In selecting a vendor from whom you’re going to purchase your company’s video conferencing system, you’re not simply buying a product. You should look to establish a relationship with the vendor. After all, you’re going to be running the system you purchase from them for a minimum of three years. Therefore, you need to make sure that you go through a proven process in selecting the vendor.
Having a checklist to work off of for each vendor simplifies the process yet yields maximum results. You can customize a list of criteria that you can go through for each vendor. Then, you’ll go through and assign a grade to each line item for each vendor. The vendor that grades out the best is usually the one you’ll want to go with. This might sound like an oversimplification of things, but it is a process that has been used to great effect in many companies.
So, what are some items you should have on your selection checklist? Let’s discuss a few of them here.
1. Price. Yes, you’ll want to grade each vendor out on price. Do their numbers fit your budget? Are they in line with what other vendors are charging? Don’t let price be your overall determining factor, as other factors will come into play as well.
2. References. Get references from any vendor you are considering. Talk to the references, and learn about their experiences dealing with the vendor.
3. Other customers. References have been handpicked by the vendor to supply a good reference. Check press releases on the company’s web site to find a customer who made a purchase about 6 months out. Contact them and ask them about their experiences.
4. Company stability / Market share. You don’t want to go with a vendor who will go out of business in the not too distant future. Check the vendor’s stability, as well as what share of the market they hold.
5. Service and maintenance. Are these included in your quoted package, or will you have to pay extra? Make sure you know this before signing on the dotted line.
6. Training. Is any training included, or will there be additional costs for that?
7. Intangibles. Has the vendor made you feel important? Is the vendor working for your business? Don’t under-estimate this.
These are some key points you can put onto your selection list. Customize your list by adding criteria of your own. The more comprehensive your list, the better your choice will be.