Tuesday, January 15, 2008


RFPs, Implementation Scope and Costs

It’s been quite some time that I am into responding RPFs and RFIs in Portal and Content Management space and sometimes jump onto implementation for the solution that we have provided :-) .
This post highlights issues that project delivery faces when a customer hides the information of its existing software infrastructure during pre –engagement stage.

Most of the customers do not supply enough information while releasing RFP. (for a mid-large size project it might just be a 2-3 pages of “relevant” information).
Along with RFP comes predefined “timelines” and “scope” and as usual, time-bound response is expected from vendors. In any circumstance you are paid to respond and get business for your company. You are not left with a choice, but to provide a solution based on one or two liner requirements with no information or volume of development, enhancement or migration of software/applications. Apart from solution, you have to mend your effort and cost estimations and make then inline with what was proposed to you.

Also, you must have experienced a time gap between the day you get the project and the day your SOW is signed off. What happens in this time gap? Answer is simple. You end up including another set of high level tasks that were neither part of RFP nor you have heard in your pre-engagement calls(lucky if you get this more), which slightly(as of now) adds to what you have proposed.

Few weeks later you will come to know more about customer’s existing s/w infrastructure and you are told that apart from portal development there is/are CMS/DMS/Back Office application that needs to be migrated or enhanced to latest version. Not bad so far. You start analyzing, assume few things, give better estimates and go ahead. Bad happens, if the existing CMS /DMS/Back Office application doesn’t fit in to the portal product that you proposed (Remember: it’s not your fault). Service providers end up doing all tricks to make the integrations work and customer ends up paying huge $$$ to product support and consultancy. These commercials would have been easily eliminated if right information would have given at right time.

“Right information at right time” is what makes a better response, which not only provides a better solution (considering all underlying application, their integration, SSO etc) but also reduces cost (Trust me, Indian service based s/w companies charge far less than any Product base company for their support and consultancy excluding license and training costs))