When you find yourself needing to make an investment in either hardware, software, or other operational services, you may quickly realize that there are multiple vendors that claim they can solve your problems. With each vendor claiming they have a better solution than the last, it can be tedious and often difficult to figure out which one is really the best fit. So, how can you make sure you are choosing the right one? Introducing: The vendor capability matrix.
What is a Vendor Capability Matrix?
A Vendor Capability Matrix outlines the requirements deemed essential in evaluating a technology vendor. This exercise enables you to contrast and compare the things that matter most to you and your project. As a result, you gain useful insight into which vendor is capable of addressing your most critical requirements to complete your project. Whether you are a team of one, or a global enterprise, this approach can work for you.
How does it work?
First off, it is important to state that each vendor taking part in your Request for Information (RFI), Proof of Concept (POC), or Request for Proposal (RFP) is not aware of the other vendors in the running. This blind approach ensures that each vendor does not position themselves with an unfair advantage over the others as this would skew the results of the matrix.
Each business requirement within the Vendor Capability Matrix is graded and asks that the vendor define their approach and method. The vendor is then asked to self-grade, but the business evaluates their scores before completing a scorecard.
Vendor Capability Matrices can have a wide array of functional areas or domains of expertise to be considered, but here are some samples to get you started.
- General Requirements
- Configuration and Customization
- User Experience or User Interfaces
- Business Intelligence & Reporting Management
- Core Functionality
- Automation and Workflows
- Integrations with existing systems
- Security & System Auditing
- Provisioning & Administration
- Support and Service Level Agreements
- Language, Globalization and Data Input
- Master Data Management (MDM)
- Mobile access and Single Sign On
- Federated Data Access (FDA)
Vendor Assessments should consider how the vendor will answer critical questions across important attributes that help the business make a sound decision. To learn more about Vendor Assessments, make sure to read more about them here Vendor Assessments – data-driven analysis and due diligence to minimize risk. The following are some examples of areas of questioning one can be expected to ask vendors:
- Business Generalities
- Information Security
- Data Security
- Data Governance & Privacy
- Operations & SLAs
- Customer Support
- Compliance & Auditing
We encourage our customers to consider all possibilities when developing these assessments before vendor negotiations or vendor choice selection. These assessments can help uncover potential limitations or risk profiles that may not be caught in the RFI/RFP process. Having a thorough vendor evaluation methodology can be time-consuming, but it’s essential.
Contact Us at StrataNorth
Are you having a hard time getting started? Let us help you. We have over twenty years of experience helping businesses, both large and small, with vendor evaluation and managing sourcing processes. Our tools and IT sourcing expertise serve our customers to ensure that any future endeavor with a new vendor is meticulously vetted. StrataNorth is an IT Advisory Consultancy. We help businesses of all sizes adopt the right technology to help them grow, work smarter and deliver the best customer experience. Our consultants have decades of experience in the industry. We are cost-competitive and fiercely independent in our analysis.