Our Technology and Product evaluation services focus on assessing the technical merit and value of IT investments from a business perspective. We have developed practices that help the IT buyer develop ROI models to justify and evaluate the impact of the IT investment on their business goals.

For a buyer, we typically follow the process outlined below:

Business Case Development
Although not always required, a business case that articulates key needs and benefits can be an effective tool for building support to replace or acquire a new technology system. EBD assists organization with building a business case through a systematic review of both the qualitative benefits of a new system and a quantitative estimate of the savings that can be achieved.

Identify and Weight Critical Needs: Using the results of business process reviews, EBD produces a list of feature and functions required by the organization, and works with stakeholders to assign a weight or priority to each requirement.

Identify Costs of Missing Application Functionality: Based on the requirements analysis, critical gaps in application functionality are identified and costs are assigned based on lost revenue opportunity, lost productivity, additional labor costs, lost discounts or other factors appropriate to the situation.

Identify Current Operation and Support Costs: In addition to costs incurred due to missing software functionality, there may also be costs associated with supporting, maintaining and enhancing current systems. EBD will identify these costs including:

  • Labor (programmers, systems analysts, operators)
  • Hardware and software platforms, software license charges, hardware maintenance charges.
  • Other related costs.

Develop the Business Case: To provide a total cost of ownership view, EBD prepares a business case that compares costs of implementing a new system with continuing existing operations over a planning horizon, typically five-year period. Budget estimates are developed that include:

  • Cost of continuing existing operations.
  • Cost of procuring a new solution including all hardware and software.
  • Cost of new system implementation.
  • Cost of operating with a new system.
  • Comparative cost analysis of operating with existing systems versus implementing a new system.
Vendor Solicitation
A well constructed RFP including a clear set of requirements can often be a critical tool for obtaining the information an organization needs to choose the right solution. EBD consultants have years of expertise in preparing and evaluating RFPs. Our experience and knowledge of the available products and tools ensures that the organization neither asks for too little, nor requires the unachievable. We help develop RFP specifications that clearly reflect the needs of an organization and ensure that the proposals received allow for “apples-to-apples” comparison of the solutions proposed.

Select an RFP Template: Many organizations have a standard RFP template that provides an outline for the RFP and includes terms and conditions that are required by organization’s procurement group, the organization’s attorney, and the organization purchasing department. EBD will prepare an RFP based on the organization’s template if one exists, or can provide sample templates that have proven effective.

Prepare the RFP: Whether starting from the organization’s template or one provided by EBD, we ensure that the RFP is written to obtain as many responsive proposals as possible, and to obtain the information required for effective evaluation and selection. Our RFPs provide vendors with clear directions for responding to the organization’s functional and technical requirements, describing their implementation and support services, specifying proposed costs, and establishing their qualifications including financial stability and references. We also recommend additional RFP terms and conditions if needed based on our experience and industry best practices.

Review and Finalize the RFP: Once the RFP is drafted, we work with organization staff including the purchasing department to incorporate any final changes to the document, finalize the RFP, and release it. If requested, EBD can prepare a list of potential bidders for purchasing to send the RFP to, in addition to any standard methods the organization uses for advertising RFPs.

Solution Evaluation and Selection
Selecting the solution that best meets an organization’s needs requires an independent, unbiased analysis of each solution and vendor’s strengths and weaknesses. EBD has:
  • No exclusive ties to any software or hardware vendor.
  • No compensation agreement for recommending a particular vendor’s solution.
  • No bias toward any specific set of solutions.

Our independence and knowledge of technology products provides our clients with an objective appraisal of how well each particular vendor’s solution fits the organization’s requirements.

Support Proposal Evaluation: EBD provides evaluation team members with a rubric for proposal evaluation based on their RFP requirements. Our experts will also read each proposal and help answer questions that arise during evaluation. We compile the proposal scores assigned by organization evaluators, present the results, and assist in selecting the vendor finalists who will be invited to demonstrate their solutions.

Manage Vendor Demonstrations: EBD will arrange for demonstrations of selected vendor solutions, prepare demonstration instructions to ensure consistency in what is demonstrated, and provide appropriate evaluation tools to assist organization personnel in their review and scoring of the demos.

Provide Cost Comparisons: In addition to functional and technical comparisons among the proposed solutions, their relative costs must be considered. EBD will review each vendor’s proposed costs for hardware, software, implementation services, conversion, training, modifications, and on-going support, and summarize them in an easy-to-read format that provides an initial cost comparison among the proposed solutions.

Document Evaluation Results to Support Final Selection: EBD documents and summarizes the results of each step of the evaluation and selection process as well as the overall results. This enables the evaluation team to explain the basis for selection to stakeholders and competing vendors, building support for the choice, and minimizing the chance of a vendor protest.

Contract Negotiation
A tightly written contract with clearly defined responsibilities helps insure a successful implementation and protect an organization’s interests if problems arise. EBD’s extensive experience in negotiating vendor contracts and managing vendors during implementation enables us to quickly identify potential contract issues and recommend strategies to finalize negotiations. Our focus is to protect the organization’s interests while ensuring the system’s functionality and flexibility, both of which are essential in today's complex operating environments. We assist in negotiating all aspects of the contract including but not limited to price reductions and discounts, payment terms, dispute resolution, warranties, indemnification, limitations and exclusions, and vendor and organization responsibilities.

In order to facilitate rapid and successful contract negotiations, EBD will review the vendor’s standard contract documents and prepare a list of negotiating points based on industry standards and our experience. These negotiating points include contract clauses to be changed including the proposed alternate language, and terms and conditions to be added or deleted as appropriate. We will also coordinate these changes with the organization’s attorney(s) and other organization staff. Once the organization’s negotiating team is in agreement on the negotiating points we will participate in negotiation phone calls or meetings between the organization and the vendor and review revisions of the contract documents until a final contractual agreement is reached.