System Selection

Metatorial Services can help you move quickly and confidently through the process of procuring or designing a CMS or other information management system. Once you have decided what system you want, either using a logical design or another requirements gathering process, we can help you through any or all of the steps in a system selection process:

  1. Decide whether to build, buy or rent your CMS.
  2. Create a high-level overview of the CMS project that you can distribute to vendors as well as to your selection committee. It should include information from the project mandate, requirements, and logical design.
  3. Canvass the market for the products that seem to fit. Casting broadly, you may end up with tens of companies in this initial round.
  4. Make the first cut from the list of candidates, selecting those that seem worth really pursuing.
    • Use additional information you can collect easily, such as from each company's marketing package and Web site, to cut down the list.
    • Invite the companies that make the cut to make a sales presentation—their standard one, which does not require much investment in time from them or you. Aim to get an understanding of their product offering.
  5. Send a Request for Proposal (RFP) to those who make the first cut.
    • Create a spreadsheet containing a scoring system (and determine scoring weights before beginning to score responses) to evaluate responses to the questions in the RFP.
    • Allow vendors ample time to respond, particularly if your RFP contains many detailed questions.
  6. Select a small number of finalists by scoring the RFP responses and any follow-up questions that you ask.
    • Follow up with meetings within your group to determine scoring.
    • Use multiple quick passes over answers to quickly determine which questions vendors answered well or poorly.
  7. Have technical drill-down meetings and check references from each of the finalists.
    • Get vendors to involve members of their technical team who can contribute.
    • Diagram the resulting system as described in each meeting.
  8. Have a presentation from the remaining candidates.
    • Resolve any big issues before the final presentation.
    • Involve your executives.
    • Make sure your team has done its homework about the candidates—having to bring people up to speed with basic product demos is a waste of time at this point.
    • Get a cost estimate and discuss terms.
  9. Evaluate the remaining candidates.
    • Rescore their RFPs in light of subsequent presentations.
    • For each remaining candidate, create a modified version of the project plans based on the assumption that you choose their project.
  10. Check references.
    • Try to get references outside of those the company supplies.
    • Look for references that have used the company's product for projects as similar as possible to yours.
  11. Make a final decision by combining the scores for the references and presentations with those for the RFP.
    • Use all the materials you have gathered to drive to consensus.
    • If consensus doesn't happen, create an objective scoring system to determine the winner.
    • If a scoring system isn't feasible, escalate the decision to an executive who can make the decision.

There is much more detail on this process as well as hard won insight about the vender/customer dance in Content Management Bible.

Let Metatorial Services help you customize and execute a system selection process that is precisely fit to your organizational culture and system requirements.

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