Hiring GSA Schedule Consultants: How to Improve Sales Operations

In 1949, the government created a valuable tool that all vendors looking to sell to the federal government should be aware of. The General Services Administration (GSA) is a federal procurement tool that government employees use to obtain: products, communications, and spaces for the office, transportation, and other management tasks and services designed to cut costs. Vendors that are not listed with the GSA are missing out on a chance to substantially boost their sales by making their product or service viewable to thousands of government customers.

Federal consumers deal solely with GSA listings when looking to make purchases because its buying process has been streamlined: all buyers have been pre-approved, all prices have already been negotiated, and a lot of the work involved with making a purchase is eliminated. Organizations that want their product or service to be listed will usually turn to a GSA company. These companies offer years of experience getting businesses listed, and will use that expertise to optimize GSA schedules so that the businesses are able to make sales. However, businesses that choose to not work with a GSA company will usually see poor results. Businesses that are tired of seeing poor results should reach out to GSA schedule consultants for advice on increasing their sales conversions from their listed contracts. Here are some of the ways that GSA schedule consultants will help a company improve its sales operations:

Scheduled Preparation

One cause of low sales is problems in the sales operations process. Time, money, and resources are wasted if the organization takes too long to secure an award. GSA schedule consultants will evaluate the sales operations processes and provide strategy development and proposal preparation assistance so that the process is expedited. In some cases, the GSA schedule consultants might be asked to take over these tasks entirely. They will also provide advice on negotiations to help organizations gain contracts that they otherwise would have lost to a competitor.

Contracted Management

Placing a GSA schedule listing and then forgetting about it is another way to guarantee low sales. The market is constantly changing, so while an organization might start with the lowest rate, competitors might undercut that rate and steal business away from the organization. Sales can be improved by allowing GSA schedule consultants to manage the contracts. They might add new products, remove old ones, adjust the rate, and make administrative revisions. Additionally, they can help when it is time to negotiate a contract extension. Without help from consultants, the organization might become overwhelmed by the different procedures that are necessary to secure a renewal.

GSA Compliance

A listing will be removed if the GSA contract is not in compliance. GSA schedule consultants will provide training to organizational members so that they are able to maintain an up-to-date and complaint contract post-award.

These are just some of the ways that GSA schedule consultants help businesses boost the number of contracts that are acquired. When working with a GSA company to set up a contract listing, ask if they also provide consulting services to ensure that sales operations are effective.

Business Management Consultants

Media planning and buying is an important marketing function. Companies need to use the right medium while targeting their audience. Business Management Consultants help organisations to use the right medium and measure the performance of the marketing activity. Media audit essentially answers these fundamental questions:

Media planning helps in answering these basic questions:

a. Where to advertise? Market research helps in identifying which market their competitors are using. Either using primary or secondary data, the target market segmentation is done. Which part of the country would it be more successful and the medium that part uses.

b. Who to advertise for? The company’s potential buyer needs to be identified, the person earning the most in the family might buy the product, but it could be used by some other individual in the same household. Research again helps in targeting these products accurately.

c. How much to advertise? The media budget is based on this, the more frequently the advertisement is shown or viewed or aired the costlier it is the purchase the medium for the given time and space. Specifying the time is a must when the ad campaign is on a television or a radio.

Some companies prefer in-house planners, business management consultants usually have a team of individuals, who are selected based on the client. Business management consultants can make his/her group according to the project or client they have. Certain brands invest highly in media audit and at times some don’t, depending on this a team can be formed.

What is media planning?

Media planning is a highly specialised service; the planner needs to have a thorough understanding of consumer behaviour, purchasing habits of various brands and the medium of communication which is popular with their consumers. Based on these factors the consultant chooses the right medium or media, depending on how much the client is willing to spend. Media planning is a function that helps in determining the most effective manner of spending the advertiser’s money/ investment across media so as to generate the best Return of Investment (ROI) for the company.

The consultant needs to understand that mediums of communication are now merging, previously each medium print, radio and television were being targeted separately. Now with the online medium the three traditional mediums have converted into one. Marketing is now a two way communication, consumers and brand interact using social media.

The major steps involved in media planning are:

• Clients Marketing Brief: This brief is provided by the client, it contains details about the product, its functions and the competitive advantage and the portfolio of products and services they offer. High and low selling products are highlighted, this help in the SWOT analysis. The media that they are currently using, the market segments that they are targeting and how much they are currently spending on media. The client specifies their marketing objectives in this brief.

• Advertising Agency brief: This brief explains the creative execution of the campaign; this is usually done by a boutique or an agency that handles creative advertising designs.

• Media Planning brief: The advertising agency comes up with the advertising brief the media planner or business management consultant helps to arrive at a media plan. The media brief contains media objectives; this helps in deciding which media to choose, how many times and at when. The brief includes definition of target segment and information about their competitors. Understanding how much their competitors are spending, the medium they are using and how many times in a day or month are they disseminating the advertisement.

Media planning is an important management function and business management consultants help in creating the media planning brief. At times companies use to wrong medium to disseminate their marketing efforts, business management consultant help in choosing the right medium in the current market scenario.

Do You Have the Right Social Media Consultant?

There’s no stopping it right now. Social media is an online hub for millions of businesses in Melbourne and the rest of the world to promote their products and services. And along with the clamor for effective presence on various platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest and etc. is the demand for skilled social media consultants in Melbourne & everywhere to help businesses achieve their social media marketing campaigns.

Why are these consultants in demand?

If you’re one of those looking to have a social media presence for your business, you have to keep it mind that’s it’s not as simple as having a personal Facebook or Twitter account. It involves plenty of setup, tracking and analysis, as well as using various tools to help generate reports that will measure how effective the marketing campaign is. Meaning, if you don’t have a solid experience or technical knowhow in online marketing, particularly social media, you need an expert to do it for you if you want to succeed.

Who are the experts?

Unfortunately, because of the high demand for online marketers, sometimes it’s quite hard to discern the experts from those who just want to rip you off. Whether you’re still shopping for providers or currently working with one – how would you know if they’re just overcharging, giving grand promises and providing mediocre results?
Here are 4 ways that may help you check if you’re working with the wrong consultant:

Your monthly bills are obscure – Be wary if there are no details attached to your bill. It should specify and outline the details that your consultant is charging you with. Don’t hesitate to ask for specifics coz you have every right to do so.

You’re offered a “one-and-done” campaign – Keep in mind that social media campaigns – or any online marketing campaign for that matter – do not achieve the ideal results with just one go. This scenario will never have the long-term benefits your business needs. A good consultant will analyse and experiment using a combination of different tools and methods. This way, results can be improved as you compare multiple campaigns to see which one works best. So if you’re promised that a single run of a campaign will take your business to new heights, be careful. Results may either be nothing or at most, short-term.

You rarely get to hear from your consultant – Ideally, you should be able to get hold of your consultant during work hours or he/she should be able to get back to you immediately. If you don’t get updates at least once a week or as agreed, and if your efforts to get in touch are usually unsuccessful, maybe it’s time to find another agency that can treat you like a valuable client.

You’re not satisfied with the reports – The reports you’re getting are vague, or you seldom get them or they’re too generic or you are not made to understand them or all of the above. Hey, something’s wrong here! A good social media consultant in Melbourne or elsewhere will always have the most updated tools to create reports for you. And when the tools are right, your consultant will always have the ability to generate measurable and quantifiable data that will tell you how effective your campaign is.

Aside from great marketing skills, a good social media consultant in Melbourne will make sure that you always have transparent transactions from start to finish. This means data are always supported by facts and figures, project timeline is clear and agreed upon and objectives are reasonable and achievable. If you think that the promises made are too good to be true, then they most probably are.

3 Steps For SEO Off Page Optimization – Advice From An SEO Consultant

To have a website which in going to succeed in any competitive market you will need the advice on an SEO consultant. It can be a daunting task to think about getting a high Google ranking when you see that millions of search results are found for certain search phrases. For a small business SEO can be an invaluable asset to get new customers.

In this article we are going to look at the “off page” factors that are necessary to make sure that your website has a strong foundation.

First of all – why bother about Search Engine Optimization?

Having a successful website that potential customers can find is a bit like building a house. You want the house, not only to look good, but you want it to endure the elements – storms, wind, rain – in fact anything which could damage your property. You need to have a good foundation, good quality materials and strong mortar which will hold everything together.

Your website could be likened to a beautiful house. You will have spent a lot of time and money in having it designed and working properly. But – are people finding it? If they are, will it weather the storms created by search engine algorithm changes? This is where an SEO consultant can help. An Search Engine Optimization consultant will build a good foundation and then use techniques which can be likened to brick and mortar so that the website keeps a strong and secure presence on the Internet.

What is necessary for a good foundation? Just like the foundation of a house aren’t seen, so we don’t really see these “off-page” factors. Here are the 3 main factors that an SEO consultant recommends:

Keyword Analysis. Keywords are like the bricks of a house. So spend enough time to research and identify which keywords and phrases potential customers will use to find your business. A consultancy SEO company will research thousands of potential keywords and choose the most profitable ones for your website. This will be based on current search trends, i.e. what your potential customers are currently typing into the search engines to find services that you provide. You can also do this yourself using free online tools.

Competition Analysis. In order to beat your competitors you need to know their strengths and weaknesses. A trained SEO consultant will carry out a detailed research of your competitors websites. This information will then be used to make sure that your website foundation is better, stronger and more endurable than theirs.

Link Building. If keywords are the “bricks” of your website then link building is the “mortar”. It is the factor that holds everything together. What are backlinks? This is a link to your website that is found on another website. The search engines view them as a referral. The more links you have – the more referrals you have and the more relevant your site will appear.This, however, is a time consuming process because the websites on which links can be placed have to be found. This can also be a tricky process because if it is not done correctly it can have a negative effect on your site. Links from trusted and authoritative sites need to be found. Imagine if your house was built using cheap mortar! What would happen in a storm? It would probably fall and crumble. This is what can happen to a website if link building is not done correctly using low quality links. It could stand for a time, but when Google makes a change to it’s search algorithm then hundreds of visitors can be lost over night. Google can, and will, penalize your site for using poor quality backlinks. If you use professional SEO consultancy services they will find quality sites and build links to your site. Never use methods like buying lots of backlinks thinking that more is better. Go for quality over quantity.
So before undertaking any kind of work – it’s essential to do the proper ground work. If you build on a weak foundation you run the risk of problems developing in the future and then it could be very difficult to repair the damage.

Make sure that you spend enough time to fully understand these 3 important off page factors – keyword analysis, competition analysis and quality link building.

Major Things Expected From An Overseas Education Consultancy

Education is one thing that is worth investing at any point of your life. The value of a good education is too precious and you will never regret for spending your time and money for education. Majority of us focuses more at getting better education and make our life more solid and secure. If you have got the proper education and talents they you are bound to succeed in any part of this world and this is what makes education more important in ones’ life.

A lot of students are forced to go to different places in search of better education as most of the countries are not having quality higher educational institutions. The lack of quality education in a country forces the students to go for abroad education and there are a lot of countries which offers better education system in different branches. Depending upon the various educational branches, students opt for different countries for pursuing their higher education.

A student always faces the difficulty of choosing the right country for his or her higher education. This is mainly due to the reason that there are a large number of countries offering higher education in different areas and each of them has different properties and advantages. This makes utter confusion to the students and they will find it really hard to select the best country and university for his or her higher studies.

This is an area where an overseas education consultancy can make its mark and provide the students with ample help and support in identifying the best place for higher education. A well reputed educational consultant can really seize the opportunity and come up with helping hands for the students. Being a reputed and reliable overseas education consultant is not an easy task and it requires years of hard work and dedication which helps in creating a branding abroad education consultant.

Here I will like to discuss about some of the major things that we expect from an overseas education consultancy.

1) Reputation

2) Reliability

3) Trust

4) Good Hospitality

5) Good Staff Behaviour

6) Exceptional Office Etiquette

7) Great Assistance

8) Good Follow up and Updates

9) Open Minded

10) Good Response Speed

These are just some of the major things that we expect from a education consultant and these things form the backbone of any education consultant. If any of the above things are missing, then we might not wish to continue with the education advisor and hence it is important for the consultancy to make sure that these things are followed. Since the case is of abroad education, students usually has to invest a good amount of money and they will do everything to make sure that they are investing their money in the right place.

If you are looking for an overseas education consultancy, make sure that atleast 7 of the above mentioned points are met and once you see that these points are met, then you can confidently carry on with your process of overseas higher education.

5 Reasons For Consultants to Incorporate Now!

When you form a corporation you are creating a tax entity that is separate from your personal self, and separate from your personal assets. The corporate entity is like another person the IRS will tax in certain ways, and is also something that can be taken to court by someone pressing charges in a court of law.

Creating a corporation is a very smart move for many reasons. Money is one reason you should incorporate. A corporation can make money that it doesn’t pay you… and you can pay yourself only what you need to survive, not more. In this way you can save a lot of money on taxes each year.

Incorporating your new business has a number of positives that you won’t want to pass up.

5 Best Reasons to Incorporate as a Consultant:

1. Saving Cash

As I mentioned… you can save quite a bit of money at the end of the year just by paying yourself only what you need. That money will be taxed, and the money that stays in your business checking account is not taxed – depending what type of corporation you choose. Chances are good that you can save money on taxes at the end of the year too – hire a good accountant that is very familiar with business tax deductions and you’ll be happy you did.

2. Less Responsibility

If you’ve been living in a box for some time and you feel quite safe about consulting without being protected by a corporation, let me assure you that many court cases are conducted where consultants are sued for something they did. If you are not incorporated and didn’t follow strictly, the rules for keeping business and personal finances separate – the court may be able to easily pierce the corporate veil and take your personal possessions if you are sued. Creating a corporation and following very strictly the rules about keeping all finances separate – is the right thing to do. You owe it to yourself to stay safe. You owe it to your family as well, don’t you?

3. Less Audits

One thing that flags the IRS to audit businesses is when they are sole proprietors and haven’t incorporated. The IRS knows that many people intentionally defraud the IRS by claiming to have a business, and deducting many expenses, when in fact – they don’t have a business at all. If you don’t incorporate you may have to deal with more IRS audits than someone who took the simple step to incorporate.

4. More Respect

If you don’t have a corporation, then, in many persons eyes, you don’t have a business at all. It is a bad reflection on your business, and it won’t likely be taken as seriously as would a company with “Inc.” behind their name. Without incorporating the message you’re sending to the public is that either your business is not really valid, it’s a front for something, or you don’t really know enough to understand that you have to protect yourself from liability as much as possible by incorporating. By incorporating, you are adding credibility to your business and showing the world you are taking it seriously. Lending institutions lend more often to incorporated businesses than not. If obtaining funding is important to you, then incorporation is a must.

5. Cheaper Health Insurance

If health insurance is important to you, in all likelihood, you will be able to find cheaper health insurance once you incorporate.

As a consultant you are rather unprotected in the business world. By incorporating you can accomplish many things, one of them being creating some distance between you and your company in the case of litigation. If the corporate veil is pierced you’re in for a lot of grief. Save yourself the grief by taking a couple hours today and reading about incorporation and which type might be best for you. Most consultants find that the LLC – Limited Liability Company is the right one for their consulting business. Many incorporate their name, like, “Joe Dooda, Inc.”

You really shouldn’t need more reasons than those mentioned. Go incorporate your consulting business today!

203(K) Consultants and Lien Waivers

Think your title is clear when the Contractor leaves? Consider how the 203(k) Consultant looks at the project. Tracking lien waivers is one of the most important roles of the 203(k) Consultant – and yet most Borrowers aren’t aware of what this means, or how important it is.

The 203(k) Consultant And The Monitored Loan.

On a “Full 203(k)” loan the 203(k) Consultant is the person responsible for releasing money to the validated Contractor of record – via the Draw Request forms- across the life of the construction loan. Each time that the Contractor, or Borrower, calls the Consultant to visit the site there are 2 forms that absolutely have to be signed off on: The Draw Request form, and the Lien Waiver. Lien laws are specific to each state, and GA recently tightened up it’s lien requirements (2008), so Lenders rely on a proprietary lien waiver that keeps their bases covered – and lien rights extinguished.

Draw Requests Pay Everyone on site.

There are up to 5 draws for each project, this includes a Change Order inspection, all of which require a lien waiver in order to be processed by the lenders draw center. Over the years, we have learned that requiring the contractor to provide lien waivers for ALL their subcontractors is KEY to insuring a clear title at the end of the project. When the Consultant performs the final inspection, and the Mortgagors Letter of Completion is completed, the Lender checks title prior to releasing the final 10% Holdback to the Contractor -Just in case things aren’t as rosy as they seem. We have resolved a lot of lien problems over the years, and more often then not, liens are placed by someone we have never actually seen on site. Like the electrician, or HVAC company that hits the place like a ton of bricks and then goes off to the next job – all the while thinking the check is on the way. What the Contractor doesn’t often realize is that not paying the Subcontractor in a timely fashion not only keeps him from his 10% retainage, but puts their names on a do-not-use list with the Lender… so it is in their best interest to pay their subs.

A 203(k) Consultant On Every Renovation

We believe firmly, and are outspoken about the 203(k) Consultant being MANDATORY on ALL FHA 203(k) Streamline loans, not just the Full 203(k). Generally speaking, a Streamline loan is $35,000 and below – and the banks look at it this way… ‘Just how much trouble can someone get into with only 35k?’-experience has taught us that the answer is A LOT. When you look at the renovation industry thus far – it has been laced with fraud, arrogant investors and homeowners acting as their own General Contractor, or worse, architect. Having a 203(k) Consultant on every FHA loan is an important step in rebuilding this countries housing stock – and bringing back a strong housing market one house at a time.

What to Look For in a Consultant

Here are some things to look for if you genuinely want value from a consultant, all of which you can test in a meeting or single reference.

First is personal credibility. I don’t necessarily mean brand here, which in a way is lent credibility. I mean the credibility of the person or people actually doing the work. To appreciate the importance of this distinction, you just need to look forward in time and ask: “What credibility will that person have in front of the Board or the bank or the MD or my colleagues when they start asking difficult questions?” Of course there are times when a brand does add credence, but I’d argue that what really counts is the quality of the individual making those recommendations, and consequently the recommendations themselves.

Second is subject matter expertise. By this I mean genuine expertise in the particular issue you are facing, be that business case development, due diligence, market entry, benchmarking, whatever. I specifically don’t mean industry expertise, which in my experience contributes either marginally or even negatively in a consultant’s value to a company.

At the risk of unpopularity, using industry expertise as a way of choosing a consultant is, in my view, misconceived. It is an easy way of screening for a buyer, and an easy way of selling for a consultant. Consultancies understand this dynamic and have industry experts at senior level only, in order to help the sales situation. They talk the language, have the examples, etc. But the people that do the work and generate the insights come from a pool of generalists and subject matter experts.

We hear all the time that clients are amazed how quickly we get to understand their industries. But they’re giving us way too much credit and over-estimating the difficulty of understanding a sector sufficiently well to apply our subject matter expertise. In contrast, subject matter expertise is the thing that takes years to develop. To illustrate, we have performed dozens of due diligences of technology companies, and we use exactly the same skills to due diligence leisure companies. Each one, in whatever sector, takes only three weeks, and we have never had any problems in sectors we have never worked in before. But we would have no idea where to start re-engineering a business process, a subject in which we have no expertise, one of the exact same tech companies we just diligenced. And we couldn’t even dream of knowing how to sell a client’s products.

A third thing to look for in a consultant is his willingness and ability to challenge you, your views and your assumptions. It is easy for an adviser to back down, particularly someone who’s junior, impressionable, easily intimidated or otherwise anxious to please. I’m embarrassed for my profession that 90% of consultants I’ve met fit into one of those categories, people responsible for the tedious cliché of the consultant taking your watch to tell you the time.

The Greeks had a concept of a noble friend, who would tell you the truth, even if it wasn’t what you wanted to hear. A good consultant is a noble friend for hire.

A fourth thing to look for is absolute attention to your particular concern. The consultant will be so focused on your particular issue that you won’t be able to see any approach or methodology he employs. Every conversation will all be about your situation and helping you improve your own condition.

There are some good precedents for these characteristics in an adviser. William Wilberforce, in my opinion one of the greatest men who ever lived, had for an adviser the great John Newton (pictured above), composer of Amazing Grace. Alexander the Great had Aristotle. Washington had Lafayette. I guess they didn’t do too badly.

Want To Maximize Trade Show ROI? Team With A Reputable Trade Show Consultant

Businesses working the marketing convention circuit do so in earnest pursuit of the many rewards this promotional forum provides. Few other advertorial platforms allow organizations in virtually every industry vertical to reap as many face to face opportunities. From increasing brand exposure and recognition, generating dialog with potential clients and rubbing elbows with the competitive masses, marketing conventions abound with prospective trade show ROI for every exhibitor.

Trade Show Consultant Teams Offer Promising Option For Struggling Exhibitors

While industry events offer promising results, a positive trade show ROI does not automatically happen. Companies need to plan, strategize and consistently execute at every event to ensure a steady uptick in trade show metrics and achievements and sometimes even that doesn’t prove enough. Despite their best internal efforts, some companies still find themselves at each convention function struggling to gain traction and fully leverage each opportunity that presents itself.

Fortunately, businesses that are consistently faced with a paltry return when they examine event metrics do have a better option than simply giving up on the exhibitor circuit. Professional trade show consultant firms have proven to be a reliable source for companies fighting to gain purchase at conventions. If your business is working, unsuccessfully, to make headway at industry events, it may be time to consider aligning your organization with a professional consulting team to better maximize results.

The Benefits Of Partnering With A Professional Consulting Firm

Initially deciding to utilize an outside consulting business can prove challenging for any organization. With most companies (rightfully) operating with a heavy focus on bottom line revenues, the idea of spending money on external resources for convention events may seem counterintuitive. However, understanding some of the many benefits that a professional consulting firm can deliver can help make the decision making process a simple one.

First and foremost, a reputable consulting team offers a fresh perspective on your current preparation regime and ultimate exhibit execution. Often, companies find themselves falling back on unproductive methods by rote. A professional team will review current tactics to gauge both inefficiencies as well as assets. From there, they can design a customized solution to help ensure that your business sees a significant enhancement in event metrics.

What is one of the best resources that a professional consulting team offers? Training services. A reputable team will offer training options specifically tailored to your staff’s needs and strengths. Many industry leaders even provide several of training forums. From onsite, live online and straight online models, a top notch vendor will offer a variety of training options to ensure that your team receives the skills they need to best execute at every exhibit.

Best of all, a leading consulting organization will conduct post event analysis after every function to best gauge yielded trade show metrics. From exit interviews of booth guests to creating a self-administered survey and everything in between, a consulting team will systematically go through every detail of your event performance to help your team consistently increase trade show ROI, all while allowing your staff to remain focused on your company’s core business.

What Your IT Consultants Don’t Want You to Know

Article 2 – The new duties of systems suppliers.

Research on tens of thousands of new IT systems has shown that less than 30% are ever delivered on time, on budget and according to what was promised. A massive 73% cost more than twice their original budget AND take more than twice as long to implement as planned. This is the second in a series of six articles by David Craig showing how you can ensure that your new IT system works on time and on budget.

In this article, I’m going to start talking about the legal obligations on IT systems suppliers to deliver what they have promised. Please, please do not switch off – this is hugely important. This is not for lawyers. This is essential information for any organisation (in the public and private sectors) which is buying or has bought IT systems.

Over the last ten years there have been over a hundred court cases which have defined the duties and responsibilities of suppliers of IT systems. These have meant a massive change in the law which provide a large degree of protection for organisations buying IT systems. However, few organisations know about these changes and even those that do know about them do not understand how to benefit from them. In this article we will just focus on the duties of IT suppliers who represent themselves as ‘specialists’ or ‘experts’.

Most IT suppliers claim to be ‘experts’ or ‘specialists’ in some area – finance systems, ERP systems, CRM, warehouse/stock management or whatever. One large consultancy, for example, claimed on its website that all its 10,000 or so consultants were ‘specialists’. While most of us would probably view such claims as just marketing puffery, in the eyes of the Law calling yourself an ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’ or ‘professional’ immediately places significant duties of ‘reasonable care’ on you in terms of the advice and services you provide to your clients.

Typically, if you ask an IT supplier or consultant to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) or an Invitation to Tender (ITT) to provide a new system, most suppliers just tick the boxes on the tender document and, providing the price is reasonable, you will choose the supplier who ‘ticks the most boxes’ – the one whose system appears to be closest system to what you think you need.

However, the Law says that potential suppliers must do much more than confirm which of your requirements their system will meet. According to the law, if a supplier represents themselves as having specialist knowledge or expertise, they must tell you three key things:

1. What they are going to provide to meet your needs
2. What they not going to provide
3. Any ‘consequential effects’ of what they not going to provide

This all means that if there are areas of your RFP or (ITT) which a supplier will not provide, the supplier must both highlight those areas for you and explain to you whether the areas their system will not cover have any ‘consequential effects’ on the overall functioning of their system in your organisation. Most suppliers never do this and buyers are not even aware that the supplier should be identifying any gaps between what they want and what the suppliers are proposing and whether these gaps will have any significant effect for the system.

But there’s much more than that! The Law puts further duties on suppliers who represent themselves as ‘specialists’ or ‘experts’. If your organisation has omitted some key feature of a proposed system from your tender document, the supplier has a ‘duty of reasonable care’ to inform you that the feature is missing and what effect this will have on your system’s success. For example, if you are putting out a tender for a finance system and your tender document does not mention the need for a ‘trial balance’ facility, your supplier, as a specialist in finance systems, has a duty of reasonable care to inform you that the trial balance feature is missing from your tender document and the effect that this omission will have on your future finance system’s viability.

According to the Law, if you buy a system and there are problems (delays, cost over-runs etc) due to the fact that the supplier has not warned you in advance of an issue that they as a specialist could reasonably have been expected to have anticipated, then the supplier MUST correct these problems at the supplier’s own expense. Surprisingly few organisations buying IT know about the duties of suppliers who represent themselves as specialists and thus fail to benefit from the protection these duties offer systems buyers.

Your IT systems supplier will always try to pass the responsibility for any problems onto you – but the Law says that if the supplier as an ‘expert’ could have reasonably anticipated the problems, then the suppplier must fix them at their own cost.

In my next article we will explain the other key area of supplier responsibility – when you pay a supplier as a consultant to scope your operations to assess their system’s suitability.