40 non-feature questions to ask a potential intranet vendor

40 non-feature questions to ask a potential intranet vendor https://www.thoughtfarmer.com/app/uploads/2018/08/TF_ILL_Owls_small.png

When evaluating intranet vendors, it's easy to get influenced by a feature set. But there are many non-feature related questions that provide equally important information.

So you think you need an intranet, but you don’t know where to begin, what your requirements are, or which questions to ask to get the right information.

Or, perhaps you have been tasked with creating an intranet RFP, and you aren’t sure what to include.

If you have never been involved with this process before it can be stressful. No one wants to be responsible for making a poor vendor choice!

It’s easy to get influenced by a feature set, but there are many non-feature related questions that provide equally important information. Also, case studies, testimonials, and data sheets are all great resources, but they often fail to answer the questions that can make or break your intranet project.

Below are 40 non-feature questions to ask a potential intranet vendor, or to include in your intranet RFP:

Questions about the vendor’s company

Who you choose to do business with is as important as the product itself. This section provides sample questions intended to help you understand both the company and the people behind it.

  1. How many employees do you have?
  2. How long have you been in business?
  3. Have you ever won any awards?
  4. Is your company financially stable?
  5. How does your product help our company achieve our objectives?
  6. Does your company evolve to keep up with latest trends etc.?
  7. Does your company have experience with a business like ours and understand our needs?
  8. Do you have 2-3 references from companies in similar size and scope to us?
  9. What is your competitive advantage?

Questions about the onboarding/support

The level of support your users will have is tantamount to the success of your intranet. Also, if you are eager to move quickly, the timing could be a determining factor in selecting a vendor. Some products may require months of training and onboarding, so it’s important to understand any potential timelines before heading any further down the road.

  1. How much training will our employees require to be proficient users?
  2. Do you offer training? Is it offsite?
  3. About how long does it take a new team member to get up to speed with your software?
  4. How fast will customer support respond to an enquiry?
  5. What levels of support do you offer?
  6. Do you offer a dedicated account manager for onboarding?
  7. What will it take to get the most value out of your product?
  8. What is your current satisfaction rating (NPS Score)?
  9. What is your current retention rate?
  10. Do you offer professional services?
  11. Does your professional service team have experience with organizations our size?
  12. How long does a professional services engagement take? What activities are included?
  13. Can we tailor professional services to suit our needs?

Questions about security and hosting

Investing in security is like investing in the business itself. No matter how well you run it, it won’t matter if you can’t protect it. If questions relating to security feel beyond your comfort level, reach out to your IT team for help.

  1. Do you provide hosting, on-premise hosting, or both?
  2. What level of security does your software provide?
  3. If we host in the cloud, where will our data be stored?
  4. What protection techniques are used in your data center to protect our info?
  5. Does it integrate with Active Directory for SSO?
  6. Does it integrate with any SAML technologies?
  7. Does it integrate with ____ (fill in your integration)?
  8. What is your uptime guarantee?
  9. Are you able to provide notice for planned outages?
  10. What is your disaster recovery/business continuity strategy?
  11. Do you provide regular patch management?

Questions about pricing

Pricing is one of the most important components of any vendor selection process, but it isn’t black and white. These questions should help you get to the ‘why’ behind the pricing, as well as answer any potential questions your decision makers may have.

  1. What is the cost and what does it include?
  2. What is your pricing structure? Per user? TCO (total cost of ownership) over three years?
  3. Do you have tiered pricing? Are all features included?
  4. Do you provide a discount if we sign for multiple years?
  5. Do you offer a not for profit rate/education rate?
  6. What circumstances might make prices change, either now or in the future?
  7. How will our pricing change as our company grows?

Hopefully this has provided you with an understanding of how to proceed forward in building your intranet RFP. If you are ready to start building your business case for your preferred intranet vendor, we recommend checking out our white paper How to Build an Intranet Business Case.

Have questions? Get in touch! We're always happy to hear from you.

May 7, 2019

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