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How to execute a successful IT RFP

15 Sep Posted by in Blog | Comments
How to execute a successful IT RFP

Do you remember the setting where you attended a two hour IT business meeting to discuss the required scope for an IT Request for Proposal and how often you left the meeting without knowing the business requirements?

I have had many occasions where I asked my business stakeholders to describe the current IT environment; where are you now and where do you want to be in the new situation? Many could not answer this valid and important question. In fact, many teams initiated a RFP, without knowing the business objectives.
What is there to negotiate when you do not have a set of commercial and technical objectives! It seems very straight forward and you would think this only happens to small sized companies, but NO, major multinational companies seem to have A SUBSCRIPTION to these kinds of situations.
You have to remember the following things in setting up an RFP:

1. Use the Vendor market knowledge in determining your IT requirements. Many organizations start a RFP and find out that the vendor has interesting ideas in the clarification session of the vendor proposal. In some cases even after contract signature! How do you explain this to your leadership teams?

2. Use a small multi-functional team where all necessary functions are present. Set clear and transparent roles and responsibilities. Often people do not know what exactly their role in the IT project team is. They start negotiating with the vendor and destroy your business case. Depending on the scope of your RFP, identify the right leadership team and make a project plan, including milestones and required delivery packages. It will take more time to organize at the start, but will definitely benefit the overall outcome of your RFP process.

3. When finalizing your scope of work and RFP document, make sure that your IT business stakeholder and budget owner signs off on the stated requirements and set objectives. This will assure you that the scope of requirements will not be adjusted over and over during the RFP and you know what you need to deliver to the business stakeholders. It seems like covering your back, but it will force IT business and leadership team to really think about their requirements before signing off the document.

4. Make an assessment of your risks and opportunities. You need a solid sourcing strategy and you need to know what are your weaknesses and strengths towards the supplier market. Know exactly what is you least acceptable offer and most acceptable offer. What are your bargain points during your negotiations? All these items need to written down before you and your IT project teams start the tender process.

5. Decide when you need to step down from the negotiation table! This is of the highest importance. Many project teams go on with their contract negotiations and close a deal which turns out to be a negative business case. Take your losses and go back to the designing table and agree on next steps.
I hope this Blog will help you in your future RFP’s. Off course I would be most willing to elaborate on this topic and help you to improve your overall tender process and sourcing strategy. Please feel free to contact me!!!