A demonstration script is critical to the selection process but there are huge differences on how to do this. Rather than criticize the techniques we have read, I will share our methodology with you:
- Two demonstrations – You don’t want to go too deep on the first demonstration unless you are positive that the vendor will not waste your time (or their time)
- 1st demonstration – We base it on a small subset of the most important requirements in the RFP and limit the time to about 3 hours. We allocate a certain amount of time to each requirement and then total the amount of time for each section. We provide an agenda that includes the agenda time for each section as well as the scripted time and try to leave a buffer in certain sections. There are usually 4 vendors invited for this demonstration.
- 2nd demonstration – We base it on the AS-IS business process and include sample documents. We ask the vendors to prepare a prototype of the suggested TO-BE business process and to include a certain number of the requirements from the RFP. We are evaluating vendors not just on the strengths of the system but also on their ability to improve business process. There are usually 2 vendors invited for this demonstration which often lasts for a day for each vendor.
- Access to clients – The vendors have access to our clients before each of the demonstrations. We want them to have every opportunity to do a great demonstration.
- Evaluations – Our clients are asked to note the major strengths, weaknesses and follow-up items by section as well as scoring each section. We do a detailed evaluation which includes notes on each requirement demonstrated as well as an assessment whether it is a strength or a weakness.
Our process is always evolving based on the feedback we get. Recent changes include:
- Reducing the number of requirements
- Using Survey Monkey for the evaluations done by our client
- Adding more buffer time so vendors can make the presentation flow better and let them show off some of the features in the system that may not be included in the script but which they believe are very useful