Paving the path to the next generation data center with technology led solutions, SANpulse Technologies, Inc., recently announced a 10-point checklist every enterprise should incorporate into their decision making process when considering vendors for a technology refresh or data center consolidation. With technology refreshes accelerating in 2011 and enterprise storage upgrades a major component of these initiatives, it is critical that these operations be planned and executed properly by selecting the appropriate partners, technologies and production-proven processes in accordance with business requirements.
Central to the success of any storage migration project is an operationally relevant Request for Proposal (RFP). Most importantly, an RFP written correctly is a tool that can be used to thoroughly evaluate potential partners, eventually settling on the vendor that will bring the right levels of expertise, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness to the project. And, from a vendor perspective, it provides a detailed view of the project to make it possible to deliver accurate project proposals and pricing estimates. A well-constructed RFP is a critical planning tool because it lays out important details of the project, providing the enterprise and its eventual partner(s) with a blueprint to reference through the various stages of project planning and execution.
"Vendors know that, whatever it says in the RFP is what they've got to do. So there's a set of rules that have to be followed and a set of documents that have to be addressed. That means that the vendors have to follow exactly what the documents ask of them, both in the proposal process and the project itself. If they don't follow the rules they're disqualified from the start," notes Michael Asner, consultant and author of Request for Proposal Handbook.
This slideshow features 10 steps that will lead to the perfect RFP for any organization's enterprise storage migration process, as identified by SANpulse Technologies, Inc.
Click through for 10 steps that will lead to the perfect RFP for any organization's enterprise storage migration process, as identified by SANpulse Technologies, Inc.
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 potential vendors for the information that will paint the clearest possible picture of their capabilities. Information will be needed on:
- Quality assurance
- Workflow plan
- Project management
- Detailed cost estimate
- Recommendations for project improvement
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.
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.
Vendors need ample time (weeks, not days) to formulate accurate and comprehensive responses to an RFP request.
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.
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.
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.
Once two or three contenders have been identified, ask each to demonstrate product quality and expertise through a test-run — a mini-migration process.
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.