Many organizations, particularly in the public sector, are mandated to use requests for proposals (RFP) to procure enterprise technology. A large percentage of our client base came to us via RFP. Most of us at CPS have also procured enterprise tech, so we’ve worked on both sides.
Recently, we purchased some marketing technology. It has spurred many conversations about our experience of the sales and rollout and how it compares to when our clients buy from us. One topic that kept coming up was reference checking. We (CPS) got together and put together a ( probably too long) list. We thought it would be helpful to provide the questions and some random thoughts on our website, so anyone looking to buy ECM could find and use them. So, there are three categories, stuff to google, types of references to ask for, and what questions to ask. Here goes:
What to Google
Check out the vendor partner’s website. Does it look professional? Do they detail specifics about their services? If they list clients, try googling their name plus Laserfiche; sometime, you’ll find interesting information in council agendas.
Look for any awards. Especially those that are client awarded—also, any recognition from the ISV that is based on Net Promoter Score. In short, NPS awards are based on in-depth client interviews with at least forty clients. This distinction is hard to get and quite meaningful.
Check out any industry and role-based listserv for a reputation-check
Feel free to ignore the top-sales type of awards; it just means they push more products, not that their clients are happy.
Google “Partner name sucks” (Yes, we are serious.)
Check out their G2 score. However, they are pretty biased, so don’t weigh them too heavily.
What types of references to request
Clients in different stages of maturity- If you ask for three cities in your population cohort, it probably won’t get you the information you need. It’s important to know that your prospective vendor can handle all the stages of ECM maturity. Request 3-4 references, one who has just stood up a system, one that’s still in the post-capture/ digital file cabinet, one who has enabled workflows and forms, and one, multi-departmental, with integrations with LOB systems or customizations.
Speak to staff with different roles- At a minimum, you want one IT Director and one records manager or clerk. In addition, it’s valuable to speak with a department head of a unit outside of those mentioned above, such as the head of accounting. And have the person with the role in your organization speak with the same person in the reference organization. They speak the same language and likely have the exact needs, so this intel is valuable.
Ask for a client who leans on the vendor partner services and one who does not. The same with training—one who used the standard offering and one with a version of VIP support.
What questions to ask
When something with Laserfiche stops working, what happens, and how long does it take to get a response from the vendor partner?
How were the rollout and implementation? What are their project management skills? Did they keep you in the loop to the degree you wanted? How are their communication skills?
Have they built workflows for you? Are they still being used and in place? What about forms? What customizations have they done for you, and are you happy with them? Have you enabled Laserfiche Mobile?
How complete was the integration? Did it work the way you expected?
Do any neighboring cities work with _____? (The idea is to find references that haven’t been formally presented.)
How long did it take to get up and running on the primary functions of the software?
Did you migrate from another ECM? How long did it take? What about a backfile conversion?
Have you seen an increase in efficiency? Are they what you expected?
Have you achieved your expected ROI?
What’s the best thing about your vendor partner? What’s the worst?
When implementing, did you incur any costs in addition to the price of the services or the solution?
Would you buy again from the same partner if you went to another organization?
How often are you used as a reference?
That’s all for now? As we think of more questions, we’ll update the post! Thanks for reading; I hope the questions are helpful!