Rather than devote a large number of staff to the RFP/eval process, Guardian Life Insurance decided to utilize a third party. The company brought in GlassHouse.
"We wanted a professional firm with experience that would be vendor agnostic as we had no time to manage the RFP process," said Bob Mathers, vice president of IT operations at Guardian. "We knew we needed a third party as internal expertise was limited, resources were required elsewhere and we realized the time needed would be reduced by bringing in outside help."
The company also felt that a third party would help to keep the focus on their own needs as opposed to being influenced by marketing hype, end of quarter deals and bidding wars before they had determined the right solution.
Here are some of the key elements implemented:
1. Guardian created a team that included management, technical and operational staff from its Technology Operations Division to interface with GlassHouse.
2. They laid out three distinct parts of the process — discovery, evaluation, and selection i.e. analyze the market to discover the likely candidates, evaluate those that most closely meet requirement and then select. This led to written RFP's being sent to EMC, Hitachi, IBM, STK and Sun.
3. Deliver regular progress reports to upper management.
Mathers recommends being honest with yourself when it comes to competently evaluating storage software. Do you actually have the time, expertise and resources to do the job internally? If not, farm it out to industry experts.
"Your message to senior management can be given more weight if it comes from a third party like GlassHouse," he said.