After soliciting proposals from a number of IT suppliers, and receiving their responses, you will be able to shortlist, evaluate and choose a supplier.
When looking at their proposals, assess them against your IT supplier selection criteria. It might help to follow a systematic supplier selection process in deciding which supplier would best suit your needs.
STEP1: Review the proposals
Compare proposals on a like-for-like basis and come up with a shortlist. Take into account:
- financial viability
- implementation track record
- quality and relevance of reference sites
- project management capability
- ability to understand your business at both the strategic and process levels
- technical knowledge and expertise
- confidence in the supplier's ability to provide the solution into the foreseeable future
- the cost of the proposed solution
STEP 2: Rank the candidates
Throughout the evaluation process, rank the suppliers and eliminate those that do not meet your technical requirements or fall outside your agreed budget.
This process should usually include a demonstration of their proposed offering by each of the suppliers. This gives you the opportunity to evaluate the system being proposed and the supplier.
STEP 3: Get to know them
Invite potential suppliers to visit your company. Do they understand your business needs and have experience in your industry? Do you feel comfortable dealing with them? Arrange a supplier interview and make sure to ask them key questions to help you assess the suitability and efficiency of their service. See questions to ask a potential IT supplier.
Ensure that the shortlisted suppliers provide references and contact them as part of the evaluation process. Try to get references from businesses similar to your own as this is a useful way to assess the system and the supplier.
STEP 4: Test the solution
By this stage, you should be in a position to come up with a single preferred supplier. Consider further testing the proposed solution, particularly if the system is going to be critical to your business.
If you are happy with the proposed solution of the preferred supplier, you can begin negotiating the IT contract. You will need to formally agree on factors such as the levels of system maintenance and support, as well as the overall cost of the proposed solution.
See more on IT supplier contracts and service level agreements.