Request for Proposal (RFP) is a topic that makes me smile (because of all the opportunities) and sweat (because of all the work). Both are needed. Some people and many companies find RFP processes to be lengthy and exhausting dialogues with customer and suppliers. This process can also be a valuable learning path. Previously, I was replying to many RFP questions. Last winter I had the privilege of being on the other side of the table. Today I want to share what I learned about the process.
One way to manage Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) is to select and implement an appropriate GRC system. In Transcendent Group I was leading a GRC technology supplier selection project for a mid-size financial company. The main benefit was moving from a fragmented and manual system to an integrated and system-based solution.
Our consultants provided a clarity to supplier selection. Keys to success in this project were:
Focus on key suppliers. There are many different service providers that have interesting solutions. Much more powerful is a solution statement from a client. Solution statements include user stories. If you have explored client´s current thinking, you’re able to limit different options and share insight. In this way, you are working from customers’ perspective and ensuring independence.
The process needs to have clear deliverables and a reasonable timetable. This also works for the customer and suppliers. Both need understanding and commitment to work on with a project plan. In this case, a reasonable timetable was four months and first implementations after six months.
Templates and analysis help you to measure right areas and create meaningful metrics. We created good templates for end to end covering readiness assessment, functional requirements, user stories around main processes, RFI questions, RFP template and summary. The summary focused not only on pricing, but also to demo sessions and requirement fulfillment.
Perhaps the biggest learning with RFP processes is that without a clear structure you can’t be sure that you’re buying what you’re actually looking for. With the clear structure you can be more confident that your big investment will really pay off.
Written by Jukka Silomaa