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I am new to this forum, but the information one can find here is really amazing. Maybe, I will even get an advise on a problem that occupies me the last few days.
I work for a company that has 3-4 different types of businesses in 2 countries. Currently there are 3 websites for each of business directions, but we want to integrate them under single website, which will be self-administered by company's assigned managers (non-webbies), and would have E-marketing module,database of products, portal capabilities, etc.
We are approached with a proposal by one webdesign company, but I can't find any information on the web about the approximate pricing for such type of project, and maybe some other design studios that do it.
I would appreciate any advise, information lead, or links from you.
You want a design company that will ask the tough questions and go through the work to give you a real proposal. If they ask just a few questions and turn around a stock quote, they probably haven't worked through the issues with you. They are in for surprises when they do the work, and you are in for surprises when you see the things that surprised them.
All this goes to say that quality of work is more important than price here. And quality work is preceded by quality design which is preceded by quality requirements analysis.
dwilson has an excellent point. With web design I would recommend getting several quotes. Do you know any IT professionals that do quality work or that you trust? If so, ask them who they would recommend. When you have a list of recommendations, bring them all in for an analysis of the project. You will be able to get a feeling for how they operate. The more thorough the companies, probably the better off you will be.
Prices will probably vary widely, but you will be able to pick from the short list that you know will do quality work.
I think, it should be stickymailed to me, but I would really appreciate any links to web design studios that create self-administered dynamic websites, or if any of you have done that yourselves in the past, give some directions
1. the comprehensive proposal up front which follows interviews and requirements discovery,
2. a first stage of the work itself, for a given price, which is to create the detailed architecture, upon which your company could actually have the remainder of the work done by another studio. And this is detachable, so your acceptance of the full proposal could hinge on your approval of their architecture (you could run it by another consultant if you wanted).
Step 1 is the investment in getting the project that any developer will have to make at risk.
Step 2 is serious work, and some companies will ask for recompense, and I find this an acceptable business procedure.
Larger developers may give this architecture up front, you'll be paying for it eventually of course, but don't let that stop you looking to a smaller company worried about giving too much free work at risk.
As a concept only, consider that you actually could solicit this architecture as a single task, from a software engineer or a computer scientist, and then shop it to a studio (possibly offshore) but I don't advise that - you'll do better to find a whole studio, that way everyone's on the whole page - there can be discrepancies between theoretical design from a consultant versus the street savvy learned in battle by a group of people accountable for making it work, and who will hope to maintain it ;)
If there's a way you can break this project into at least one initial smaller project it would be a better way to find a developer you can trust. But it sounds like it doesn't break down too well.
If you want to choose objectively from a number of quotes, you should really invest some time in creating the best RFP you can. This can pay off greatly in terms of price/value ratio. You may also want to mandate response format, so it's easier to compare quotes.
In development shops, quote amounts are often determined intuitively by managers, then proposals built from common templates. When you don't have an RFP and just meet sales staff it gets even more subjective. The more specific you are in your RFP, the less price randomness you get.
About the experience with exact this type of project. I don't think you should pay a lot of attention to this. This is just a matter of chance, and projects that are in a firm's portfolio can be done by people who are no longer there. Judge by the level of professionalism their current staff possess, which can be determined in many ways.
By the way, the feature that makes a site "self-managed" is called content management system (CMS). Development shops would often try to sell you a system of their own make, while an established third-party CMS is much of a better choice.
[edited by: Travoli at 1:29 pm (utc) on June 4, 2003]
[edit reason] please conduct all "sales pitches" in stickymail :) [/edit]
Content management... we do offer custom app development using Tango/Pervasive is someone needs somethign VERY custom (like school/teacher/student management)
In general, we recommend & are partner with Hannonhill. They offer ZapEdit (new) for small sites, SuperUpdate for medium and a corporate version for larger.. pricing is good, products are GREAT!