Hints & Tips Blog
Choosing the right technology – Part two
In the 1st part of Choosing the right technology, we covered the importance of capturing the business requirements and identifying potential suppliers. In this blog, we continue the process.
Step 3: Create a tender document
Last time we talked through the importance of the business requirements document (BRD). Now you need to turn your BRD into a tender document that can be sent to suppliers. Include information about your selection process, your expected decision timeframe, and the type of relationship you are looking for. Identify the importance of each of your requirements. I would suggest using ‘must-have’, ‘highly desirable’, ‘nice to have’ criteria. Then ask suppliers to provide an answer to each requirement specified along the following lines:
- Can you meet this requirement? – Yes, in full; Partially; No
- Describe how your solution meets this requirement – This is a free text field where the supplier can provide more information
The advantage of this approach is that it removes as far as possible the potential for ambiguity. Suppliers can’t just say ‘yes’; they need to be clear about what they can and cannot do.
Finally, always leave an open question at the end for suppliers to provide any additional information to support their bid. You can often find out about other features or services that could be valuable to you.
Step 4: Choosing your supplier
Once you have received proposals for all the potential suppliers, you need to evaluate them. The best way to do this is using a balance scorecard approach. In simple terms, decide what criteria are important to you e.g. price, fit with your requirements, track record, etc. Then weight them based on their relative priority.
For example, if a supplier scores 5 out of 5 for track record and the priority of that criterion is 2, then it scores 10 in that category, and so on.
Add up all the scores for each supplier and the supplier with the highest total score should be your preferred supplier. However, before making your final decision it is always worth shortlisting the best suppliers and inviting the top 3 to present face to face. That gives you an opportunity both to meet their teams and also talk about their solution in more detail.
After these presentations, update the scorecard if necessary, then you have your final decision.
You now enter the contract phase. Ideally, you will already have a standard set of terms and conditions that you included in your tender document and your preferred supplier will have had the opportunity to flag any concerns. If not, then at the very least you will want to ensure you have a legal expert on hand to review the supplier’s standard terms to make sure they fully reflect your expectations.#
Once the contract has been agreed you’re ready to get started!
But don’t relax just yet. Effective project management and communication with the supplier will be key to a successful implementation project.
Our team at BHP Consulting all run successful businesses, we understand that businesses are unique and our approach involves sharing this experience to improve your business. For an initial telephone conversation or face-to-face meeting, click here