Technology Evaluation Centers (TEC) has been working on a very large software selection project for an electric utility. We only take on a few specific projects a year (though lots of people/companies use our analysis tools and data for their software selection projects). After our team mapped the utility’s business processes, quite diligently, to 6654 ERP/SCM/BI and specific utility criteria (like billing systems, asset management, electricity generation, and fleet management), we finalized an RFI. So now, I’ve been busy the last few days qualifying and corresponding with companies that want to participate in RFI response process.
This is an exciting step because all the work everyone put into determining and designing the RFI criteria is finalized so there is a “tangible” accomplishment complete. Although we regularly send our standard RFIs to various companies for the research areas we cover, when we embark on custom projects like this we amass a lot of new information very quickly. It always amazes me, the variety of companies from countries around the world that take an interest in a call for an RFI. Often times we discover successful software companies that simply don’t turn up in regular (North American) IT publications. I end up talking with a lot of people about the RFI. It’s not always a good fit for their products but then it turns out such companies sometimes fit nicely with other projects. My point is, I like the discovery process.
The next big step will take place in a month when we receive the responses to the RFIs. That’s when it really starts to get interesting because we import the data to our evaluation system and start analyzing the different vendors support capabilities.