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
The Litcom Approach
At Litcom, we assist our clients in evaluating and selecting enterprise wide business systems, as well as solutions for specific industry verticals, best of breed software applications and the hardware and network infrastructure required to support their business. To see how we can assist you with your organization’s vendor selection process, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org .