RPE Solutions

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Package Selection

Successful Retail Software Package Selection to Meet Today and Tomorrow’s Needs

Retail software Package Selection services allow you to choose the solution that meets the unique needs of your business, your customers and your team. It is one of the most important projects a retailer can initiate. The decisions will impact the business for years to come. RPE engages with you during each stop of the process working to help prepare the RFI and RFP, review proposals, attend demos and narrow down and select the best vendor and solutions.

All too often, the retail software package chosen at the end of the selection process is not the best solution for the retailer’s needs. Sometimes the ideal solution never makes the initial vendor list. Whatever the case, the process failed to select the software most appropriate to address the retailer’s needs. This often reduces the bottom-line benefit potential.

Steps to Retail Software Package Selection

Partnering with an independent consultant for retail software Package Selection brings several benefits to the process. External consultants can focus exclusively on the effort and are not taxed with juggling other job responsibilities. They also bring experience in the selection process. It is important to choose a consulting firm with specific knowledge of your industry and the potential vendor set. Having an external partner to lead the effort provides a neutral viewpoint. This is extremely useful when mediating between internal opinions.

We recommend following these steps:

  • Seek professional assistance
  • Define objectives and requirements
  • Identify the vendor list
  • Evaluate through a Request for Information (RFI)
  • Narrow the selection with a Request for Proposal (RFP)
  • Trust but verify vendor responses
  • Plan for the future
  • Use the best negotiator
  • Make a balanced decision
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor

Package Selection Services

Defining the strategic goals and objectives is the first step in the Package Selection process. RPE starts with high-level questions to clarify the initial need such as what problems need to be solved and why you feel new software is necessary. The next step is to conduct a Business Process Analysis (BPA) for the functions to be supported by the new software. We interview key personnel, the user community and IT team as well as senior executive for input. A formal document prioritizes the requirements to assist in the decision final selection process.

RPE will prepare and use the RFI to narrow down the list of potential vendors to a concise list that receives a more detailed review. We will score each response on the RFI with how well the vendor meets the requirement listed. Using predetermined question weighting to combine responses into an overall score, we can narrow down the list. We keep the short list to two to four vendors when possible. The goal is to weed out vendors who do not meet the needs listed in the RFI.

The vendor short list will then receive the RFP. RPE then develops a comprehensive questionnaire that covers all aspects of the proposed software solution. Standard questions include vendor experience, product information and features, product and platform requirements, integration requirements, functional and technical support processes, implementation services and training. The RFP should include pricing as well as license fee, maintenance and upgrades.

RPE invites the vendor finalists to conduct a software demo that illustrates functionality listed in the RFP with a focus on high priority requirements. In addition to confirming functionality through the live demo process (PowerPoint slides and screen shots do not qualify), RPE will check references. We evaluate factors such as vendor stability, planned enhancements and support procedures and the ability to grow with you. Also, we request examples of how past version upgrades were managed and how the vendor feels about custom code.

Finding a software solution and accompanying hardware that meets the needs of today’s challenges is great, but finding a solution and vendor partner that will meet your needs today and into the future is the goal. When it is time to discuss pricing with the top one or two vendors, we use our best negotiator. Now that RFP responses have been collected, demos completed, references checked and pricing details confirmed, the team moves forward with implementation and benefit realization.