Most vendors have a cadre of dealers or consultants who will do implementations, so one of the first decisions facility executives should make is whether they prefer to buy directly from a vendor and task the vendor with the implementation, or whether they’re comfortable letting one of a vendor’s business partners or dealers handle the sale and implementation.
The benefit of the dealer arrangement is that the sale, implementation and support are usually a dealer’s core business. And because these dealers or business partners are generally smaller companies, facility executives may get more personalized service.
However, there are two potential pitfalls to the dealer sale, says Phil Wales, principal, eBusiness Strategies. The first is that if the dealer receives a commission from its partner software vendors, they may push a product or upgrades to a product that aren’t good fits.
Secondly, says Wales, if the implementation goes poorly, there’s the possibility that the dealer will point the finger back to the vendor. Buying directly from a vendor and having that vendor head up the implementation eliminates the possibility of facility executives having to mediate a blame game.
Vendors always certify their business partners, and it’s often a good idea to make sure a dealer has at least two people certified on a particular product. Furthermore, facility executives should ask what the certification process is, says Chris Keller, managing director, Facilities Solution Group. Is there a test? A minimum number of implementations on a product? Obviously, the better prepared the vendor’s implementation team, the better chance of a successful implementation.
The dealer or business partner-implementation model is fairly common, say experts. But facility executives who go that route should use the same diligence in vetting a vendor’s business partners as they do in vetting the vendor itself.
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