In the last article, we spoke briefly about how large-scale RFPs need Virtual Dojos. This article builds on that idea and focuses on the future of IT procurement and its relationship to Virtual Dojos. It is important to drive this correlation to understand the true magnitude of Virtual Dojos in the future. In fact, we wouldn’t be far off to say that building “Virtual Dojo” will be as standard as setting up DR is today.
Application development and delivery professionals are increasingly recognizing that traditional RFP-driven vendor selection is ineffective and time-consuming and produces undesirable outcomes. Some organizations, particularly in the public sector, cannot avoid the RFP process because legal requirements mandate it. But even these organizations can orchestrate the process and expedite vendor selection. The most common problems that organizations encounter in RFP-driven selection projects include:
- Time-consuming, resource-intensive selection processes: Application vendor selection projects can take 6 to 12 months to complete, particularly with a formal RFP process.
- Not engineered for new delivery models: RFP has been rightly criticized as a selection process that is not engineered for new delivery models. The vendor of a cloud offering defines and standardizes the service description as a shared model, denying application development and delivery professionals with the opportunity to customize services or adjust them to their internal business environment. This affects the RFP process. The classic RFP approach, which is an inside-out method, is no longer valid for such solutions or services. Decision-makers must first identify the existing market solutions and common capabilities to determine if they fit the general project requirements.
- Unintended and undesirable outcomes: The more onerous the RFP process, the more likely it is that more viable candidate vendors will opt out after determining sales consideration costs and anticipating the competitive situation.
- Failure to differentiate among mature products or identify innovators: RFPs only include requirements that buyers can envision now. These requirements generally look similar to capabilities that vendors can deliver in current releases rather than more visionary features that don’t exist in many products. As a result, buyers don’t consider newer or more innovative products due to viability and track record concerns.
So what is the alternative?
Application development and delivery professionals should move towards Proof of Concept (POC) evaluations based on business process requirements rather than checking functions and features. Not all steps are required in all cases; organizations can adapt the methodology to specific situations with different factors, such as level of product maturity and deployment methodology.
RFPs & Virtual Dojos: Tying the two together
Given the inefficiencies of RFPs & the need for rapid POCs, we believe that a Virtual Dojo is perfectly suited to meet the needs of an application development and delivery team. A Virtual Dojo will be the place to perform proof of concepts in a real environment, which will enable the organization to focus on adoption of IT projects at scale, to deliver to their customers. A Virtual Dojo will also enable the distributed workforce to collaborate on a dynamic, agile, at scale implementation. The objective of a Virtual Dojo in such an environment will be to provide organizations and vendors with a pay-as-you go option to practice. In a nutshell, it is a “hypothesis-based experiment” without capital investment. This will help them to achieve innovation faster with lower costs.
To explain how a Virtual Dojo can help in a real-world scenario, let us take the example of an independent global company “manufacturing and distributing- heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, commercial refrigeration, foodservice equipment, and fire and security technologies”. This company wanted to consolidate its ERP applications across its multiple global units and offices. An exercise of this magnitude and complexity would need a Virtual Dojo to enable some real-time proof of concepts to encounter the unintended and undesirable outcomes that one would encounter in the actual integration project. In a scenario like this, organizations can use the Virtual Dojo environment to determine and identify unintended and undesirable outcomes when it comes to trying to combine disparate processes, data models, and infrastructure platforms into a single-instance system.
The Virtual Dojo is a space that is designed to host an immersive learning experience where full-stack teams come to learn modern engineering, product, and Agile, DevOps and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) practices. We are already seeing a next generation IT leadership adopt Virtual Dojos as a platform to move a process forward expeditiously when it comes to choosing and implementing technology solutions, while adapting the process to the modern realities of the packaged cloud-based applications market.
In the next article, we will explain the overall framework to establish a Virtual Dojo.