Hardware and Software Selection

There is a bewildering array of IT hardware, software, and services available to businesses today. But line-of-business managers typically don’t have the background, the time, or the inclination to educate themselves on all the features, pros and cons of alternative solutions to their business problems.

In fact, too often, the way that new technology comes into an organization is like this:

  • Somebody goes to a trade show
  • A vendor gloms onto them and, of course, has the answer to all their problems
  • The vendor pitches to an ad hoc procurement team, which vows to research alternatives and perhaps even issue a Request For Proposal (RFP)
  • Due to the press of business, the process is short-circuited and the decision comes down to “Can we afford what the vendor is selling?” rather than “Is this the right solution of the many alternatives we’ve researched?”
  • The purchase is made and never evaluated to see if it a) solved the problem and b) delivered true ROI

It doesn’t have to be that way for your business. StratVantage can assist at any stage of your procurement process, from developing business requirements, to creating and managing RFPs, to evaluating and managing vendors.

StratVantage can help

StratVantage’s resources are knowledgeable in a broad array of hardware and software systems, but more important, they have the depth of experience to know how to match the business need with the proposed solution and to determine the accuracy of vendor claims.

Here are typical hardware and software selection criteria statements:

Hardware Selection Criteria

  • Hardware must support current software as well as software planned for procurement over the next planning interval [year, 18 months, three years]
  • Hardware must be compatible with existing or planned networks
  • Hardware must be upgradeable and expandable to meet the needs of the next planning interval
  • Hardware warranties must be of an appropriate length
  • Hardware maintenance must be performed by [local/remote vendor, in-house personnel]
  • Whenever feasible, hardware standards will dictate procurement of like brands and configurations to simplify installation and support
  • Routine assessments of installed infrastructure will feed an upgrade/replace decision process

Software Selection Criteria

  • Software must be compatible with current and future hardware over the next planning interval
  • Software maintenance and warranties must be of appropriate length and cost
  • Software help desk must be maintained by [vendor, third party, in-house personnel]
  • Software must be standardized throughout the business to improve purchasing power, simplify training, and facilitate support
  • Software must comply with current standards set by technology leadership
  • Software must support and enhance business goals

In addition to these hardware and software selection criteria, StratVantage will evaluate the proposed vendors on several criteria, including:

Stability — Vendor’s attributes such as length of operations, size of customer base, size of income and revenue, company size, leadership, stock history and more can affect a technology purchasing decision

Proven Track Record — A vendor’s experience not only in the broader market but in your business’ specific industry can be key

Business Model Fit — If the vendor is offering, for example, software as a service, but your business isn’t always Internet-connected, this business model mismatch could rule out the vendor

Mature Technology — You want to see continuity in the vendor’s offerings. If the vendor has been through a series of acquisitions and is just now integrating new technology with an old line of business, you may want to obtain assurances on the longevity of the vendor’s solution.

Service Level Agreements — Unfortunately, most vendor Service Level Agreements (SLAs) aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. We’ll help you understand the vendor’s SLA and negotiate a service level partnership instead.

We’ve worked with companies of all sizes, from the Fortune 15 to startups. Our hardware and software selection resources stand ready to help your company whenever and wherever you want them. Contact us today to see how your company can master technology and turn it into a competitive advantage.

Helping Successful Companies Make Winning Technology Decisions™