What factors would a CIO or VP evaluate from a company before awarding the project?
In addition to the basic offering (can the vendor's approach meet the requirements), I like to look at the people that the vendor has on staff.
Take some time to interview the staff of the vendor and you'll soon find out which vendor is the best fit for your organization. If all things are equal on the business-technology front, the people will help pick the real winner.
I’ve sold many large projects to CIOs and VPs. They are generally looking for individuals that can provide them with confidence.
- Does the vendor understand the project, goals, and environment?
- Can the vendor articulate their approach?
- What risks has the vendor identified and what is their plan to mitigate
- Does the vendor have the skills, expertise, and experience to be
- Is the vendor trustworthy?
- Does the vendor have a professional appearance and presentation so that
they can speak with executives or the Board and do a good job
representing the sponsor?
- Does the vendor understand the alignment between the business goals
and the technologies being used?
The right vendor should be able to explain why their solution is the best solution, and why their solution is superior to their competitor's solutions.
The right vendor should be able to enhance the solution with ideas that haven't been brought to the table yet.
From my experience these are the key factors that lead to sales. They are far more important than price since the cost of failure is very high. Of course, you have to do an excellent job executing the project.
Success is the ultimate value proposition.
ROI (return on investment) should be addressed, either in money saved or revenue improved, or both.
The solution should have no unnecessary complications. There is a tendency today to create a complicated mix of server, middleware, and front-end that is usually hard to maintain and hard to migrate from.
There should be training options for end users and sysadmins at your company.
Their implementation staff should be able to think on their feet really well and answer all questions. There should be a closed process loop at the vendor that integrates sales and services and you should be able to talk to representatives from both sides of the company. Their sales team should be knowledgeable people - not just schmoozers who are charming.
Make sure that the implementation plan includes people from your company and make sure that you have an internal project manager with the power to halt implementation if the solution as delivered differs from the solution that was sold to your company.
Watch out for vaporware solutions. It is not uncommon for companies to sell a solution as something that they have already developed, when, in fact, they are really only going to send out consultants that create this solution on your dime.