Outside of the consulting industry, Black Friday is a Thanksgiving tradition honored by consumers all over the United States. They wait for and stalk the best merchandise and lowest prices like big game hunters. Inside of the consulting industry, fourth quarter often feels the same. Clients wait until their budgets are set for the new year and then they’re off! Like ads in newspapers, Requests for Proposal are sent out and Procurement eagerly awaits respondents. They’ve asked for the same thing from all vendors, but are likely to receive a variety of prices and implementation paths in response. Unlike buying a TV, it may seem that each vendor is offering a different solution that is hard to compare because it doesn’t seem to exactly match the original RFP requirements. Which one should you pick? Some vendors focus on having the lowest hourly rate for their services, tempting those buyers that consider all consulting personnel equal. Other vendors tout the safety of their prestige global brand, luring those that think that the most expensive option offers a failsafe plan for success.
Over the course of 14 consulting Black Fridays, I’ve learned that while each client describes their needs as unique, in the end, they really just want their project to be on time, on budget and on scope, to be treated with respect by the vendor, and to be able to trust their vendor’s advice. Unfortunately, their RFP process doesn’t always deliver that for them.
After that initial euphoria of finding an implementation partner has dissipated, buyer’s remorse sets in for many clients. The vendor with the cheapest hourly rate option somehow tripled their price after the change orders are added up or the quality of the work is reflected in the low price. The most expensive and prestigious vendor’s personnel aren’t as experienced in HCM as the representatives the client met in the buying process.
The moral of my Black Friday story is this – buyer beware. Know who you are partnering with. Understand their pricing structure and check references. Find a partner like AspireHR – transparent, straight-forward, and trusted – and avoid buyer’s remorse.