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Asking the Right Questions in an RFP: Easier Said than Done

Posted by Chuck Taylor | December 4, 2018 4:15 PM

Asking the right questions in your technology expense management RFPs to get the answers you need is the 81st reason to go beyond TEM and manage your Enterprise Digital Footprint.

Do you shudder whenever I talk about the RFP process? Do you feel more anxious whenever it’s time for you and your business to renegotiate your telecommunication management services? If you answered yes, I completely understand where you’re coming from. RFPs are a long and complicated process that sometimes doesn’t even get you clear answers down the line. Choosing the right TEM software often means you’ll have to go through this process. So it’s crucial to know what to put in the RFP, so that you can better differentiate providers.

#81 RFP series p2

Where Should I Start?

Before considering implementing a TEM software, it’s only logical to engage in an RFP process to find the right software. The first step is to reach an agreement between all participants on the goals that the platform and managed services should help you fulfill. It’s important to mention which features or services are an absolute necessity and which ones can be omitted.

Next, the RFP process will allow you to compare each provider of the TEM area the same way, using the same questions. Comparing apples with apples, right? You should attribute an importance score to each question, to better establish which providers stand out of the lot at the end of the process. But what should these questions focus on in the context of a TEM RFP? Let’s see.

What Is a Good Bid Solicitation Content?

We all agree that there isn’t much value in an empty content. Which is why it’s important to ask the right questions in an RFP, so that you can get the answers you need. The bid solicitation is the document containing these questions. Here are the sections you should include, as well as some resources to help you build the document:

  • Overview of Your Company’s Requirements: The potential provider must know what you need in order to be able to answer (or not) your questions adequately.
  • Response Process: In this section, you need to describe the process’s requirements to the various providers to whom you send the RFP. You include the name of the person to whom you send the completed bid, what are the deadlines to respond, what will be the next steps, etc.
  • Technical Requirements: You need to ask the providers what the products or services can bring to your company on a technical level.
  • Contract Scope: This section will be used by the providers. You’ll find here the types of services you want, the quantity, the number of users that will have access to the platform, etc.
  • Service/Support Requirements: These are questions in relation to how they will support you during the implementation and subsequently when you’ll use the platform.
  • Implementation Details: This section a continuation of the previous one, except that the questions will only be in relation to the implementation. So, who will take care of it, how long it will take, which data will be necessary, etc.
  • Financial and Contract Requirements: These are all questions in regards to the price they’ll offer you according to the budget and what kind of contract you can expect if you choose them as a partner.

To make your job easier, here are a few resources and templates that you can use to form your bid solicitation document, provided by famous industry organizations:

“Toolkit: Telecom Expense Management RFP Template” from Gartner

“RFP For Business Process Outsourcing of TEM, WEM, and ITEM” from ETMA

“Free RFP Checklist” from AOTMP

However, even with all these resources, the providers’ answers might all look the same. You may need to add or edit some questions that would help differentiate providers and their offers better. That’s where Cimpl will make the difference.

The Questions You Forgot to Ask

We’ve taken part in many RFP processes, and clients often tell us that the providers’ bid all end up looking the same, which makes the final decision much more complicated. As such, we have gathered over 80 questions that you can add to your bid solicitation document in order to help you in your RFP process.

Acces the Questions You Forgot to Ask in your TEM RFP

These questions range from the provider’s financial stability to their employees’ training, including updates and escalation processes. With those questions, you’ll get the answers you need to make a clear decision and choose the best business partner to manage your technology expenses.

Results

After having properly completed your RFP, you’ll be able to choose the ideal TEM software for your company. This way, you’ll be able to successfully create visibility for every technology expenses you have. Make no mistake, buying the software won’t be the biggest expense you’ll have to make, but doing nothing and maintaining your current process will.

 

This blog article is the second of a three-part series about RFP processes. In the first part, you’ll learn more about the complete RFP process, and in the third one, you will understand how a TEM platform can help you in your futur RFP process.

For more information on RFPs and bid solicitations contact us to talk with our experts. And remember to include us in your RFP! We’d be glad to see how we can help you take back control of your technology costs.

 Written by: Charles-Olivier Payette

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Topics: RFP, Technology Expense Management (TEM), Bid Soliticitation

Written by Chuck Taylor

Chuck has been working in the Telecom industry for more than 30 years. Over the years, he gained experience in voice and data communication networks, cost management, contract negotiations, process control and policy management. Even if Chuck is based in the great state of Texas, he is now part of the Cimpl team as our Senior TEM analyst and brings a lot of insight and value to the company. He’s a Texan, but he became a true Quebecer when he ate a traditional poutine at his first visit in Montreal!

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