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- Map out your existing infrastructure, detailing servers, OSs, applications, amount of storage, physical location etc.
- Itemise your aims for the project. These could include: improved performance; centralisation; supportability; reliability; reduced cost, and; disaster recovery. For example, improved data access performance may not be an issue, but providing improved reliability may be.
- Identify your budget and if necessary generate a board proposal for sign-off on the project.
- Do some research on potential suppliers.
- Contact sales teams of five prospects and ask them to submit a proposal based on your criteria. Use vendor sales resources well – they'll do a lot of leg work for you.
- Never accept the first or second quotes.
- Try and find out when the potential suppliers year-ends occur. You'll find they are much sharper with the price at quarter end/year end.
- Consider setting performance criteria on your purchase with a sale or return clause in the contract.
- Get suppliers to put you in touch with similar-sized organisations using the same kit, especially if you use bespoke software.
This was first published in December 2009