Your company needs a new IT solution; let’s say a new 3D design, a CRM, or a fully new business system (ERP).
What do you do? Well, you setup a project team that starts collecting the business requirements, scans the market for potential solution providers, writes and sends out Requests for Information (RFI), and presents a list of suitable solution providers to the evaluation projects’ steering committee.
Then you give the team members permission for the fun part: they can travel around to visit reference companies and make the providers do product demonstrations where everybody can shine by asking smart questions.
Typically these evaluation activities come to a conclusion when you issue the formal Request for Proposal (RFP) to the most promising providers. This RFP is a first step to nail scope, time, and commercial issues and prepare for the final selection and contract negotiation.
So, you probably end up, after a lot of ranking and weighting different evaluation criteria, with two short-listed solutions. It is smart to do at least with one of them some kind of proof of concept activities. This to make sure the solution and provider perform as expected and to gain a firm basis for the actual contract negotiations.
If the proof of concept succeeds, you negotiate the final contract and start the project that will deliver your new 3D design, CRM, or ERP solution.
Not so much wrong with an evaluation process like this. But some basic questions do arise:
When you go out looking for a new solution consider the questions above before nailing your evaluation process, and most importantly: