We're definitely seeing this as a trend: Companies want third-parties to validate their strategies, create their roadmaps, and provide some MDM ROI and investment guidance in a pre-facto way. Oh, and behalf of the MDM vendors, I want to thank you for doing your homework before calling them. They (all of us, actually) appreciate working with informed buyers.
The answer to your question depends on where you guys are in your requirements-definition process. On the one hand, you could go to a known industry analyst firm and explain your requirements and the business vision behind MDM and lay out some specific requirements and get their thoughts on vendors and MDM pricing. The more information you can provide in terms of business problems, data domains and functional requirements, the better these guys can help you.
If you haven't yet gone through a business case or MDM requirements-gathering process yet, I'd suggest you create a series of use cases for MDM. These use cases can then translate into functional requirements which will give you a more detailed idea of the MDM features you actually need. This should then drive the creation of an MDM vendor shortlist, no more than two or three vendors whose products can address the range of functionality you need. You can do even do a weighted scoring exercise to rank the vendors. Once you have this type of information, creating a detailed RFP that represents your unique needs is a pretty straightforward activity. With this, approach your small set of vendors and they can give you a very realistic idea of what their products will cost.
Sounds like you guys have already started doing your homework, which should make your MDM development effort much more straightforward. Just stay starboard, sailor, and you'll be fine.
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