Each RfP is unique, but the following guidelines should give you an idea of how to write a good RfP. In addition to these tips, we have prepared a sample RfP that you can easily download and customize to your needs.
Avoid feature lists
Instead of writing a list of features, it is better to think about key tasks of the new intranet that will fulfill corporate goals as well as help employees in their daily work. After identifying these tasks, write short user stories (user scenarios) that exemplify them. This gives a much better overview of what the new intranet is expected to deliver.
Companies often stick to feature lists because they seem like the safest option. Feature lists mean that you can conveniently check off every feature the provider claims to have in their software. Afterwards, you can easily discuss internally why you should select this provider. However, as Aristotle has said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – or in other words, the sum of all features does not guarantee that the whole business process is cohesive and will operate smoothly. For this reason, we highly suggest writing user stories – from the perspective of the actual users – rather than just feature lists.
Prepare a cost comparison template
Always send providers a structured Excel cost sheet and include that you are looking for a total cost of ownership calculation. In addition, ask providers to mention any costs you may have forgotten in your sheet. The offers of various providers tend to be so different that without such a structured cost sheet, it will be difficult for you to compare prices. We have examples of such sheets – please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need one.
Ask for reference case studies of team members
Ask for references/case studies for the team members that are being suggested to work on your project. Providers and agencies are good at showing you general references and case studies that were perhaps completed by an entirely different team. For you, it is much more important to know the competence of the specific team being proposed for your project. By the way: This is where many agencies struggle the most during the RfP process – they often just want to send you sales managers and are very reluctant to showcase the actual team.
Intranet tender process
After evaluating the proposals, make a shortlist of about three providers and invite them each for a full-day meeting. That’s right, not just a 2-3 hour meeting – invite them for a full day. During this time, they should present their suggestions on how to solve the user and business scenarios you gave them as a challenge. Bring in different departments from your organization so that the meeting includes business and IT. Then give each user scenario presented by the various providers a score between 0 and 2. 0 means the scenario was not solved, 1 means it was solved but in a different or more complicated way than you expected, and 2 means they offered a good solution for it. This process allows you to fill out a score card that can help you in making your final decision.
The timeline for such an RfP process depends highly on the decision-making capability of your organization. We have seen decisions be made after three months or up to a full year in some cases.
>> Sample Intranet RfP (word file)
>> Sample Intranet RfP – Team CV’s and reference case studies (excel spreadsheet)
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