A few weeks ago I had an initial meeting with a prospective customer who called us after hearing our radio ad. They were a rapidly growing company, who were just as rapidly outgrowing their off-the-shelf accounting system, which had been purchased nearly a decade earlier. They were obviously a good candidate for ERP and CRM, but since they had some unique business issues - and really, what business doesn't have a few unique requirements - I proposed that we provide them with a Needs Assessment. When I mentioned that this would be a billable service, the response I received was something like "I never charge my customers for a quote, and I don't intend to pay you for one either!". I agree with their statement; no one should have to pay for a quote - but a quote is quite different from a Needs Assessment.
Suppose you purchase a parcel of property, on which you plan to build a new home. You'd have two basic options, going with a prefab design, or having a custom built house. In the former option, you can simply browse the catalog or showroom, and pick out the option that you like best, and receive a free quote right away. Of course, not everyone wants to go with the cookie-cutter approach, and you may want to have some control over what your new house will look like. In this case you'll want to discuss this with an architect, and after some consultation, they will provide you with a set of blueprints that lay out exactly what type of house you want to build, and the steps required to make it happen. I doubt that anyone would object paying an architect for their time and expertise, so why does this happen with software?
Aside from the obvious benefits of having a document which clearly states your business processes, there are two more key advantages in engaging BAASS to perform a Needs Assessment:
- Determining ROI
As part of the interview process BAASS works with you to identify inefficiencies in your current system (Cost of Not Solving), as well as areas where you could grow if you had extra resources, or a more integrated system (Benefits of Solving). Using numbers provided by you, we will quantify all of these Costs and Benefits and combine them to determine the Total Value of a new system. This may seem like a very simple task, which could be done internally, but our consultants know exactly which questions to ask, and may uncover extra value due to their fresh perspective on your business.
- Fixed-Fee Pricing
Unlike with a quote, having a Needs Assessment will provide you with cost certainty on any project. Because all the steps have been clearly defined before the software purchase is made, we can guarantee that you will not pay a cent more that what you agreed to, unless you specifically request it via a written change order. Quotes, on the other hand are loosely-defined, and subject to increases of 100% or more, so at the very minimum, I think we can all agree that a Needs Assessment represents an inexpensive insurance policy against an unexpected price swing.
If you have any questions, or wish to share a differing opinion about Needs Assessment vs. Quotes, please contact us.