A few weeks ago we talked about the differences between the RFPs, RFIs, RFQs, and Surveys and touched on how they were different as well as when you would use one. What we said then was that you typically want to run one of these events when you have an idea about the basic functionality of a product you need but are not sure who can provide it and what else it is they can bring that you didn’t think of.
In many cases, the road to procuring enterprise software will require one of these tools due, in part, to the fact that software can change so quickly, but also because typical decision factors like price play a much smaller role to the features and functionality of the software.
In preparing to make a major software purchase a Request for Information or Proposal can be a great first step. Here are some things to keep in mind about the solution and the company when preparing for one.
Flexibility – One of the keys in the process of evaluating software solutions and the companies that create them is to gather information about the flexibility of the product. A focus on how configurable the system is and how well a solution can be fitted with your company’s needs and appearance is an important part to building a good software RFP/RFI.
Reputation – A company’s reputation for delivery used to go a long way in the business world but in the wake of a tougher economy price has begun to gain ground. In the arena of software, it is still one of the most important factors to evaluate when selecting a software partner. Building a relationship with companies known for under promising and over delivering on a consistent and referenceable level can be a huge factor in protecting a million dollar investment.
Pricing model – The key here is not in the actual price but how the company prices that is important. Your company’s needs will dictate the pricing model that benefits your company whether for the enterprise; per seat or per user. How a software provider prices and what they charge you for are HUGE factors in determining if they are suited for you and your company. The more information you can gather at the RFP/RFI stage as possible is very important.
Support – There is no more important product to verify good support on than software. As upgrades occur, employees get promoted or leave the company, new employees need training, or issues arise, the level of support a company will commit to is critical to the confidence you can place in them. On top of this, the more mission critical the functionality the software is to support is for your company, the more important the level of support becomes. Any software RFP/RFI you create should have a detailed section to determine what level of support you can expect from each vendor.
For more information on SafeSourcing and how we can provide RFIs/RFPs that help you focus on these important factors, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.
We look forward to your comments.