Your organization has decided it’s time for a new eProcurement system or a full procure-to-pay solution. Before sending a request for proposal (RFP), you must comb through the never-ending list of vendor choices.
It takes a great amount of time, effort, and due diligence to trim your list of vendors down to the six or eight top contenders. But don’t worry; there are resources to guide you. Knowing how to navigate through the landscape of vendors can jumpstart the process and lead you down a more informed, strategic path.
The road to a new solution is long. To help speed up the journey, we’ve outlined three tips for vendor identification.
1. Follow thought leaders.
The procurement industry is full of thought leaders, bloggers, and experts with knowledge on platforms, trends, evolving business needs, and market specific experience.
Trade publications and well-known industry blogs are good resources for expert articles. Thought leaders with impressive resumes and extensive experience can offer a unique perspective on many solutions. Remember, always make sure the sources are credible.
If you aren’t sure where to find thought leaders, conferences are a great place to find them! More on that later...
2. Consult peer organizations.
When trying to identify vendors for the RFP process, keep your friends close and your competition closer. Why? Because they make great resources.
Peers and competitors can provide first-hand, unbiased feedback that includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. We all know that software sales hype and reality are very different. Oftentimes peer organizations can help you to avoid vendors who are ‘all hat, no cattle.’ Silicon Valley has certainly spawned lots of these!
Remember, the needs, technology, and expectations of solutions may vary among your peers and competitors. It’s important to understand and prioritize your own organizational goals and vision first.
3. Attend conferences.
There are a number of vendor and non-vendor specific procurement conferences throughout the year that offer opportunities to learn about solutions and network with procurement professionals.
In one day, you can spend one-on-one time with a number of vendors, view demos, chat with and compare experiences with peers, attend presentations, and leave with a better sense of vendor functionality and culture.
Always review the conference agenda in advance and schedule meetings with speakers or attendees that can help you with your upcoming initiative. The welcome reception and roundtable discussions are perfect forums to ask questions about your new search for an eProcurement solution.
So, do your own research, follow thought leaders, seek out real case studies, and network within your industry. Once you have a suitable list of vendors, you’re ready for the next step: RFPs. Good luck!
Ready to start your journey now?