Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Intranet vendor selection and management

Back to the series index -  How to build an intranet

For the purposes of this article, I have assumed that you will be procuring services from a third party supplier, rather than using an in-house team of developers.
Take your time when selecting a vendor as once contracts are signed, they will be with you for the medium to long term.

Before sending invitations to tender, invite a number of suppliers for informal discussions to learn about the products and services they have to offer. This is an important step in the relationship building process. It will also generate some useful discussion and provide you with ideas you may not have thought of.

When considering suppliers, there are a number of important factors to consider such as:

·         their ability to meet your technical requirements

·         value for money

·         experience of working with organisations in your sector

·         geographical location

·         after sales service model – direct access to development team or account manager

·         ability to meet procurement framework standards (such as ISO accreditation for information security)

·         client references (from existing clients of your choosing)

·        age of company and their financial stability (run a check via Companies House if they are UK based)

·         the size and expertise of their development team

·         whether they own the software solution or are a reseller of the product

·         their roadmap for product development

·         their ability to provide training

·         cultural fit with your own organisation (visiting their offices can help you to get a feel for how well you will work together).

Action point – Decide on your criteria for selection and weight each element in terms of its importance / impact.

Action point – ensure any contracts/service level agreements between your organisation and the supplier include financial penalties for late delivery or failure to deliver. Of course, in relationship management, the use of carrots rather than sticks should be the preferred modus operandi – but you may want to keep a stick handy.

Discussion point - What do you consider to be the critical factors for consideration when selecting a third party supplier? 

Next article in this series - Intranet hosting and infrastructure

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