If you are in the market for asset management software, it is important that you make an informed decision when selecting a partner. All providers bring value to the table but asking the right questions during your evaluation process will help you with what you are trying to accomplish and even give you some new ideas to think about. Being hyper-focused on certain factors can limit your options in terms of finding the right partner to work with. Here are eight criterias to take into consideration.
Portfolio size for the current year
Traditionally, companies might assume that whoever has the largest portfolio in the market must have the best the solution. This does not paint the full picture for your team and will only show you who has been in the market the longest. What should be the focus is how many MW have you acquired this year? What has the growth been for your services in the short to mid term? This gives you a clearer picture on how your competitors or other similar businesses have evaluated the marketplace and made recent decisions.
Fulltime employee per megawatt (fte/mw)
You should directly correlate employee count to portfolio size of the provider. For example if a vendor tells you that they have 30 GW on their portfolio but they only have 11 staff then it should raise some red flags for you. They may not have enough resources to innovate or give you much attention after onboarding. You should invest in a partner that offers a solution that is constantly evolving over time. Selecting a vendor that has a poor ratio of FTE/MW usually means they are just maintaining the platform and lack the ability to innovate.
What do you have coming up in your development pipeline? When do you expect it to be available for customers? Many vendors could be busy maintaining the platform or onboarding customers leaving no room for R&D. You may also desire certain features and want to make sure it is aligned with the vendor’s pipeline. Selecting a vendor that also takes in your feedback and gives you the ability to influence the future pipeline is very important and beneficial for your organization. Think not just about the present, but also the future.
From our experience in the solar industry, every business operates in their own way and expectations are always slightly different. The platform you pick should be flexible enough to accommodate changes in your operational behaviour and the vendor should be willing to work with you to make things work as smooth as possible. Using a solution with a modular architecture makes it easier for new features to be added or old ones to be enhanced. A rigid system and provider that is not willing to customize to meet all your requirements may not be the best fit.
Ask the vendor about their onboarding approach and if they offer you any kind of timeline. It’s a re-occurring problem for clients trying to adopt software solutions to start onboarding with a vendor but not having a fully rolled out system when they are expecting it because of delays in the onboarding process. If you are asking for customization also ask for target dates and estimated timelines so you aren’t left with unexpected delays for your team.
Costs are always important in the solar and wind industry as margins are getting smaller and budgets allow little room to invest in software. Your partner should demonstrate that they are flexible with pricing and have a model that will scale as you grow. Justify the price in today’s terms but also in a few years when your portfolio grows.
Ask your vendor if they can give you a report that compares their feature set to other platforms. You can determine what is important to you and which vendor checks off the most boxes that you desire. Having the most features does not necessary mean it’s the best system but it should demonstrate the forward outlook of the platform. Think about what features you may need 2 or 3 or 5 years from now.
Does the vendor have a client that is similar to you? Ask the vendor for a white paper or case study that proves the solution is going to work for you specifically. The case study should include what they did for the client and how a similar approach could impact your own business. Also make sure you speak to the client before making your decision.
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