Preliminary Requirements


Identify Potential Solutions

Identify who we will be reviewed in the next phase
  • Market intelligence from web, software directories, corporate knowledge, industry bodies, competitors etc.
    1. Review all available sources to identify who may be able to provide a solution
    2. Evaluate each Vendor as far as possible against the 'Deal Breakers' to come down to a short list
  • RFI Short List or RFP/RFQ/RFT Shortlist

At this point, you should be clear on whether you are going to the market to find out more information, or going to market to select a solution. If you feel that you need to understand what is available in more detail, you will use an RFI (Request for Information) approach. The RFI is essentially a "tell us about your product, and how it works" approach. You might approach 8 to 10 vendors for feedback.

If you understand the market, you are asking for a more specific response. The question is "Here is what we need. Tell us how you can fulfil that need." In this case you go directly to an RFQ, RFP or RFT. You would be unlikely to go to more than 4 vendors. It may only be 2 or 3. The more vendors you approach, the more work is going to be involved in evaluation.

It is important to realise that once you contact the vendor, you will probably be subject to a barrage of sales activity. If at all possible, you should do the evaluation at this point from publicly available information. You may not be able to get all the answers but will probably be able to get close to the first shortlist.

If you are going to an RFI it is often useful to have a third party handle the process for you. Suppose you ask 10 companies to respond to an RFI. That will be 10 companies that will be calling to check information, take you to lunch, want to meet with you and generally trying to make as many contact points as possible within your organisation. It can be very time consuming. If you go through a third party and remain anonymous, the vendors cannot get to you. After you are down to 3 or 4, you can make contact.

The list of vendors you wish to proceed with will be documented in the Preliminary Requirements Report.


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