February 19th, 2020
The best approach when considering choosing a new web platform
19 Jan 2016 Dominic
At some stage as you drive your online sales and develop your web offering you will start to consider if the platform you are using is the correct one for your business and for your sales targets over the coming few years.
Whilst you may have started out on a simple woo commerce or open cart platform, you may find that over time both you and your customers experience frustration about it’s limitations.
As your online offering grows, you will want to start being more flexible in your approach to how you trade your website plus you will want to look at faster implementations, less costly development, better reporting and more integration with your back end.
My experience of inherited new platforms has not been positive – often what I have seen is a platform which has been chosen which is not at all suitable for both that businesses objectives or for where they are currently.
I suspect many of the reasons why companies seem to have incorrect or unsuitable platforms is because there is still an element of confusion perhaps over what each platform offers and what is best for your business – in addition to non-agnostic consultants playing it safe and recommending replatforms based on their own experience and not what the most suitable platform is for your business.
One approach I do like very much and I would recommend any medium sized business looks at is the employment of an independent platform agnostic consultancy such as practicology who will come in and over the course of a few months undertake a deep dive into your business to find out:
- What your medium to long term objectives are as a business
- Your current setup in terms of resource, structure, web integration to business
- Your Web P and L and how healthy this is in terms of current CAPEX web costs and proposed
- External factors influencing your profitability and your online operation
The 8 phases to consider when choosing a new platform
I have taken these 8 steps from Practicology themselves and would recommend if you are looking to re-platform they could definitely help – anyway taking these 8 steps over a few months should ultimately reward you as you come to the correct decision:
- Group workshops, smaller team meetings & 1-on-1 sessions to discover, challenge & define the detailed requirements.
- All aspects of the project are covered from front-end to back-end, integration &multichannel.
- Present Discover Phase requirements in detailed tracking-enabled spreadsheet.
- Produce document clearly setting out process and selection criteria.
- Integrate all elements for sign-off.
- Suggest and agree list of qualified Platforms.
- Send out RFP documentation, on receipt of signed NDA’s.
- Allow approx. four weeks for response to the RFP.
- Review all proposals.
- Initial scoring & cost evaluation.
- Eliminate the outliers (in terms of overall credibility)
- Typically half day with each supplier.
- A clear, time banded agenda, covering; creds, platform demo, project management.
- Ideally held at vendor’s location to get a broader sense of their operation.
- Minimum 1 full day (could be several days).
- ‘Sleeves rolled-up’ workshop(s) to review in detail the solution & what this means in terms of usability, workflow, integration & more.
- Reference calls & meetings with existing & previous clients.
- Any outstanding questions answered and, if relevant, solutions demonstrated.
- Quote validated & verified
- As a team, agree weightings against a dozen or more separate criteria and score the vendors against eachcriteria.
- Agree a preferred solution to take forward.
This approach should pay off in the long run as you have a platform which has been decided through a rigorous selection criteria based on company-wide objectives and with everyone bought into the process and agreed that Platform X is the most relevant for our company according to our medium to long term objectives.
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