Networking and Hardware Blog

Planning a Storage Refresh? Try This 10-Point RFP Checklist

storage-SANpulse Technology refreshes are accelerating as the economy grows stronger, and enterprise storage upgrades are a major component of these initiatives. Obviously, it's essential that you plan and execute such operations 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 a strong Request for Proposal (RFP). Written correctly, an RFP written is a tool that you can use 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. For the vendor, 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.

SANpulse has come up with a helpful 10-point storage-migration RFP checklist that will lead to the perfect RFP for any organization.

  1. Configure the right RFP team. The RFP should be a multifaceted document incorporating technical, logistical, workflow, and financial issues. So ensure that 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.
  2. 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, and recommendations for project improvement.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Build in enough response time. Vendors need ample time (weeks, not days) to formulate accurate and comprehensive responses to an RFP request.
  6. Use uniform evaluation criteria. Be sure to compare apples with apples. Begin 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Communicate with all respondents about your decision. It's important to retain a solid relationship with all potential partners. Although a company might not have been right for this project, it could have just the skills you need for the next.

“Migration partner procurement goes beyond just buying goods and services,” said Marie Pierre Belanger, VP, project management, SANpulse Technologies. It provides the benefits of highlighting potential new models for service delivery, necessary licensing requirements for third-party data movers and other software required for the migration, and the establishment of the migration event milestones and payment schedule.”

For more information about SANpulse, visit the company website.

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