How to write good RFPs and RFIs

Alan Pelz-Sharpe has written a nice article on how to write better RFIs. It’s a good article and I wish I could send the link to all our clients :). Alan gives good advice on best practices for writing better RFIs. In one of the sections, he explains “How Not to Build a Shortlist” of vendors. I’d like to add one more point to that list. A lot of vendors take the help of SIs to draft the RFP (or an RFI) and then that particular SI is automatically on the shortlist. I don’t think that’s a very smart idea.

Also, customers should very clearly mention things like “No answer should be larger than 10 lines” or the “total size of the response should not be more than 10 pages”.

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Creating XLS and Docs on the Web

Biggies like Microsoft and Google are fighting each other to take leadership in providing services on the web. There are news that Google will provide Office like features along with SUN using Sun’s office suite. Microsoft is also launching similar services thru windows live. However, there are quite a few smaller players out there who are providing similar services. Users can create documents and excel sheets, share them with others and collaborate.
Here’s an example of excel sheet that I created using the service at Num Sum.

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Open Source as a bridge between commercial products

I’ve come across this scenario multiple times. A company C1 merges with another company C2. C1’s corporate standard is CMS1 and C2’s is CMS2. Because of the merger, C1 has to eventually move its systems to CMS2. However, during the transition phase, which could be as long as 18 to 24 months, it is very expensive for them to maintain CMS1.

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World Usability Day

November 3 is World Usability Day. Portal and Content Management products are not known for being user friendly. However, I think more and more companies have begun to understand the benefits of usabilty and user centric design practices. We’ve also recently started a group to spread awareness about usability and to institutionalize good usability practices … Read more World Usability Day

Sun adds Content Management to its Portal

Most portal products bundle some kind of basic content management functionality. IBM and BEA have portlets for this, while MS’s SPS also has good document management capabilities. Even open source products like Liferay and JBoss have incorporated this in some way. Sun did not have anything to offer for content management. However, Sun and Fatwire … Read more Sun adds Content Management to its Portal

Emergence of Collaborative Portals

I’ve blogged before about portal products becoming commoditized. Another trend in the PCM space is emergence of collaborative Portals. Many portal and ECM products have started offering collaboration features. IBM’s Quickplace, Documentum’s eRoom and Interwoven’s WorkSite added collaboration to the base offerings. Now BEA has acquired Plumtree, which was known for its collaborative features. Oracle … Read more Emergence of Collaborative Portals

Blogging and Content Management

Can Blogging applications be categorized as Content Management Systems? I think there is a very thin line dividing the two. ECM suites are so expensive that Gartner created a new category called “Basic Content Services” to refer to content management offerings that provide very basic features at low costs to a large number of people. … Read more Blogging and Content Management

Google a step closer to taking over the Internet

I had written earlier about the possibility of a Google Instant Messenger. Google Talk was recently announced. It’s got a simple interface with a small footprint (900 K). However, unlike Yahoo’s IM, it’s strength seems to be voice chat. But then, it is in beta and you never know what course they decide to take. … Read more Google a step closer to taking over the Internet