An ABC of RFPs and selecting and procuring media software vendors
Running a vendor selection process is not a ‘business as usual’ activity for most companies so we bring experience and best practices to guide them.

The comment from a vendor on which we base many of our methodologies was how they like to ‘wilfully misunderstand the question’ in poorly written RFPs where vague or broad questions allow them to answer the question that will paint them in the best light rather than the point the client was probably trying to make. Our previous experience as clients and vendors in the media industry gives us the unique insight we need to ensure our vendor selection processes are as watertight as possible.

Our disciplined methodology ensures a level playing field on which clients always retain control in a market where many vendors seek to circumvent the formal process from the more subtle, ‘we know you’ve sent a demo agenda but we thought we’d show what we think you want to see’ sales pitch to the less subtle ‘we only want to deal directly with the business stakeholders’ ultimatum.

Any vendor with a credible solution should have no issues with following a competitive process and attempts to do otherwise are designed to seek an unfair advantage or paper over the cracks that proper diligence will reveal. Some vendors have even been known to suggest that consultancies are biased towards other vendors and it is hard to argue with that when those consultancies feature on the websites of vendors as a ‘partner’ or ‘accredited implementation service provider’ and so we have politely declined those invitations. Our independence is of paramount importance to us and is further evidenced by the fact that in each of our areas of expertise we have not yet selected the same vendor more than once, we select only what is best for each individual customer.

When you’re starting a process and looking for a partner to help you we recommend you research their affiliations with some of the solutions you may be considering.

Once the ground rules are established and the vendors are engaged the focus should be on clear and unambivalent documentation. Our RFP documents are known for high volumes of questions but each question can be answered with a single response which actually takes less time for the vendors to complete than the open ended ‘describe…’ or ‘how do you…’ questions and which also provides a far clearer set of statistics on which decisions can be made.

This process has delivered repeated success with vendor selection engagements across all of our areas from selecting rights management solutions to sales solutions to broadcast scheduling and media asset management software. The outcome of our approach provides our customers with the evidence they need not only to make the most appropriate decision but also clearly identify the areas that need to be addressed during the subsequent implementation.

In upcoming case studies we will explore the process in greater detail and dive deeper into some examples of how vendor selection processes have been less successful and we have stepped in to address the issues that arose as a result of a less diligent process being adopted.