The Fifth Step – Choosing Your Vendor
If you’ve been following the series, you know we kicked off this series of articles about the software selection process by talking about the contracts you need to sign with any consultant you hire to help with the project. Next we moved on to initiating the project, then identifying requirements and choosing vendors. In our last post we talked about sourcing — narrowing down the list of vendors to a handful, who are then invited to demonstrate their product. Oh, and we also shared the importance of using a Software Selection Management Tool. If you haven’t been following along, this might be a good time to go back and catch up.
We’ll wait (queue Jeopardy music…)
Okay, so now we’re at the point in the project where all the hard work pays off. You have all the information you need to make a decision and choose the winner. In order, the next steps are: a legal review of the contracts presented by each vendor on the shortlist; a verification of their references and other information given in the quotations; and finally awarding the contract to the chosen vendor.
Legal Control Review
It’s time to lawyer up. That’s right, you need your legal advisors to review the contracts of the vendors on that shortlist. Your legal team will tell you if the terms and conditions of the vendor contract are acceptable and match the data you provided in the requests for proposals.
Vendor Contract Review
Once the contracts have been given the thumbs up by legal, you’re ready to meet with the company leadership to choose a vendor for final contract negotiations. It’s ok to choose more than one vendor; making vendors compete for your business can help you get better prices and terms.
When negotiating with the vendor(s), make sure you keep in mind the quality and fit of the software they offer, the pricing structure, the ease and length of implementation they propose and their reputation and references.
Final Vendor Recommendation
Once the contract(s) negotiations are finished, the software selection team can perform a final evaluation of all the criteria and present the recommendation to the leadership team. Do exactly what you did when presenting the front runners. Give a summary of everything you received from the vendors and how the proposals were scored. Make sure it’s crystal clear to all how the winning vendor was selected.
Once the leadership team has approved your decision, the appropriate representative of the company signs the final version of the contract that was negotiated with the selected vendor.
With the contract signed, you’ll notify the winner and give them a copy of the signed contract. Send an email to all other vendors who provided you with quotes, thanking them for their time and the information they provided.
Next time we’ll talk about identifying and documenting the lessons learned in the project and about other tasks recommended to close the project. Make sure you don’t miss it!