E-commerce Link: 6 Steps for Selecting an Enterprise Content Management Platform
- Clearly defining your requirements in the form of scenarios
- Being honest and detailed
- Defining an acceptable budget
- Considering the use of an intermediary
Step 5: Quantify Your Decision Making
Leveraging your cross-functional task force, you should agree upon a high-level breakdown of evaluation criteria. Develop a detailed description of each criterion and weight each for a total of 100 percent. It's a good idea to include this breakdown with the RFP. While it may seem counterintuitive to reveal the evaluation criteria, vendors will pay close attention to this weighting and provide detailed responses accordingly.
It's recommended to develop a quantifiable framework for evaluating the vendor's written and in-person presentation. Each criterion should be further broken down into individual items that can be rated on a fixed scale, and a weighting formula for aggregating the scores should be determined ahead of time. An evaluation matrix with all the detailed criteria and the rating scale should be produced and used by the entire team to score each vendor. It's best to not reveal this detailed aspect of the evaluation criteria to vendors, as it can skew their responses and presentations toward an inaccurate score that doesn't truly represent their offerings.
Step 6: Decide and Plan Your Implementation
While the vendor evaluation and decision matrix is a powerful tool, don't solely rely on it to make your final decision. Ultimately, the final decision will require a large amount of discussion within the team. Chemistry with the vendor, strategic alignment and total cost of ownership should weigh heavily on the decision-making process as well.
A practical and concise plan for the initial implementation must be prepared in conjunction with the vendor. Avoid a big-bang rollout of multiple platform components. Aside from the obvious cost and risk associated with a large deployment of unfamiliar technology, you may also be overcommitting to a strategic direction or an individual technology vendor without any practical data to validate your assumptions. A phased, iterative approach with a burning-in period after each release is ideal.