SearchExchange.com
                                                     INSIDE

email archiving 		                        ...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP




CHAPTER 6                Conducting an
                       email-archiv...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP



       Before creating the RFP              for product presentations,
    ...
© 2007 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, and Enterprise Vault are registered tradema...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP




     Designing an RFP document

     Attention to detail helps improve the...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP




     changes that the company expects to make over             features ov...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP




     The RFP process

     This section provides the specific             ...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP



                                                         Working with vendo...
s
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP


                                                                     Notif...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP



     Making a final email-archiving product selection

     Once the respon...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP




     be universally positive, it is           the RFP.
     not always the...
All content and no discovery?




Lost in a maze of unmanageable content? Find your way out with Enterprise Vault. It’s a ...
chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP



     About the authors                                                     ...
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Conducting an email-archiving RFP

  1. 1. SearchExchange.com INSIDE email archiving • 05 Designing an RFP document Planning, policies and product selection • 07 The RFP process • 08 Working with vendors during Conducting the RFP process CHAPTER 6 • 10 Making a final an email-archiving email-archiving product selection RFP Understanding the vendor RFP process is key to getting the email-archiving product and price you want.
  2. 2. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP CHAPTER 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP by Stephen Foskett and Kathryn Hilton T he key to a buying an email-archiving system is developing a request for proposal, or RFP, that puts together the best deal for your organization. It may be surprising to find at the end of this process that the final choice was not the cheapest product or the frontrunner from the vendor selection process. Instead, the goal is to find an email-archiving product and a vendor that can serve the needs of your users for years to come. After narrowing down a list of vendors, it’s time to this chapter will detail proceed to the purchasing phase. each step in the rfp process: To make sure the best email-archiving system is purchased at the best price, the IT product team 1� Creating the request documents should issue an RFP. This process involves sharing your 2� Communicating with vendors architecture and feature list with vendors, receiving their 3� Reviewing proposals proposed configurations and pricing in return and then selecting a winner from the proposals. Although it sounds 4� Selecting an email-archiving simple enough, an RFP can be quite complicated. system Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  3. 3. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP Before creating the RFP for product presentations, document, the project team question-and-answer sessions must define the requirements, and final negotiations. architecture and schedule Contracts will likely take a few The goal is for the email-archiving more weeks to finalize. Keep in system it wants. Writing the mind that pilot implementation to find an RFP document before these of an email-archiving system email-archiving elements are solidified will could take two to four weeks, product and make it extremely difficult to and full integration and rate vendor responses and documentation could take vendor that select the most appropriate several months. can serve your product. needs for years As detailed in Chapters 4 to come. SearchExchange.com and Chapter 5, defining the specifications, requirements and architecture particular to your email-archiving system are critical to help the vendors respond with a list of SearchExchange.com comparable features. It’s important to nail down a schedule for your RFP process — from creating the request Read Chapter 4 (above) to implementing the system. and Chapter 5 (right) to Make sure to give the vendors learn how to determine four weeks or more to receive your hardware, software and reply to the RFP. Plan and feature requirements. for an additional two weeks Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  4. 4. © 2007 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, and Enterprise Vault are registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation. 4
  5. 5. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP Designing an RFP document Attention to detail helps improve the quality of an introduction — This part RFP document, and that will have a tremendous of the document introduces your company and frames your impact on the final project outcome. This section requirements for an email- reviews the key elements typically found in an RFP archiving system in business document. Straying significantly from this format terms. This section should be a may cause confusion on the part of vendors. high-level overview consisting of only a few pages. System details should be reserved for the subsequent sections. Include an overview of your business and IT organization, especially if portions are outsourced, handled via a different division or otherwise managed in an unusual way. Next, give an overview of the type of system you want. Include the email infrastructure Be as specific as possible about and business requirements for your business requirements, retention. Introduce the reference architecture in this part of the especially if there are service- document and specify any unusual level objectives to be met. elements. Also list any significant 5 Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  6. 6. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP changes that the company expects to make over features over others may not be included in the next few years. the RFP document itself, it will be important Finally, outline the process for this particular RFP. when selecting a final product. At the end of the Highlight any important dates or deadlines, and business requirements section, include a table or spell out the rules of communication that should checklist of business needs. Give each requirement be followed. a line item number to assist responders. business requirements — Detail the business technical requirements — This section should requirements for your email-archiving system. Try be composed of three primary elements: to be as specific as possible, especially if there are 1�An overview of the current email service-level objectives to be met. Additionally, infrastructure, including hardware and make sure each requirement is listed separately software specifics, as well as message volume and not mixed with another. Each objective needs and storage needs to be articulated well in terms of communicating 2�The technical architecture developed in the needs of the business for email archiving. response to the business needs, including any In writing this section, keep in mind those specific functions that are required from your features that are absolutely required and those email-archiving system that are negotiable. Although weighting some 3�Any expected changes to the technical environment over the next few years In the final analysis, Again, be specific and explicit, and do not mix the least expensive or requirements together. Include a table or checklist the most technologically with numbers assigned to each line item. Consider advanced options may not which items are negotiable. be the correct choice. Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  7. 7. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP The RFP process This section provides the specific rfp ground rules — Although they can vary information needed to respond to greatly from organization to organization, the rules below can be considered best practice for any RFP: your RFP. • Direct that all communication must go through the primary contact. the rfp schedule — Include specific dates for • Specify how and when clarification questions these important milestones: will receive a response. • RFP initiation and transmission • Make sure responders know that not all • Intent to respond deadline vendors will be invited to demonstrate their • Clarification question deadline products. • Clarification response date • Require that final responses are substantially • Written response deadline complete and may not change after they are • Demonstration dates and times received. • Expected date of vendor selection • Let vendors know that substantial deviations from the reference architecture will not be contact information — Include the following considered. information: • Specify that no component will be explained • Primary contact name anywhere in the response if it is not included in • Telephone number the line-item pricing. • Email address • Mailing address • Fax number Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  8. 8. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP Working with vendors response format — Explain how responses should be structured. The following elements during the RFP process should be included: • Vendor and product introductions In the final RFP package, include a • Answers to each business or technical requirement line item to show that the solution cover letter, the RFP document and meets the needs specified any supporting materials. The cover • Line-item pricing for features, with optional letter should identify the project, components noted. • At least three customer references outline the schedule and give contact • Answers to qualifying questions information because many RFPs may • Additional information and background already be in progress between your documentation company and the prospective vendors qualifying questions — Create a set of at any given time. Send the RFP qualification questions that must be answered by package to each of the vendors that every responding vendor. Some topics in an email- have been identified at the same time archiving RFP can include the following: • Company health, including financials, to ensure a level playing field for all. litigation, layoffs or executive turnover • Partnerships and “go-to-market” model • The means by which services and support are the rfp schedule should include a date by provided which vendors must notify the company if they • List of primary competitors for email-archiving intend to respond. As this date approaches, keep systems an eye out for vendor intent communications. If any vendors are missing by the response date, contact the vendors to determine whether Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  9. 9. s chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP Notify others within your company their lack of response is an oversight. It is likely that they should not talk about the RFP outside official channels. a few vendors will drop out after seeing the requirements and schedule. The intent-to-respond communication will also establish a primary contact with each vendor for the duration of the outside official channels. RFP process. Some vendors may request pre-meetings to Many of the vendors will request a nondisclosure discuss the objectives or schedule, but you should or proprietary information agreement to be signed. avoid these. Instead, suggest a conference call Any agreements should be reviewed by your or email broadcast to all vendors to respond to company’s legal staff before they are signed. concerns or questions. Make sure that a single Your company may not be legally obligated email address and telephone number is given to all to keep the contents of vendor responses participants and that no outside communications confidential, but vendors might expect it to do so. will be allowed — especially if these might appear Many vendors will require this agreement as part to go around the RFP process. of their response process. As the final response date approaches, check Although the selection committee will be with vendors to determine if they will be able to communicating with vendors, no vendor should respond on time. Some vendors may drop out of be given an unfair advantage. Ensure that all the process if they have not been able to provide communications are logged and saved and that the a satisfactory response. If your list of prospects content of the RFP and each vendor’s responses has dwindled, it may be appropriate to extend are not discussed. the response deadline for all. However, avoid an Any communication that might give one vendor extension in the last days because this would an advantage over another should immediately be unfair to those who were able to meet the be shared with the rest of the vendors. To do that, deadline. it is important that strict rules be established for If the final number of responses is unacceptably communication between participating vendors low, the entire RFP should be canceled and and the selection group. Notify others within your reissued, perhaps after finding out why there was a company that they should not talk about the RFP minimal response rate. Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  10. 10. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP Making a final email-archiving product selection Once the responses are in, it’s time to select the best when sorting through the product. In the final analysis, the least expensive or responses for the first time, a few responses will stand out the most technologically advanced options may not for their professionalism, low be the correct choice. A combination of objective price and completeness. The metrics and subjective feelings should push one or two opposite extreme is also likely, products to the top of the list. When that happens, a with a few responses totally missing the mark. recommendation to purchase can be made. Do no necessarily accept or reject one response over another based on initial feelings, however. More investigation may reveal a subtlety or even an error that may change the picture. Create a matrix of response evaluations. Weigh the responses according to the criteria developed earlier and sort the vendors by these objective criteria. Now is the time to contact the references provided by the vendors. Although a hand- picked reference list may 0 Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  11. 11. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP be universally positive, it is the RFP. not always the case. Probing Once you have the final quote questions can sometimes reveal in hand, the difficult process of a great deal about the true integration begins. Pilot tests nature of each product, as well will be needed to prove that as the vendor’s organizational the system works as expected. support. Ask objective Final deployment will likely take questions about the number place in phases, and policies of support calls required for may change as the system gets installation and configuration, up and running. A combination the number of successful The last step in the RFP of objective recoveries attempted, and any process is user education. metrics and additional purchases needed. Make your users aware of all Once all of the vendor the functions that are possible subjective responses have been examined, with the new email-archiving feelings will a final recommendation can be system, and make sure they are push one or made. Contact any vendors that trained in its daily use. clearly did not make the cut and Don’t forget about auditing two products thank them for participating in your new email-archiving to the top of the process, but keep the top system periodically to runner-up in reserve in case ensure that it is meeting your the list. negotiations with the winner expectations. By following falter. Talk about any changes to all these steps, you’ll have the winning system and request a system that meets your a final price quote. Negotiations company’s needs for years to will probably continue but do come. not allow major variances from Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
  12. 12. All content and no discovery? Lost in a maze of unmanageable content? Find your way out with Enterprise Vault. It’s a flexible archiving framework that enables the discovery of content within email, file system and collaborative environments. Reduce costs. Simplify management. Put your discovery fears behind you at www.symantec.com/compliance BE FEARLESS. Copyright ©2005 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo and Enterprise Vault are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
  13. 13. chapter 6 Conducting an email-archiving RFP About the authors Additional resources Stephen Foskett is director Kathryn Hilton has worked from Symantec of the data practice at in technology for more than 20 Contoural Inc., a Mountain years as an industry analyst for Learn more View, Calif.-based consulting Gartner Group and for several about firm that provides strategic large storage companies. Hilton Symantec consulting to Fortune 500 received a bachelor of arts de- Enterprise Vault companies to help them align gree in business economics from Symantec Enterprise Vault their storage and computing the University of California, 2007 provides a software- infrastructures with their Santa Barbara, and a master’s based intelligent archiving platform that stores, man- business objectives. Foskett has degree in business adminis- ages and enables discovery provided vendor-independent tration from the University of of corporate data from end-user consulting on storage Colorado Leeds School of Busi- email systems, file server for more than 10 years, written ness. She is currently a senior environments, instant numerous articles and spoken analyst for policy at Contoural messaging platforms and extensively at trade shows on Inc., a provider of business and content management and collaboration systems. storage-related topics. technology consulting services that focuses on litigation readi- For a variety of white ness, compliance, information papers, case studies, and records management, and testimonials and more, click here. data storage strategy. Designing an RFP The RFP Working with Making a final document process vendors product selection
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