In this modern world, where everything is in the age of the customer, I was looking for advice on which vendor I should engage in my strategic Bathroom Portal Modernization (BPM) program. So, I reached out to my friendly CIO Analyst Consultant, outlining my need for advice and guidance and this is what he came back with.

“Apple do a very attractive and shiny iDoor for showers but it only fits their own bathroom series – looks pretty, sort of works but they’ve only got part of the bathroom modernized. Google produce a huge range of doors designed by rank amateurs. Depending on which training school they went to, you’ll get either the framed, or frameless, shower door. While cheaper than the Apple door, once they’re fitted, they become brittle, require ongoing customization and can fall off without warning.

"It’s a tough choice – you could also punt for the Microsoft variant. It doesn't really fit anything and requires upgrading annually at a significant cost. However, there are thousands of MS Doors consultants who will come in and rejig your measurements and overall bathroom design and sell you new mirrors, cupboards and shower mats, which are all color coordinated. Only problem is that each entails separate service agreements and you could end up with water all over the floor.

"Not to be out-done – IBM have a pretty comprehensive offering with adaptive wing-nuts and embedded simulation. They’ve got both the sliding doors and pivot doors. Overall, looks a lot more convincing than the Microsoft offering and gives greater visibility into the overall shower experience. They’ve got it in different colors for different industries, but customers tend to complain that the multiple incompatible units have to be customized to fit into your own bespoke bathroom. But hey – nobody ever got divorced for buying IBM.

"Don’t touch the SAP offering as it requires a team of program managers to redesign your entire house from the cellar upwards – they’re needed to make sure the shower floor is on a firm foundation. On the other hand, it will link the oven and shower doors together (both open or closed), and you can build in rules about the barbecue being in the off position. Of course, you will get great usage stats and customers usually feel the urge to re-mortgage.

"And there is a whole range of middle tier vendors – Pega, Appian, Software AG – if you buy their vision and go the whole hog, then you can get a fully integrated Bathroom Portal environment, but they all need custom plumbing. And you know that means – a slew of plumbers, electricians and tillers that you’ll probably want to manage yourself. The big guys will just point you at a specialist service provider … that can open up a whole new can of worms. But you can probably get the service on a pay as you go basis ... costs more in the long term, but doesn't appear on your balance sheet.

"Of course, we offer a great "Bathroom Portal Selection" service – where we will help make the right decisions, based on your stakeholder’s needs. We’ll also ensure you have your practice set up right from the get go – the last thing you want is nowhere to hang your towel, or a cold floor.”

I hung up the call rather depressed about the whole affair. We certainly can’t stick with the current Bathroom Portal experience. However, I did realize I needed to make sure I got the right solution. And this was a decision we just can’t outsource to someone else, so after checking with the financial controller and a heated discussion with the boss, I called him back and set up a meeting.

This blog originally appeared at Forrester Research. Published with permission.

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