Preparing a brief for the provision of IT work and services should be among the first steps any SME takes when looking to invest in or upgrade existing technology. It’s good practice and will go a long way to avoiding misunderstandings, project and cost overruns, and delivering the type of beneficial long-term partnership that everyone craves.
However, it can also be time-consuming, so it’s vital that you consider some fundamentals before moving ahead, which includes placing yourself in the shoes of those tendering for your business. A good start might also involve sourcing some previously written briefs as best practice and to see how others have approached the task. Perhaps, you might even want to ask your business networks to share experiences and suggestions.
Consider the technical skills and competencies that will be required and clarify your budget. If possible, estimate the cost of delivering the work over the lifetime of the contract and whether or not the short-list of contractors will be resourced to deliver. Assess how the contract will affect your own workloads too, along with staffing and the ability to move forward while the new IT system is installed, commissioned and proof tested.
You may also need to consider how important those tendering for the work are to your business: do you want a partner who’s prepared for a long-term investment in you and your business. This will help you to see things from the provider’s side of the fence.