information and intelligence
  • Improved teamwork and collaboration
  • Improved customer relationships and service
  • Increased quality and productivity
Waterstons provided the required expertise which enabled Tekmar to select a system that matched our requirements and future aims
Tim Overy Business Analyst