What's the benefit of going through the vendor assessment process?
What's the benefit of going through the vendor assessment process if you already have a good idea of which vendor will ultimately provide the solution?
Are you absolutely sure you know which vendor you'll choose? Ask yourself some simple questions: What are you basing your certainty on? Do you have facts, experience, or data to back your decision? What if something changes—for instance, your needs, or the range of available vendors? Without a formal vendor assessment process, you run the risk of making slanted, misinformed, or uninformed choices. An assessment process is the best way to help your business partners make objective, fact-based decisions:
It refines and prioritizes the requirements.Preparing RFPs and reviewing the vendor responses will help you identify the most critical requirements, know which requirements are flexible, and identify requirements that you might otherwise have missed.
It minimizes political risk. A formal vendor assessment process will give you clear evidence that the vendor selection was objective, and wasn't based on individual whims or prejudices, or on factors not directly related to the project.
It may save money. The vendors' responses can help you identify more-effective and less-expensive solutions—assuming the vendors don't offer exactly the same solution.
It reduces uncertainty of delivery. The vendors' proposals, plus any proofs-of-concept you execute, will help reduce the uncertainty about whether or not a vendor can truly deliver.
It identifies organizational differences. The more time you spend working with vendors, the better you'll understand their organizational styles and approaches, and the better prepared you'll be to manage the differences. Having good vendor partnerships will take you a long way toward building a successful solution.
Our Vendor Assessment Checklist can help you identify critical points of compatibility with potential vendors based on several different factors. It may also be helpful to review our RFP templates for examples of vendor selection at varying levels of complexity.