ROUNDUP March 9, 2003 Vetting Vendors
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  • 1. ROUNDUP March 9, 2003 Vetting Vendors [email_address] Strategic Technology Consultant Robert Weiner With input from Michael Stein [email_address] Affiliate Consultant, CompassPoint Dawn Trygstad Rubin
  • 2. Agenda
    • Information Technology Planning
    • Project Management
    • Needs Assessments
    • Establishing a pool of qualified vendors
    • RFP/I/Qs
    • Proposal Review
  • 3. Agenda
    • Demonstrations/Presentations
    • Due Diligence
    • Contract issues
    • Implementation issues
    • Support issues
    • Questions & Discussion
  • 4. IT Systems Project Cycle Strategic IT Plan Needs Assessment Alternatives Analysis Improve Existing System Outsource Select Software Package Custom System Develop & Implement Org. Ready? Maintenance and Evaluation (incl. annual budget) Right people interested Strategic Plan (risk) Technology Objectives Resources
  • 5. Information Technology Planning
    • Part of Strategic Plan (mission-driven).
    • Process: business model, data/work flows, assess effectiveness, identify problem areas & possible solutions, prioritize projects.
    • Plan: list inventory, desired changes (projects), resources, training & IT management.
    • Individual projects should fit overall plan.
  • 6. Project Management
    • Project Selection
      • organizational needs, list of projects from plan, objectives, allocate resources.
    • Team Building
      • team members & roles, responsibility matrix.
    • Planning
      • task list, Gantt chart, CPM diagram, other agencies, project budget.
    • Tracking / Implementation
      • issues list, time sheets, receipts / accounting reports.
  • 7. Information Systems Model IT Management Information Functions Technology Infrastructure
  • 8. Needs Assessment
    • Develop detailed requirements
      • Interview key stakeholders.
      • What’s really wrong?
      • Help them envision new capabilities.
      • What do they really need?
  • 9. Needs Assessment (cont.)
    • Requirements (continued)
      • What are their top priorities?
      • What’s on their wish list?
      • What can they afford and support?
  • 10. Needs Assessment (cont.)
    • Options:
      • Stay with current system
      • Build
      • Buy
      • Outsource
    • “ BOB” or integrated package?
    • Will you buy based on the “next release”?
    • Vendor or technology restrictions?
  • 11. Needs Assessment (cont.)
    • Rate requirements (required/desired).
    • Will you use an RFP?
      • If so, requirements will be the basis of the RFP.
      • Are there other procurement requirements?
    • Will RFPs or demonstrations be scored numerically?
      • point ranges, met/unmet, numeric weights.
  • 12. Vendor Pool
    • Vendors must fit client’s culture, staffing, and budget, as well as meeting functional needs.
    • Vendors should be experienced with clients of this type and size, unless client is willing to take risks.
  • 13. Vendor Pool (cont.)
    • Client probably has some vendors in mind.
    • If you don’t have experience with this type of project, ask other consultants, listserves, professional orgs (AFP, etc.), talk to similar organizations.
  • 14. Request for Proposals
    • An RFP is a document that precisely summarizes your needs.
    • An RFP is a formalized process for vendor interaction.
    • Get complete team signoff on the RFP.
    • Make sure you get it right.
  • 15. Request for Proposals (cont.)
    • Describe your project
      • What opportunity are you trying to seize?
      • What problem are you trying to solve?
      • Give the lay of the land.
      • Describe your desired outcome.
    • Lay out your project specifications
      • Operational details.
      • Technical details.
  • 16. Request for Proposals (cont.)
    • What do you want to learn from vendors?
      • Their experience with similar projects.
      • Their general approach to projects.
      • Their recommended solution.
      • Their pricing.
      • Why do they want to work with you?
      • References from similar clients.
  • 17. Request for Proposals (cont.)
    • Should you disclose your project budget?
      • It helps vendors decide if they’re a good fit.
      • Don’t put the budget in the RFP, but discuss verbally with vendor.
  • 18. Proposal Review
    • Review vendor’s proposed solution
      • Have they met your technical and operational needs?
      • Does their proposed solution match your future budget and staffing?
      • Frequency of product upgrades.
      • Ability to customize; how do customizations work with upgrades?
      • Interfaces & integration.
  • 19. Proposal Review (cont.)
    • Is their development/ implementation process clear?
    • How will existing data be converted?
    • How will training be handled?
    • How will ongoing support be delivered?
    • Is their proposed timeline reasonable?
    • Is their pricing understandable?
    • Is their ability to do the project clear?
    • Do they want your business?
  • 20. Demonstrations
    • When hiring a service vendor, make sure the people you’re interviewing will be the ones doing the work.
    • For software demos, make vendors show what the client needs to see.
    • Use scenarios for software demos.
      • Goal: comparing apples to apples.
      • Scenarios should show real situations derived from the Needs Assessment.
  • 21. Demonstrations (cont.)
    • Choose scenarios that cover the most critical functions.
    • At big organizations consider separate demos by department, each with its own scenarios.
    • Sample scenario:
      • Add a member.
      • Add a major donor.
      • Marry the two records and show joint giving.
      • Divorce the records.
  • 22. Demonstrations (cont.)
    • Make sure key stakeholders can attend demos.
    • Invite all interested staff.
    • Collect input from everyone.
    Data Entry Events Management Prospect Management  Membership Mgmt. COMMENTS RATING AREA
  • 23. Due Diligence
    • Reference checks
      • Talk to previous similar clients.
      • Was work delivered on timeline and on budget?
      • How was training?
      • How is ongoing support relationship?
    • Site visits
      • May be to vendor or to client sites
    • Viability of vendor
  • 24. Reference Checks
    • Sample Software Reference Questions:
      • How long did it take for you to “go live” on the software?
      • How many of your staff worked on the project?
      • What assistance did the vendor provide?
      • Did you use consultants or other 3 rd parties?
      • Were you happy with the training provided by the vendor?
      • What would you do differently if you had it to do over?
  • 25. Contract Issues
    • Software price may not be negotiable.
    • Training, customizations, implementation assistance, consulting, and schedules are often negotiable.
    • Consider payments based on performance, especially if buying based on unreleased features.
  • 26. Implementation Overview
    • Policies & Procedures: responsibilities, access, “rules.”
    • Reports: map old to new, include letters and other outputs.
    • Processes: work & information & paper flows; system use.
    • Customizations: features, reports, interfaces.
    • System Set up: codes & fields, security (users, groups and permissions), preferences, business rules.
  • 27. Implementation Overview (cont.)
    • Training:
      • team at beginning of project.
      • end users at end of project, during final data conversion.
    • Documentation
    • Data Conversion: map data, 2+ tries until right, data clean-up (now in legacy system, in conversion, afterwards in new system).
    • Testing: all parts above.
  • 28. Support
    • Plan & budget for support (upgrades, staff turnover).
    • Define a support “hierarchy.”
    Complexity, Skill Level, Time $
    • Power Users
    • Self-help (Online, Procedures, Help Guides)
    Level 1
    • IT Staff
    • Accidental Techie
    Level 2
    • Consultants
    • Vendor support
    Level 3
  • 29. QUESTIONS
    • ?