Choosing the right software, hardware, or technology vendor for your business, can quickly become overwhelming. The vast number of options available through the Internet may add to the confusion and choosing the wrong vendor will be a source of frustration, and potentially unplanned cost, for years to come. To help simplify the process, we have put together a brief guide to aid in your selection.
Define Your Needs
Document your goals and needs in detail. Include your absolute “must have” items that will be a deal breaker if a vendor cannot address. This step includes identifying your budget. When you speak with a potential vendor, if they do not have a solution, be prepared to mark them off the list.
Do Your Homework!
Research and identify vendors who offer the service or product you need. Contact each vendor and review your company’s needs. You do not want to be sold on a product at this stage. Your goal is to determine if you want a demo.
Be prepared to provide the following information:
- Your company name and contact
- Summary of problem or need
- Clearly state the deal breaker items
- Ask how long has the vendor been in business
- Ask if the vendor has clients in your industry, and of similar size
If your satisfied, propose a date and time for a demo of their product.
Vendor Demo of Product/Service
Include your key team members in this demo. Ask how the product will meet your ‘deal breaker’ needs. Take notes of key points or questions. At the end of the demo, ask your questions. If it looks promising, request a quote that includes installation and training; annual recurring cost and a list of system requirements.
Weed Out Vendors
The goal is to narrow your selection to one or two companies. Discuss system requirements with your IT support company to insure you have a total cost. Then based on demos and quotes, eliminate vendors whose offerings do not meet your needs or budget.
Final Vendor Round
Now you are looking for differentiators. Schedule a final meeting with each vendor. Be very specific about any questions, concerns, or special needs. Ask for client references and make time to call them.
Review material and notes from the meetings. Consider cost, ability to meet your requirements, and responses from those reference calls. Choosing a vendor isn’t easy, but we’re here to help! Call DCR today and let us help you in your vendor selection process 918-436-1830.