Technology: How to Assess Catalog Systems
- Investigate systems options. Now that you’re properly prepared, you’re ready to start looking at systems and determine which vendors should get the RFP. An initial list of six to eight contenders is a good number to whom to send the RFP. Allow about four weeks to get back formal responses.
- Evaluate responses. The RFP helps keep vendors honest (some vendors will be more optimistic than others). Once you have the formal responses, develop a quantitative method to score them based on the stated ability of the vendor to meet your needs as is, or with modifications, and on factors such as system cost or ability to meet your time frame.
- Review trade-offs. There probably won’t be one ideal candidate. Price and features alone won’t tell the whole story. Take into account the full measure of the relationship to assure that you can live with your betrothed long after the honeymoon is over.
Ernie Schell is the author of “The Guide to Catalog Management Software” and president of Southampton, PA-based Marketing Systems Analysis, which helps catalogers specify and select order-processing software. Contact him at (215) 396-0660, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.