We are currently in the midst of a seemly unending presidential campaign season. This brings up the question, “How are the presidential campaign and selection of an outsourcing training partner alike?” Well, there are many similarities between the two processes.

Just as the presidential candidates seek voters and endorsements from their constituents, a selection of key strategic partner(s) depends upon “votes” from various effected departments. The selection of a key outsourced partner depends upon the “votes” for a single or selected few providers to perform the requested project requirements. Just as the candidates go through primaries and ultimately, a general election, the typical organization narrows the field of supplier candidates down typically by using a request for proposal and a final selection process.

Voters seek candidates that represent their values and interests. During an outsourcing training project, the various departments and user groups vote on which supplier represent their vested interests. This is done through pre-established selection criteria (RFP score carding) important to the organization. The training outsourcing teams should consist of cross-function members representing both their own department requirements and the overarching business goals.

What are some of the characteristics of this pre-selection criteria?  These characteristics, of course, will vary on a project basis, but there will be some common denominator traits that will be used for most selection criteria.

Think of the acronym V-O-T-E to give you an idea of the more important selection characteristics.

V = Value. You want to vote for a partner that will provide the most value for your organization.  Value in this context means the partner that will provide the best blend of quality, capabilities and cost to meet your program/project needs.

O = Organization. The sourcing team should seek a partner that has the organizational resources to fulfill the program requirements outlined during your sourcing process. Part of this assessment includes the long-term requirements. Just as voters are stuck with their choice for four years, you have to select a provider that will be there for the long term.  You don’t want performance levels to diminish after the “honeymoon” period, usually after the first twelve months. It may take at least a year, if not longer, especially in a new program in order for the provider to operate efficiently.

T = Team. Another important consideration is to ensure that adequate supplier team is assigned to your account to meet your requirements. You want to make sure that the team servicing your account after the contract is signed meets your expectations after the sourcing process. It’s easy to become enamored with the sales team that “closes the deal” during the sourcing process and then learn that your team will be working with a completely different supplier team. Just as political candidates attend town halls or debates, your selection process should include the opportunity to meet the team that will actually be working on your account.

E = Experience. Every candidate professes their experience level in order to win over voters, but it is up to the training outsourcing team to do their due diligence to ensure that the potential providers have the required experience in order to be successful. Has the provider handled similar projects in the past?  Do the companies references match the narrative as described during the sourcing process?

It is rare to find that any one candidate or supplier possess all of your requirements perfectly, so you want to cast your vote with confidence, as based upon your prior due diligence.

Rock the vote!