I have great memories of working with my team back in 2012 when we released our first smart metering tender. We were a new team and did not know a great deal about smart metering. We put out a request for proposal (RFP) that we felt delivered the right balance of technical questions and business outcomes. Since then I have been involved in several smart metering tenders as well as having reviewed many more from around the world.
Split over the next three posts I will share with you the 25 areas in which I believe you should explore further with your vendor when tendering for smart meters. BTW, even if you have already partnered with a smart metering vendor, it does no harm to have these conversations anyway. Best you identify potential issues sooner, rather than later.
NB: Before you begin, make sure you are clear on your own roadmap and scope, articulating your expectations. The more ambiguous you are, the more fat a vendor needs to build in to cover their risk likely they are to raise change requests which cost time and money later.
- Governance & Program Management– Be clear up front on your expectations of how the program will be governed and managed. Do you expect the vendor to operate as part of one integrated team, or, will you manage them as a third party?
- Strategic Roadmap – You are entering a ten plus year relationship. Ask the vendor to show you their product roadmap, not the fluffy smoke and mirror PowerPoint slides, but what they have committed to and the direction they are taking the product. If you are both heading in different directions, best to know this before you tie the knot.
- References– When it comes to references, be specific about what you want to see. Vendors will often roll out their greatest success stories regardless if, at a detail level, they have no relevance to your program. Pick out the critical success factors of your project and get the vendor to show you references that are relevant.
- Partner Ecosystem– As always, the devil is in the detail, ask for specifics about their partnerships and why that organisation is relevant to your opportunity. What value will that partner be bringing to the table? If there is a specific deliverable, double check these parties appear in the roles and responsibilities section.
- Roles & Responsibilities– Go one step further than just asking the vendor to list their roles and responsibilities. First provide your roles and responsibilities, then request the vendor to provide theirs and highlight the touch points. I’d tend to also ask for a RACI as it really forces the vendor to think about how this will all hang together.
- Benefits Realisation– What level of ‘skin in the game’ is the vendor willing to put on the table to help you realise your business benefits?
The above 6 areas are not specific to smart metering technologies, they are however critical to ensure your two organizations are aligned at the executive level before starting to delve into more detail.
In my next post, I’ll be covering another 10 areas you should further explore in your smart metering tender, drilling more into the specific questions around smart metering capabilities. In the meantime, what are your thoughts on the above?
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