The company was expanding its offering, moving from a product to a service based business. In the process, it was also carrying out a lot more bids.
However, experience in the business was that the contracts won were not always profitable, and there was no control on the sales units to ensure that the projects were actually deliverable.
As a result, contractual SLAs were often hard to meet within the budget, leading to a poor reputation with customers.
A new governance structure was set up to ensure that bids were actively reviewed by all relevant stakeholders at each key stage. The ten step programme lifecycle was defined, with the following key decision points:
- Opportunity Review
Basic qualification of the opportunity to gain resources to prepare bid.
- Bid / No Bid Review
Check to see that the value proposition was achievable, and that bid resources were affordable.
- Bid Approval
To control release of solution designs and bid package to the client.
- Contract Approval
After negotiation, approval of final contract, SLAs, etc.
- Service Readiness Review
All operations ready to go live.
- Contract Review
To manage, protect and grow the account.
The new processes were well communicated and all stakeholders were represented at reviews. This avoided conflicts between the sales and operational teams, as there was no longer anyone to blame if key issues were missed.
Process design through to institutionalisation took around 6 months.
It is obviously hard to put a value to this type of project, as you are reducing risk in the delivery phase. However, the following benefits were recognised by the CEO and leadership team:
- Increased visibility of bids and quotations.
- Early disqualification of “unwinnable” or low margin bids, saving bid resources for more healthy prospects.
- Increased involvement of service delivery teams in tender processes, leading to quicker implementation and less misunderstanding of client needs.
- Increased management confidence that bids were realistic.