Have you seen instances of lost projects due to estimations? Are you a Sales person at an IT services company who has always had a stiff with the Tech team for estimations? Have you ever been taken by surprise by the prices that the Digital companies quote. If you have seen this happening frequently, this article is for you.
The article addresses the challenge almost every 9 out of 10 people face while with Digital Service provider. We at Teknomatics have learnt the nuances of putting together a close to accurate technical solution and a winning Price that addresses the expectations of the customer. There are various factors we consider during sales cycle to analyse the requirement such as the technical skill sets match, budgets, timelines, involvement of stakeholders etc. We commit considerable time and effort to put together a detail proposal.
Once the initial level of discussion is done with you on your requirement, pre-sales starts playing an important role in the sales cycle. As such the proposal itself affects only 20-30% of the customer decision. Surprised to hear that…don’t be. Pre-Sales is about helping sales gain confidence of the customer by asking relevant and intelligent questions on the requirements, validate understanding of the business, share recommendations on technologies, add value with suggestions on application features etc to build best of breed products for your customer. Estimations are a by-product of this process and by this time the customer knows what you are talking in the proposal. Ideally, there should never be surprises for customers in the techno-commercial proposal. If you have achieved this…you have already made yourself on top of the list for consideration.
Having said so, this is only one side of the story. Behind the scenes a lot goes on to ensure the customer requirements are communicated correctly to the technical team for correct estimations. One cannot afford to be careless on that, after all the confidence customer gains during the sales cycle needs to be reinforced with estimates and we should have logical reasons for customer to invest.
We believe in appropriate estimations and our definition for appropriate estimation is quite simple, We match the expecation of the customer and communicate the efforts that goes into the Product that is in their mind. IT is not the core strenght of our customers and they rely on us to guide them on their digital Vision.
Most refined estimations required clear and detailed scope of work. Our team consists of Technology and a domain expert. We focust on understanding the business requirement & monetisation model of our customer. This puts us on the same page to work on the requirement. We then prepare a requirement document in the format of function points break-up and clearly define business criticality against each function.
Some of the key things that needs to be kept in mind during the process of costing and estimation is,
• Selection of technology stack
• Integration points with third party software
• User role definition
• Business purpose
• Future enhancements possibities
• Timeline & Budget
Once the scope of work document is defined, We identify the following
• Red flag features: Indentify features which are not technically feasable
• Complex features: Identify features which are complecated and need special attention
• Assumptions: We clearly define assumption if we find elements which can fall in the grey area
• Hidden requirements: Features which we identify will be part of requirement by not mentioned by the customer.
We always focus on our customer’s satisfaction and we call our sales team as customer advocate. We have estimation approval mechanism where the estimation will be validated on three levels for more accuracy. The first level estimation will be approved by the technology senior technical expert, the second level will be taken care by business domain experts and finally sales team who has built the relationship with the customer and know the requirement closely.
Our intent is not to become an IT service provide but to become your Digital Consultant. The rigour that goes behind estimating your requirement can give you an Idea on the ‘Customer Focus’ orientation of Teknomatics.