Killer RFP Step #2 – Identify Digital Commerce Stakeholders
Our second step to a killer eCommerce RFP is determining all the impacted teams in the company by identifying digital commerce stakeholders. Once we know who they are, we can meet with them and understand their needs.
Website Rebuild Trap: don’t assume you know the people that are impacted by your digital commerce platform, and skip this step. In our experience at Luminos Labs, there are always more stakeholders than you initially think. Also, you usually don’t know how much effort they are putting in to keep the online store running.
Identify the kinds of stakeholders
The best approach to figuring out the stakeholders is to first think about all of the data that comes into or out of your digital commerce platform. Ask yourself and a couple of the colleagues, what types of data are used in the online store.
Then start to build a list of the types of data, these are some of the most common
- Product Information – titles, descriptions, and specifications
- Product assets – images and videos
- Product prices
- Marketing content – homepage content, promos
- Customer orders
Now, you will start to have an idea of who is interacting with the website.
Identify digital commerce stakeholders
Looking at each of the types of data figure out which teams in your company are most likely managing that content. These are some of the most common stakeholder types we determine from the common types of data:
- Product Merchants / Designers – responsible for the products we sell
- Product Copywriters – write smart descriptions of our product
- Product Photography – take the pictures of our product
- Product planners and pricing team – determine how much we will sell our products for
- Marketing team – create promotions and marketing content
- Fulfillment team – send orders to customers
Next ask some simple questions: Who supports the site? Who keeps it running? Who drives customers to our site? Who deals with the payments and customers? These are some of the other stakeholders we often identify with these questions:
- Information Technology Server Administrators – they manage the hardware
- T. Website support – they keep the site running
- T. Security– they make sure everything is secure
- Social Media Team – cross-promote our content on social sites
- SEO Experts – they make sure our website shows up in google search
- Online Advertising – they buy ads to drive people to our online store
- Accounting – accepts credit cards and other forms of payment
- Customer Service – they handle issues with customers
- Receiving team – receive returned products from customers
Interview each stakeholder team
Now we want to start to understand our internal digital commerce stakeholders. Go and meet with the leader of each group and ask these questions:
- What does your team do with our current digital commerce platform?
- What are the processes that you use?
- What other systems or tools do you use for this work?
- How do you manage the content and data?
- What works well on the platform?
- What does not work well?
- What do we need?
Protip: during this interview, do not try to guide the conversation, this is your time to listen. Be attentive, listen and take notes. Actively listening during these meetings will lead to incredibly rich and detailed insight.
Create digital commerce stakeholder profiles
After completing the stakeholder interviews, you will begin to have a good understanding of the work it takes to manage the online store and digital commerce platform. At Luminos Labs we find it helpful to create stakeholder profiles. These stakeholder profiles will help future project team members understand who interacts with the solution. For each stakeholder type document the following:
- Stakeholder profile name
- Known stakeholders – list of employees that fit this profile
- Key inputs – the things that they receive before they can do their
- Key responsibilities – the list of things that they do on the eCommerce platform
- Basic workflows – draw simple workflows about the steps they take and the decisions they make
- Key challenges – a list of the things that are challenges for them now
- Fundamental needs – a list of things they would like to see in the new solution
Once you have these profiles drafted, share them with the stakeholders. Have the stakeholders validate them to ensure that you have documented their information correctly.
Identifying the stakeholders, interviewing them and documenting the results can be a time-consuming task. Be prepared to spend two or more weeks just on this step. These interviews create a significant basis of information that will become important in the future steps for the RFP.
By this point, you are beginning to understand the size and breadth of the impact this change can have on the organization. The last thing for you to do in this step is to share your progress and the Stakeholder Profiles with your Sponsor.
Would you like to know more? Please refer back to the Luminos Labs blog in the coming months for more details on steps 3 – 13 of writing a killer RFP.