For many organizations, the success or failure of IT initiatives is based on the selection of the appropriate technology vendors. Despite the critical nature of this process, many organizations underestimate the time and effort it takes to make a well-informed decision. Below are some considerations to help your organization simplify the vendor selection process.
Analyze your organization’s business requirements
The vendor selection process should start with a thorough analysis of your organization’s business needs. What are its objectives and expected goals? What are its technical and business requirements? To ensure a successful outcome, it’s a good to organize an evaluation team. A key task for the team is to define the high-level requirements of the outsourcing engagement. The evaluation team must be able to:
- Define the product, material or service that is needed;
- Define the Technical and Business Requirements;
- Define the Vendor Requirements, and
- Publish a Requirements Document.
Vendor investigation & assessment
Another key activity in this process includes assembling a list of all the potential vendors. The financial state and stability of the vendor, installation and integration support, training/education, maintenance agreements, upgrade and enhancement policies, customer service reputation and budget considerations should all be considered.
Request for proposal (RFP)
Once the potential vendors are identified, a request for detailed proposals from each vendor should be issued. An RFP document should contain sufficient information to permit the vendor evaluation team to assess each vendor’s ability to meet the organization’s business needs. The RFP needs to be focused on areas like quality, financial security, business background, terms and conditions and partnership approach. An RFP should contain the following elements:
- Introduction and Executive Summary;
- Instructions to the vendor: Mandatory structure of the proposal that will be submitted, proposal language, contact for questions, deadlines and
- Business and technical requirements described in a way to ensure vendors can present their solutions in the best possible manner.
In this stage, an organization would evaluate the vendor RFP responses to determine the one that best meets the its business needs. In addition, the organization should conduct a thorough investigation by obtaining input from all stakeholders. Before reviewing and evaluating the responses of the vendors, an evaluation sheet based on the RFP should be created. By weighting each of the criteria and evaluating each vendor’s response against these criteria, the organization will obtain a total score per vendor.
Below is an example of Scoring Rules with Suggested Weights, Rates, and Points:
Scoring Calculation: Application weight X rating x vendor response points = point score for a requirements document criterion
Having the required expertise
Your organization receives the expertise of a top-level professional whose real-world experience and unbiased view of best practices and vendors can make your IT department more productive and efficient.
Interim CIO services present a flexible and innovative solution to organizations experiencing an unexpected or planned CIO vacancy. An interim CIO will step into the void, quickly assess the current situation and desired future state, and collaborate with business leaders to implement an IT Strategic Plan, participate in the permanent CIO search and selection process, and execute the transition plan.
A Perfect Arrangement for Small, Mid and Large Sized Businesses
Technology is constantly changing and, to keep up, companies need to have a reliable person help them make the right choices. Outside observers can often identify problems that other members of your team may not notice. If your business is growing, there’s a good chance your IT needs are expanding in proportion. For many small businesses, hiring a full-time CTO or CIO is not financially feasible. Outsourcing this role, however, provides an affordable alternative for businesses that need an expert to drive IT strategy without the significant costs typically associated with executive-level IT professionals.
Want to learn more? Litcom has a team of experienced executives ready to perform all strategic functions of a CIO. We specialize in cases where an interim CIO is needed to build the foundation for a smooth transition to a permanent CIO. For more information on our services, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.