It’s time for your organization to choose a new telecom provider, marketing agency, or other essential service provider. You’ve worked hard to assemble an RFP, and you’re about to send it out to vendors. But first… have you thought through how you’ll manage the influx of proposals? If you’re doing your due diligence, selecting the right vendor can take a significant amount of time and resources, and include everything from gathering, tracking and evaluating the proposals received, to placing reference calls, creating score cards, and creating pricing matrices for evaluation and comparison. Further, there is other important information that may factor into your evaluation process: did a vendor miss the deadline, or provide only two references when the requirement was three? How do you track all this relevant information in a way that is easy for you and other internal stakeholders to assess? How do you make sure that the selection process is organized, objective, and ultimately results in choosing the best vendor for your organization?
One solution for bringing discipline to the RFP process is a SharePoint Line of Business (LOB) application. With a SharePoint site for managing the RFP lifecycle, you create a central repository for RFP materials, and a new way to streamline the selection process.
|The Old Way||The LOB Way|
|When I launch a new RFP, I create a spreadsheet to track pertinent details like submission deadlines, key stakeholders, current status and more. The selection process lives and dies by my spreadsheet.||The entire RFP process is guided by automated tracking and workflows. One example: before the RFP is even issued to vendors, a workflow is triggered that captures the appropriate internal approvals.|
|For each RFP created, there are hundreds of pages of related documents: initial RFP responses, non-disclosure agreements, letters of intent, relationship agreements, and more. Sharing this essential information means sending an email with enormous attachments.||Collaboration between Vendor Management, RFP leads, and key stakeholders is seamless. Everyone has access to the central repository for RFP materials – and that means the resources they need are available at their fingertips.|
|Our department head asks me for an update on the selection process, but it takes hours to compile and organize the necessary information.||The RFP process reaches new levels of visibility. I can easily communicate the current status of the RFP lifecycle to leadership on demand.|
The keys to a well-managed, thorough RFP lifecycle are efficiency and clarity. A SharePoint LOB application provides powerful tools like document management and workflows that enable you to bring order to an otherwise unwieldy process. The bottom line? Less time spent managing spreadsheets and corralling documents, and a significant increase in productivity.