So first of all, budget definition is critical. It’s really important to get this agreed by the project sponsor and the board up front. What CAPEX is available for investing in the initial build and development of this website, because that can have a big impact on the platforms that you short list for review, because each of them has different levels of typical project size.
Then you also need to look at OPEX for ongoing support, maintenance, project enhancements. How much money is available for the first 12 months, then year two, three, four, et cetera. Look at the type of systems integration partner that you can work with based on their day rates. Are they only onshore and have high day rates in London, are they off-shore? Do they do blended models and, therefore, can you afford more time with them to do the enhancements that you want to?
Then you also need to look at any third party resource that you’ve got available. Does that come from a separate budget? Do you have subject matter experts like technical consultants, or existing agencies that can give you input to the project that don’t need to come out of the project budget, but can actually come out of existing marketing budgets?
Then you need to think about things like, do you need a separate cost line in the budget for things like a Discovery phase. It’s typical for projects to run a discovery session ahead of starting project build. This gives you the peace of mind that you explore business critical elements of the project in detailed workshops with a chosen partner to do an additional level of feasibility before you sign off your business requirements documents. That can typically cost anywhere from £5,000 to £30,000. So do you want to split that out as a specific cost element, and can you afford to do so?
Then also, you need to have a contingency. Projects can often overrun, so make sure you have at least a 10 to 15% contingency to cover off those eventualities. Then once budget is defined and ring fenced, you need to look at project scope. Are you going to approach this from an MVP point of view (minimum viable product), which means you define a core scope of requirements that have to be delivered for the project to go live, and then you have agile roll outs where you have subsequent phases and define what is the prioritization after MVP launch.
Have you have defined your business capabilities and things that are fundamentals for the business? For example, if you’re a omni channel seller, integration with stores, are there in-store digital capabilities that you need to replicate? Are you strong on mobile, do you run apps? All of these things where we fundamentally have to have these from day one, has to go into the scoping because the scope will start to help how you narrow down your platform selection.
Then it’s also what new capabilities are needed. Are there things coming up in the business strategy that have to be enabled by ecommerce that you can’t currently do? Therefore, you have to plan those into your scope and think about the platforms, and how they align. So really important to define budget and scope before you start going forward and go into market.
Thanks very much for listening.