The Teleconvergence System Selection Process in Detail

Step 1. First, we attempt to ascertain and define your real needs in terms of your business objectives, budget, business plan, etc. During this step, we envision satisfying a client's needs as a desired system, software, and/or process that would be capable of achieving a certain set of objectives, if not initially, then in stages. We then determine what the infrastructure must consist of initially to support that system creation activity over the longer term.

This need definition process may or may not include our modified form of business analysis or business process review, called Procedural Strip Mining (PSM) Once we understand your business requirements, we may translate them into conceptual alternatives (independent of vendor or specific technology) that meet your business objectives in order to give you an early understanding of possible operating parameters and financial business benefits and tradeoffs. We may do this multiple times to fine-tune the process and expected results.

Step 2. We proceed in a very natural and practical manner. We identify your requirements as we understand them, prioritize them, place them in writing, and get your agreement that our understanding parallels yours. We will modify the documents until everyone is on board and heading for the same destination.

Step 3. Once the final details have been worked out and we have the client's approval, we then turn those business needs into technical requirements within the context of a business-oriented Request for Proposal (RFP) that we submit to an adequate and appropriate cross-section of potential suppliers. Naturally, the client must approve the RFP before it is submitted.

Why does Teleconvergence submit only RFPs (Requests for Proposal), and not RFBs (Requests for Bid) or RFQs (Requests for Quote)? In our opinion, there are both specific presumptions and inherent bias risk dangers with RFBs and RFQs. You can read about them in Why Teleconvergence submits only RFPs. The business-oriented RFPs that Teleconvergence submits has none of the limitations of RFBs or RFQs, which consist primarily of stipulations and specifications.

With Teleconvergence RFPs, specifications are just part of an entire information package in which we present a client's situation, issues, problems, objectives, and operating issues, and at minimum, an indication of budgetary constraints. We always ask all respondents to point out any area where Teleconvergence inadvertently limits the range of possible responses or alternatives. Finally, we invite each vendor to individually develop the best possible response to the client's requirements and to work with us to optimize it for presentation to the client.

Because identical RFPs are sent to all prospective vendors, they enable all vendors to compete equally to provide the most satisfying overall solution possible. This may involve a one-vendor solution or intermixing technologies, vendors, and systems to enable a best-of-breed approach for the client's specific application.

Teleconvergence inevitably submits one or more necessary rounds of RFCs (Requests for Clarification) to various vendors to eliminate ambiguities and make the submissions functionally comparable. Taking these steps at this point eliminates probability of noncompliance and serious misunderstandings later on.

Step 4. The responses from those vendors who satisfactorily respond to the RFPs and the RFCs constitute the range of realistic alternatives and solutions. Clients thus see one or more optimized approaches in which their needs can be completely or almost completely satisfied.

A client may opt to simplify a solution or to adopt it in stages, but at least the overall solution is known and can be accepted, modified, or declined by the client. Moreover, since multiple responses may adequately satisfy the client's needs, then the client can act on whatever additional "wants" or personal priorities or preferences that may exist.

Step 5. In order to help the client better understand the responses to the RFPs, we then prepare a series of worksheets (operating, strategic, financial, technical, etc.) which we submit to and discuss with the client. Note that we do not just create and submit a report and call that a job well done; some of the work is just starting.

Step 6. We work with the client to narrow the choices, adjust the situation or system parameters as appropriate, eliminate less desirable options, then more deeply investigate the remaining alternatives. We will also modify the original worksheets to show fewer alternatives but more details in order to help the client better weigh the variables and arrive at a decision. During this time, we may also prenegotiate financial terms or maintenance terms, delivery schedules, etc. with multiple vendors simultaneously in order to arrive at total package pricing and total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Step 7. Once a tentative decision has been made, we work with client counsel to help negotiate agreements, stipulate desired modifications to offered proposals, work on implementation schedules, etc.

Note that Teleconvergence does not normally oversee the implementation of a system. Since one of our functions is to select a competent vendor, in our opinion, overseeing or being directly responsible for the implementation would not only question the competence of the vendor, but effectively require the client to pay twice for the same implementation.

We are, however, frequently retained to periodically monitor the progress of the implementation and verify its compliance with the content of the accepted proposal, as well as to verify the completion of the project before the final payment changes hands.