Whether you’ve had a lengthy courtship with prospective vendors or a hurried shotgun wedding, there’s great temptation to get on with the process and give your contact center technology statement of work (SOW) a cursory examination. Beware! A boilerplate SOW isn’t likely to address your unique requirements or help you get the most out of your investment. A vague SOW often creates misunderstandings about scope and services, driving price variability. A brief honeymoon can move quickly into a rocky buyer-vendor relationship.
An effective SOW defines the implementation process, the roles and responsibilities for the vendor/distributor and your company, and key deliverables and outcomes. It captures the uniqueness of the implementation as well as all of the gory details to “get it right.” It demands the same care and attention as the RFP process and vendor evaluation due diligence.
However unique your situation, there are standard sections that should be included and reviewed for completeness in every contact center technology SOW. (Download the detailed list here.)
- Scope – the overall project definition including technology, functionality, sites/locations, professional services, phases, etc.
- Approach – the vendor’s implementation process including steps/tasks, roles and responsibilities, accountabilities, etc.
- Deliverables – all project document requirements specifying who is responsible (vendor or you) and roles at each stage (draft, review, final).
- Staffing – vendor resources to be brought to the table. Expect details on resource type, number, percent of time, and projected “face time” at each stage of the process. Make sure the vendor won’t change key players mid-project.
- Timeline – dates and milestones for each stage of implementation process.
- Assumptions – key beliefs and expectations on which you and the vendor have forged the business relationship and built the upcoming project.
- Acceptance criteria – what you will use to evaluate the implementation prior to accepting the project as completed.
- Change process – what you and the vendor will do to address scope changes and define the impact on timelines and milestones.
- Issue resolution – process for registering complaints or problems, including replacing project resources if there is a bad fit.
- Cost – contract pricing. Make sure the professional services section designates fixed price or time and materials. Include the contractor’s process for invoicing expenses, including travel time.
- Terms and conditions – standard contractual clauses required by legal and procurement. Be sure to include warranty, support inclusions/exclusions, support processes, and spares/crash kits.
Beyond these critical SOW elements, there are a few other important items to consider depending on the scope of your project:
- Monitoring and management tools and roles (critical for VoIP implementations). (Check out our Best Practices for Contact Center Technology Monitoring and Testing.)
- Testing – component, functional, usability, performance, integration, business continuity/recovery, load.
- Training – in-house, classroom, remote, and/or train-the-trainer options. Define what and how much you want, considering end users, analysts, administrators, and technical staff. Clarify the level of customization, including documents.
Negotiating an effective statement of work is a win-win for you and your vendor. You will demonstrate your commitment to get it right and your expectation that your vendor will be an equally committed partner.
Want to learn more? Read the Contact Center Pipeline article entitled Defining and Effective Statement of Work for Technology Implementation Success that I co-wrote with Lori Bocklund.