Supplier Selection

IT,  Back Office system integration, Website development, Internet Marketing or Keyword Research

Where do you start if you don't know the right questions to ask?

It is all about price?  Of course this is vitally important but it should never be the only factor you consider.  Do you know what you should expect at the end of the journey?

Sometimes when you buy an IT product in a box, then you already have a fair idea of what it will do - for example, buying anti-virus software or an Accounting package.  You can read about it online and there will be instructions and information on minimum operating system requirements, installation etc.

When things get a little more complex - how for example you will integrate your accounts application into your CRM or integrate your CRM into your telephony system when there are standards you will need to follow and in these circumstances, your supplier should be in a position to advise on technical standards to ensure that the products will be fit for purpose.  

In saying this, you should always get at least two quotes for comparison and follow up references.  There tends to be little variation in standard accounting and customer relationship management applications so in these cases, you could argue that price matters more than the way the application will work.  

With suitable training, you can usually get most of these products to deliver what you want - the rest is down to changing the culture of your staff to adopt these aplications into daily working life.

All the identified IT and website development challenges on this page are areas where SMART Partnerships can support you.

When however you look at getting your Website to deliver what you need, you are the one who needs to set the operating standards and minimum specifications because, your website is not a product in a box and it is unlikely that a single supplier will be able to deliver all the components you need to consider.

What do you need to consider when looking for a website developer or IT supplier?

Unless you can document what your thoughts are, it is virtually impossible to compare quotes.  Suppliers and Website developers need to understand what you are trying to get the website to achieve and typically, unless you set out what you are NOT prepared to accept, then not only will prices vary tremendously, the end product and its effectiveness will also deliver that same tolerance.

SMART Partnerships can assist by helping you to specify your needs and create an Invitation to Tender document that can then be used to measure the effectiveness of your responses.