RFI as rich asset

  • 17-Nov-2009

I was talking with one of our Web CMS Report subscribers today, someone who is leading a state government's effort to modernize its WCM system. The question arose as to how to keep vendors from giving softball answers to hardball questions when submitting a Request for Information. I proposed a simple expedient: Require screenshots.

If a product supports a certain type of functionality via a graphical user interface, the vendor should have no qualms about showing the UI in question, doing the operation in question. It's one thing to be told "Yes, our admin interface supports restricting a user's right to Copy or Move a file" (for example), but a picture, as they say, is worth a thousand workarounds.

What about when the vendor comes back with "This functionality is easily implemented via changes to a configuration file" (or via an API call)? Very well: In that case, let's see the relevant XML fragment (or code snippet) with the changes highlighted. Demand to see the relevant lines of code. Is that so much to ask?

Hey, the worst that could happen is that the vendor will skip past a few of your harder questions -- or complain that your RFI process is just too burdensome. In which case, you've already learned a great deal indeed.

Our customers say...

"As high-end web consultants, we use a variety of research tools to keep on top of the evolving technology platforms. Among these, Real Story Group is by far the best--a sort of bible for our CMS consulting practice. We've used The Web CMS Research both to get a jump on understanding products in advance of a formal CMS selection, as well as to start the conversation about potential partnerships. It's also great when a client asks you about an obscure product -- and you can get back to them within an hour with a grounded, thoughtful appraisal of the product, knowing that the information is accurate and written by analysts with real perspective."

John Berndt, President and CEO, The Berndt Group, Ltd.

Other Web Content & Experience Management posts

What to Make of WordPress DXP

  • October 26, 2017

Digital Experience Platform is a sexy term now, but in the case of WordPress, what does it really mean?...

There is no such thing as a DXP

  • October 5, 2017

I don't know any enterprise customer that wants — or believes it remotely possible — to obtain all those services from a single vendor. No, this is a vendor fantasy, getting peddled by analyst shills....