Trust, But Verify: Finding the Right Rollout Company

Customers should be able to choose their rollout company partner based on objective data - not marketing

When searching for a multi-site technology rollout company, it’s tough for a customer to tell one provider from another.  This is because they use the same generic statements, such as “we are your single point of contact,” or “we have techs everywhere,” or “we have an online application where you can check your job status.”  And of course, everyone says “we are the leader in the industry!”   without substantiating how that is so.  This last statement is the worst, because it is often intended to be misleading.

The personal and professional pain that comes from a bad rollout means that you need to know if a rollout company can deliver before you start.   So how do you do that when everyone seems to be the same?

The answer lies in an old Russian proverb that was quoted by President Ronald Reagan during negotiations for a nuclear disarmament treaty with the Soviets – “Trust, but verify“.   This gives us a process for determining who can really do the best job.

Don’t Skip Your Due Diligence

When a company claims leadership without substantiation, it’s not because they really believe they are the leader: they are using it as a tactic to create the perception that all options are equally good, so the customer shouldn’t waste time with due diligence.

If this tactic works, the customer will believe they are free to shop for the lowest price without having to worry about quality.  Sadly though, market studies such as this one from Aberdeen Group show that the reality of many customers’ deployment experience is that all options are not equally good.   In fact, in many cases the customer experience is really bad.

This means that it’s very important to use a robust due diligence process, i.e. you must establish a set of objective performance criteria for your rollout,  then evaluate potential rollout company partners against that criteria.

Don’t Go Straight to a Pilot

Even customers who buy into the “everyone is the same” argument don’t abandon due diligence altogether.  The fact that they have bypassed the initial evaluation just means that the pilot phase becomes more important.

But you cannot put your faith in a pilot alone, to prove that you’ve picked the right rollout company.  If the pilot is the only test, any company will focus their efforts on ensuring a great one.  This is done by using their most skilled, experienced resources even though that may be unsustainable for them once the rollout starts for real.

We all know of rollouts where the pilot sites went really well, but with each new phase performance declined.  This is a sure sign that the rollout company is out of their depth. Whether it’s because they used their best people to deliver the first few sites then moved them to other jobs,  or another rollout is underway that is ‘stealing’ management time from yours, the answer is the same – they can;t deliver because they are over-stretched.

For these reasons, you should always remember that any company can put it’s best foot forward for a while, but for a large scale multi-site rollout that level of performance may be required for months or even years.  Therefore, the ability of the rollout company to sustain consistently high-quality performance is critical.  So how can you determine if a technology rollout company can deliver sustained great performance?

Do Use a Methodical Approach to Gauging Performance

The image below shows a sample rollout due diligence checklist.  Once you have populated the checklist with data gathered from technology rollout companies, you have a data-driven method for objectively ranking rollout companies’ performance.

Download a copy of the Due Diligence Checklist as a PDF from this link.

The checklist contains several questions that focus on how the rollout company delivers sustained high-quality performance.  It also gathers objective data from the rollout company that can be used to substantiate the performance claims they make.  Using this approach will quickly show which rollout companies can back up their performance claims and which can not.

The Bottom-Line: Trust, But Verify

A successful multi-site technology rollout requires that you partner with a company with a proven track record of sustained good performance.  Good rollouts do not happen by accident: it takes skilled practitioners working at speed to deliver the great experience that you and your customers rightly expect.

The good news is that you can find the right partner if you don’t let them push you to skip your due diligence.  So, before you begin your next rollout project, ask your prospective partners to complete your checklist.  That way you can evaluate them based on their performance data rather than the effectiveness of their marketing messages.

If you don’t like what you get back, talk to us: we ‘d love to tell to you about the experiences we have gained from hundreds of thousands of technology rollouts over two decades.  The proof of the value of our approach, is shown by our 99.78% “Done Right First Time” performance, as well as our industry-leading high customer satisfaction.  All this stems from our commitment to clear, concise communication in every rollout.