But it’s really important to do that extra level of due diligence on the preferred platform, because you want to iron out any inaccuracies or assumptions that you might have made during the process that don’t necessarily hold true. You want to make sure that the decision is robust enough before you commit to any contractual discussions and negotiations.
So the point of due diligence is to isolate the areas that are biggest risk to the business of selecting this platform. Every platform has its strengths and weaknesses. Nothing’s 100% perfect for any business. So, for example, if the platform hasn’t done an integration with your existing ERP, even though it has connectors and standard services for ERP integration, that would be a risk area that you would want to do extra due diligence on in order to reassure the operational, technical and ecommerce business stakeholders that actually this platform isn’t going to suddenly cause a massive process or cost risk later on.
So what we need to do is identify the areas of the platform that we thought were maybe lower rated than other platforms or areas we weren’t 100% convinced by. We turn that into a really focused brief to the vendor that says these are the scenarios that we are concerned by. We want you to come in and present to us how your product would achieve these different scenarios. What is out the box? What do you think needs to be configured? What would be custom development and enhancements to your core product to enable us to do exactly what our business needs?
Then you run this process with the vendor, where they come in and they do a focused demo, not just the sanitized, “Here’s our standard product,” but a really targeted product demo about how the platform would align with that business need, but also how you would do things in terms of like the admin tools that the platform provides in order to do the day to day things that your ecommerce team needs to do to achieve those business requirements.
You then get the vendor to provide any additional documentation. That documentation would be reviewed by your technical team. If you don’t have an expert ecommerce technical person, I would strongly recommend getting a technical consultant to support you on this part and do enough of an evaluation and feasibility analysis to be able to play back and say whether they think that this is achievable given your other systems, your budget, your timeframes et cetera.
The other thing that you should be doing is speaking to other clients on the platform. So, use your networks, find people that are using the platform, or get an introduction from the vendor. A vendor will naturally tip you towards somebody who’s positive towards them. If you don’t know anybody else in the industry who’s on the platform that you can speak to completely independently, then at least that’s a fall back option. But go and speak to people. Ask them what challenges they found, how easy they found the platform to adapt to their processes, to do things that you want to do, and then go online and do research. Review documentation that’s out there. Review technical reviews and look at the reviews of the platform. Get all of that information, bring it all together, and that will help you go to this extra level of due diligence on the platform that will hopefully give you the reassurance that the decision you made is still a valid one.
I hope that’s been useful in giving you ideas on how you can go to that one step deeper in your platform assessment.
Thanks for listening.