“Evaluation is the systematic collection of information about activities, characteristics and outcomes of programs, personnel, processes and products to use to reduce uncertainties, improve effectiveness and make decisions.”
In the past couple of years, clients have come to us with complaints that they have implemented some IT solution or tools in their department but realised later that it’s not solving their problems. They are unsure how the new solution can be effective and help them improve the existing process and they need our help. The main problem is the clients realise it late that they should have done some study BEFORE they implemented the solution.
Hence the need of evaluation study has arisen to understand the client's pain points and their priorities, prepare a business case and then recommend a solution that is best suited for the client’s needs and objectives.
Objectives of Evaluation Services
Host and evaluate As-Is requirement workshops to understand the current situation and processes of the client.
Identify the pain points and the needs of the solution across different departments and collaborate with the client.
Perform evaluation study of the As-Is and To-Be requirements and recommend solutions to the client.
Perform tool and vendor evaluation considering the client preference and budget.
Help shortlist vendors to fit the client’s requirements and make recommendations: a) Software with features and the market trend b) Shortlist of vendors comparing to collected requirements c) Risk and mitigation
Once the evaluation is completed, Explora Consulting will follow up with solution design and implementation plans with clients.
Challenges Faced by Clients
Some clients came to Explora with challenges like:
One of the clients based outside of Hong Kong came to us after purchasing a solution saying that they were unsure what to do as the solution couldn’t be configured for their specific business rules. They had purchased the solution without doing feasibility analysis, and now they couldn’t use it unless they spent more money to build customizations on top of it.
A retail client had purchased licenses for all the business users in their organization for an analytics tool. When the IT department first started to use it, they realised it was not easy to use for the users as it needs programming experience to use the tool. The client wasn’t aware that the same company had another tool which was more user- friendly and designed especially for business user analytics use. But as they hadn’t done evaluation study prior to the purchase, they had to spend more money on training the business users to get them to use the tool purchased.
A financial service client wanted to improve their existing customer data storage and analytics solutions with enhanced marketing techniques. They weren’t able to decide which solution would be suitable for them and how their wish list could be implemented in reality.
One of the clients made a process change of transforming from traditional waterfall to agile methodology. However they weren’t aware how exactly it should work in their organization. As they hadn’t done any study or analysis before making this transformation, the implementation was not effective and couldn't be applied tor all the departments correctly.
These are just few examples, but most of the organizations come across similar problems when they are going through a process, solution or tool transformation.
Importance of Evaluation Study
Insight of where you are and where you want to go in terms of process / solution / tool.
Continuous improvement should be done regularly to stay as a front runner in your industry.
Continuous improvement can happen only when retrospection is done and analyzed what and how changes need to be done.
Understand the current market trend, new technology and how it can help your department or organization.
Evaluation is needed to analyze, evaluate for what you can or should change to improve the ability to perform better, improve ROI and be the market leaders.
“The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Explora’s Evaluation Study Methodology
Explora Consulting provides Evaluation services to the client to go through the entire process of gathering the As-Is process, To-Be requirements, documentation of these requirement and outline the gaps. After studying these gaps and analysing the client’s constraints and budgets we provide tool independent solutions to overcome these gaps.
Our consultants study the market, technology, existing client technology, their requirements, goals, objectives, preferences and then recommend solution that can resolve the client's pain points and help the client grow. After recommendation, we also do vendor selection and implement and roll-out the solution with suppliers. We provide consultation to support our clients along the journey. We use KPIs to show the improvement during and after the implementation to showcase how new solution implemented has improved the client’s performance.
Explora Consulting uses the methodology below for evaluation study:
Evaluation study should:
Strengthen the projects
Use multiple approaches
Address real issues
Create a participatory process
Allow for flexibility
Guiding principles for evaluation study:
Ongoing process, meaning not an end
Collaboration based on trust and respect
Sensitive to cultural, socio-economic, ethnic, lifestyle plurasims
Allow for combination of methodologies
Can be easily integrated with the existing systems and processes
Involving stakeholders for evaluation study
While performing the evaluation, understand first who your stakeholders are.
What do stakeholders want and what do they need to know?
Stakeholders’ needs and intended uses serve as the focus of evaluation study.
There can be a variety of stakeholders which could mean more than one focus (policy implications vs documentation of local activities, varied levels of involvement, etc.).
Explora Consulting has extensive experience in doing evaluation studies for clients from different industries like retail – BI, POS, CRM, ecommerce, hospitality, HRM, financial services and after that provide consultation services for implementing the solutions best suited to achieve their organization goals and objectives.