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10-point RFP checklist for enterprises planning storage technology refresh initiatives

SANpulse Technologies, Inc., has published a checklist to help companies considering vendors for a technology refresh or data center consolidation:

10-Point Storage Migration RFP checklist

* Configure the right RFP team. The RFP should be a multi-faceted document incorporating technical, logistical, workflow and financial issues. So be sure the project technical leader is joined by the right business, financial and quality control experts, along with an experienced RFP writer, who may be a consultant.

* Ask the right questions. Ask potential vendors for the information that will paint the clearest possible picture of their capabilities.

Information will be needed on:
- Capabilities
- Capacity
- Quality assurance
- Workflow plan
- Project management
- Detailed cost estimate
- References
- Recommendations for project improvement

* Provide instructions for formatting responses, including sample text. This streamlines the proposal process for vendors and the evaluation process for the technology refresh team. In the document include a response structure and lay out the amount of information expected in a given area.

* Choose the right potential partners. By choosing a list of data migration experts as recipients of the RFP, one can ensure from the outset that the organization will be partnering with the most experienced professionals.

* Build in enough response time. Vendors need ample time (weeks, not days) to formulate accurate and comprehensive responses to an RFP request.

* Use uniform evaluation criteria. Be sure to compare apples to apples. This begins by requiring the same data, in the same units of measure, from all potential vendors. (For example, ask for pricing per project stage or per hour.) Then, provide a project evaluation checklist for the team that will oversee the migration.

* Be available to answer questions. Prospective partners will probably have questions about the RFP and evaluation. Appoint someone to field those questions and include their contact information in the RFP.

* Narrow the field. Institute an evaluation process—usually two or three steps—for zeroing in on the best candidate. The process should lead to a list of two or three top candidates.

* Build in a testing stage. Once two or three contenders have been identified, ask each to demonstrate product quality and expertise through a test-run—a mini-migration process.

* Communicate with all respondents about your decision. It is important to retain a solid relationship with all potential partners. While a company may not have been right for this project, they could have just the skills you need for the next.

www.SANpulse.com

•Date: 5th April 2011 • Region: World •Type: Article •Topic: IT continuity

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