Read on to find out why you need to be super diligent with your technical approvals.
“But hadn’t the solution design and the effort estimate been vetted and approved by the Technical team?”. As it turned out, while the design was developed by the solution lead it was not vetted by the Centre of Excellence, which should have been the case given the nature of the project. A crucial miss which cost the company both in terms of dollars and time.
For solution providers the final BOM varies from one bid to the other depending on various factors such as – workload, specifications, SLAs, timelines and of course price. They have to juggle several balls in the air simultaneously - products, architecture, configurations, effort estimates, and annuity services line items before finalizing the BOM. This includes BOM from 3rd parties such as OEMs and sub-cons. Normally, each LoB appoints a lead who is tasked to develop the BOM. He in turn is supported by subject matter experts, OEM consultant, etc. Multiple iterations lead to the final BOM. The different lines of business or practices then provide their respective BOM which makes up the complete solution.
Once finalized it is sent to the pricing team for commercial bid preparation!
But wait .. let’s backup to the previous step …
What happens after the engineering/pre-sales/solutions team has finalized the BOM, but before it is sent for commercial pricing - decides whether the organisation will make or lose money during implementation.
Most organizations sign-off the BOM over emails, calls n offline discussions, with the sales person sitting on top of the heads of the technical teams to get it approved in super-quick time (and with least BOM).
What are the drawbacks here:
1. In a solution or systems integration scenario, there are many moving parts and dependencies.
2. The different workstreams are drawn up by projects leads of individual LOBs.
3. Third-party products/services require a finer analysis to ensure they align to customer’s existing versions/editions.
4. SMEs are generally working across projects with divided time and attention.
5. Related functions such as PMO, Quality, Resourcing need to weigh-in their metrices.
Today’s processes are people-dependant, semi-automated (Excel & Emails), labour-intensive (follow-ups n calls), and non-integrated (no single hub for bid documents). Without a thorough cross-LoB review, and checks-n-balances, the solution is suspect to lapses and gaps which could be severely detrimental during the implementation phase.
Who created the BOM, who reviewed it? What was the BOQ we made for a similar UAE customer, last year? How does the new OEM BOQ stack-up with the one offered by the earlier OEM? Is the quantity for this item in line with the norms?
Questions like these get thrown up and answered based on one’s memory, laptop, intuition, or experience. Rarely through up-to-date, accurate data. Often because the required data is not captured/available in a timely, as-required manner in a single repository.
Instead, if there ever was an integrated, automated, rule-based approval system it would enable:
The speed and agility of today’s B2B businesses demand that the technical approvals receive the same level of diligence and approval discipline as followed for the commercial bid. Unless you want to lose money and time, after winning the contract.
Comments and observations welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.