Tier I Evaluation: Solutions and Capabilities
I strongly believe that successful service organizations need to identify and manage their core skills and target solutions to drive profitability. As a customer, this is the place to start when assessing whether a service organization has what you're looking for. Again, if this is a "solution scenario," you need to determine whether the services organization can actually help you to implement the solution. There are three basic questions you need to ask the service firm you're evaluating:
Have you implemented this solution before?
If yes, do you have references?
If no, do you at least have the skills or partners required to implement the solution now?
Based on the answers, you can quickly determine whether engaging this firm is a high-risk, low-risk, or medium-risk proposition, as demonstrated in Figure 1.
Figure 1 Tier I evaluation of a professional services firm.
You can see why references are key to the service organization! After working through the above questions, focus on service organizations that are medium to low risk. High-risk firms should only be entertained if you're asking for a solution that nobody has ever delivered before.