10 Things to consider when choosing System Integrators in the UAE and Dubai.
Caveat –obviously my number 1 tip is going to be to choose BIOS :), moving on:
1) Get your finance guys involved at the start. We insist on it. There is little point spending weeks working with a System Integrator to design the perfect solution if the budget is not there. Save your time and establish a rough budget early on. Most companies don’t like to share the budget, but I think it’s crucial, anyway, you’ll be asking for a number of bids so they will all be competitive.
2) See if the System Integrator understands the business drivers. In my experience, successful projects are ones that either save the client money or make them money. So each technology investment should have a business driver aligned to this. The key question for you is, does your potential partner in this project understand this?
3) The sales engagement will be the best foot put forward by any System Integrator, if this isn’t up to scratch – it’s likely there delivery will be worse. Seems obvious? SI’s with a poor engagement process often win on price alone, especially if the final sign of is with finance and they haven’t been involved.
4) Pre-Sales, these are the guys and girls who will design the solution. Pre-Sales people usually come in two guises, those who are walking encyclopedias and those that can solve problems and whiteboard on the fly. You want the latter – if any complication occur during the delivery, you need to know the designer can roller up his sleeves if required.
5) Bigger is not always better… Many times frustrated clients have come to us after working with a global brand simply because when it comes to the crunch – they didn’t care enough when the client ran into issues. Make sure your SI – cares. Look in to the directors eyes and make sure he’ll answer your phone at 11pm if the project runs into difficulties.
6) Meet the delivery team. Absolutely no one ever asks us to meet the guys who will be installing the solution until after the deal is signed. I’ve offered countless times and I’m always amazed when it’s not a priority. The project managers and installation engineers are after all the guys who will ultimately be responsible for the success (or not of the project).
7) Has the SI done it before? Call their references and then arrange to visit the references – and make sure it’s more than one. Dig a little.
8) Are they certified? Will the vendor help if required? Vendors are a funny breed, they have their own politics too, but by in large, if a System Integrator in Dubai or the UAE as whole is qualified, that means some people in the company have a high understanding of those products or solutions – make sure they are the guys doing the installation. Awards from vendors are also a good indication of this.
9) Test their support. Do they have a support desk? Phone it. Can you log and track online? What’s the escalation process? Is their support team separate from the delivery team (ie will they have the man power to assist you). Do they confirm to a standard for escalation? (Ours is ITIL).
10) Did they invite you to see their offices? Did you visit them? Are they using the technology they are telling you is so good? Don’t expect to see the Star Trek Enterprise, but do expect to see the technology their selling you in use. Do ask to meet their management team and understand how they work.
Below: A couple of awards we are proud off becuase they came from industry peers...