16 January 2009 09:51am
I work for a niche IT distributor (turnover of c. £50m in 2008) and we're currently reviewing the
out-sourcing costs for our website; as such I would welcome enquiries from
companies with a proven track record in significant web development projects.
These areas are of experience are of particular importance:
1) Handover of a website, web services, integration and hosting from another
agency. You'll be able to work with our existing website and develop it
2) SAP integration
3) Creativity / Thoroughness - You're websites will be beautiful, user friendly and you'll be
thinking about our problems and challenges holistically.
4) You'll be able to provide superb examples of your work - fully featured,
goal orientated ecommerce solutions.
5) Experience with a distributor / trade only supplier will be an advantage -
what does a professional buyer want from a website (that perhaps differs from a
Beyond Ecommerce - We use web pages and web services for some internal
uses such as price lists, market analyses and competitor comparisons.
clarify, we already have a decent website, created by another agency
over a period of 18 months or so. We're potentially looking for a
company to manage this for us (find and fix bugs, add tweaks, develop
existing features, improve our design), manage the handover from this
agency and take responsibility for keeping disruption to a minimum,
host the site, manage our website / SAP connectivity and provide
appropriate cover and support for crashes.
As well as speaking to our existing
provider, one other local firm with a strong track record who I've
contacted, I will pick 2 companies to come and pitch at our head office.
main goal is to get better value for money - we currently pay £80ph as
a guide, from a well established, experienced company. On the whole
they have delivered well for us, this is a periodic review of costs,
but I am fully prepared go through the pain of removing the incumbant
if I'm convinced it will be the right move for us in the long term.
will fill in the rest, including who we are, upon receipt of an email
enquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org;
please get back to me by Tuesday 20th January with your company
overview, a few details on relevant experience related to the above
points and some links to shining examples of you finest work regardless
of industry, and links to any work that might be relevant to our
CEO at SciVisum.co.uk
23 January 2009 19:52pm
Hi, I wonder why nobody commented to your request?
I see a lot of companies who change ecommerce supplier/developer. Inhouse to out-source: outsource from supplier A to B.
(I'm not an eComm supplire/developer by the way)
Sometimes it's a case of from the frying pan and into the fire!
Sometimes it achieves it's objectives.
Without knowing any more than you've written above, I'd stick my neck out, and guess that your's will be the former.
Nothing personal, and for the sake of anyone who gets to read this far down the thread... let's explore that slightly critica possibility.
Reason being, you rightly want better value for money, but seem to be measuring that as the hourly rate.
That's not a great measure of ROI - and not one you can take to the board and get sign off. A good guy might do more in one hour than another....
How about this as a better place to start:
Gather evidence on why you've needed all those hours in the past - specifically what % were for new features (hopefully with added ROI) versus ones that were really 'fixing problems': like 'making page X faster', 'making page Y more usable'.
Gather more evidence - how important is the split between the tasks you mention:
* 'find and fix bugs' - you'll need have 24/7 measurement of the user experience, in going through the multi-page user journeys that 'make the money: that'll mean probably at least 3 or 4 journeys: checkout: add-to-basket vuia search, add to basket via navigation, check my order etc. The 247 web user experience numbers will then show you whether you've got each journey down to 2% or 1 % or whatever loss due to slow downs and sporadic errors
* 'add tweaks' - review the last 3 or 5 tweaks you've done: did the pay for themselves, did you have good evidence in advance that they were more important than other tweaks.
existing features' -ditto. Did these ideas come from seeing other eComm products in use out there? Maybe those eComm products would be a basis for a new platform; why go bespoke if there's a 'good enough' OOTB product out there? Have you looked at the opensource eComm platforms: how cose to covering 100% of your needs are they?
* 'improve our design' - this is a different skill set again: usability, plus some marketing/merchandising. The latter will be unique to your sector. have you ahd someone do a benchmark with your competitors?
* 'manage the handover from this
agency and take responsibility for keeping disruption to a minimum' - well if you decided not to move, that would save a stack of disruption... calculate the actual £ effect of this disruption: best case, and worst case.
* 'host the site' - different skill again: but some designers make good hosters
* 'manage our website / SAP connectivity' - different skill. How much SAP overlap is there... if the current site already has this integration done...can you re-use that knowledge/code..
appropriate cover and support for crashes' - hopefully you dont have any crashes right now, losing your whole website is pretty poor in 2009 - it's not uncommon for a site to lose it's'CheckOut function for an hour: but that's really bad... But if you do, how often, how long?
It's a tall order, when those are all spelt out, as to the range of skills, tasks to cover.
Making sure that a new supplier is better at *all* those than your current, is not going to be easy: your current guys may feel 'really bad' right now, whereas new suppliers are always so convincing with smooth mktg talk.... but once it's down to implementation.... a different story!
It's easy to end up being trapped, supplier says 'it'll cost £X to do what you want, we did mention in the pre-sales proposal that it would be wise to include XYZ but at the time you decided to save the money and chose not to..'
Looking forward, you've 3 choices:
* stay where you aware: fix the known issues, bring stability and the hourly-rate will matter less as you need less each month
* move to a whole new platform - bespoke - with a new supplier -maximum risk... maybe your costs to date are due to your whacky SAP set-up, which will be equally hard on the new supplier
* move to an OOTB product, that only requires a little bit of cost to customise, but won't need bug-fixes, tweaks etc. But may be less flexible (unless you go open source, where you can always make the code do exactly what you want by hiring the right coder).
In summary - some more hard evidence is needed to decide which of the 3 best fits your status.
And perhaps the most useful is to measure the 'what's happening now' for the next couple of months: 24/7 user journey experience: cost of supplier vs ROI received over the period.
Phew.... that's as long as a white paper and half as interesting...
27 January 2009 16:34pm
I don't disagree with your reply.
Changing supplier would be a nightmare for us, it really would. I have worked both client and agency side so I know this well, but sometimes you just have to review what your doing and see if you can get any better - my post was a (very) general "come and get us" to see how we might improve what we're doing, within our budget. Many details to be confirmed...
As fair as it goes, my post has achieved its objective:Our imcumbent has offered a deal where we guarentee our web budget for the whole year and get a 20% increase in development time on 2008.I've received a number of mails and made contact with some very high quality companies - this gives us options and, if nothing else, negotiation points with our incumbant.
Anyway thanks for your reply, there are some good things to look at.
PS - The random linked request is from me!
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