So let’s say you’ve successfully delivered the business case for product portfolio management (PPM) and convinced your team that it’s time to take the next step in your organization’s innovation maturity (I recommend reading “Making the Case for Change” if you’re not there yet).
The next step is to vet the vendors and select the best partner that will take your product development process to the next level.
But here’s the problem: many product organizations, especially those knee-deep in spreadsheet hell, aren’t well-versed with purchasing software solutions, let alone a purpose-built PPM solution. Navigating this landscape can seem confusing for some people. And let’s face it, you’ve got other things to do!
So what makes this landscape so confusing? Well, several things make acquiring PPM different than purchasing other solutions and tools. Jim Brown notes the following three elements in the recent Tech-Clarity report, An Action Plan to Improve Your Product Portfolio:
- Many organizations are implementing PPM for the first time
- PPM requires a greater degree of domain expertise to implement and adopt
- PPM disciplines, tools, and value are not as well known in most companies
All three of these challenges make it critical to partner with a PPM company that can not only provide the software solution to make your organization successful, but has the services methodology to implement, run, and support a powerful solution. Even in a world where all PPM solutions were equal, the vendor you chose to partner with could still dictate the level of success you have with PPM.
For this reason, it is critical that you ask vendors to demonstrate their knowledge. Since PPM isn’t a one size fits all solution, you need to ensure you have a partner that has a proven track record of implementation success, one that can coach you and your team toward the best practices to use and a starting point to implement within your organization. If you have existing systems where integrating between other solutions will be a possibility, ask the vendor if their company has experience doing this type of work, and if they have references and case studies from similar, successful companies.
As Jim Brown suggests, “Speak with at least one company like yours to understand their experiences. It’s important to know how the vendor works with their customers, how responsive they are to issues, and how well they listen to ideas for future product enhancements.”
In total, it’s important to consider the purchase of an enterprise-class PPM system not just as obtaining a tool, but also developing a partner. A solid, successful implementation should not be an end in-and-of-itself, but serve as a foundation for an ongoing relationship with an organizational provider whom will support your company’s innovation strategies for years to come.
To learn more about selecting a great PPM vendor, read Tech-Clarity’s free report, An Action Plan to Improve Your Product Portfolio.
Have you had an opportunity to review all the blogs in this series (Is Your Product Portfolio Tool Working for or Against You? – part I, 12 Signs That It’s Time to Start Your PPM Journey – part II and Making the Case for Change – part III)? Has this information been helpful to you for mapping your PPM journey? Share by leaving a comment below.