RFP Checklist | Collaboration software

When thinking about purchasing software to help employees work together, the key is to consider the type of collaboration that is to take place. Will people meet at the same time, or will the discussion be staggered across a longer time period? Will people communicate one-on-one or in larger groups? Will you need textual artifacts of the meeting? Here are some other factors to consider in choosing a collaboration suite:
  • What is the flexibility of underlying infrastructure and desktops. Can it run on multiple OSes and back-end systems connected to multiple directories? What kind of server operating system does it require?

  • Did it start out as a content management system or a communication system? What is its current emphasis?

  • Security'does it meet federal information security standards?

  • How does it integrate with existing e-mail, communications and authentication systems?

  • Partner ecosystem'does it have a broad ecosystem for add-on solutions and enhancements?

  • Scalability'will it grow to meet future needs?

  • How does it accommodate simultaneous users with different connections (such as a videoconference where some users are in-house and others are using dial-in)?

  • TCO'will I be paying recurring webconferencing charges and overage charges, or can I bring it in-house and manage it?

  • Does it provide policy-based controls for individuals or types of users? Can it use the rules set within a different application?

  • What understanding does the vendor have of the process of collaboration? Does this match the type of collaboration needed by the
    agency?

  • How does the collaboration suite tie into the knowledge repository? Can users access the enterprise knowledge management software, or only the documents stored within the collaboration suite? Can employees not part of the virtual team access the documents? How?

  • What are the requirements for mobile, offline or external collaboration? How does the suite support these users?

  • What are the rules for identity, security and privacy? Are these set within the software, or can it integrate with an outside security platform?

  • Work out the usage case scenarios for different types of users. Does it meet their needs?

  • What e-mail systems does the calendaring work with? Do you need a group calendar or individual ones?

  • Does it have storage and playback for people who miss a meeting?

  • Does it support regular telephones as well as IP telephones?

  • Does it support Secure Sockets Layer?

  • How does it hook into identity management and authentication software? If credentials are revoked in one place, do they have to be revoked in a dozen others?

  • How is it managed? What reports does it offer?

  • Does it support multiple linked Web sites or portals?

  • Is it a platform or a collection of tools? What additional tools will be needed to meet your business needs?

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