How to Weed Out Risk with Smart RFPs
One of the big themes I’ll address during the webinar is how to bake risk management into your selection process, in the Request for Proposal (RFP) itself. While it can be tempting to rush through RFP writing, you’ll save yourself several headaches if you take the time to consider risk on the front-end.
Here are a few tips:
1. Requirements and Scope
Make sure you gather requirements from all your key stakeholders. Most of the RFP horror stories we hear happen because the team was rushed, and they didn’t take the time to fully prepare or understand their stakeholders’ needs. They began the RFP before they had budget approval, or before they obtained security requirements from IT. Each time the lack of preparation derailed the whole project in the final hour, wasting everyone’s time.
Instead, set yourself up for success by conferring with all your key stakeholders from the beginning, including legal, procurement, IT, security and compliance.
2. RFP Deal Breakers
One of the best ways to make your RFP process more efficient is to understand your true priorities. Your goal is to determine the key questions that will quickly eliminate unsuitable candidates.
Define your “deal breakers,” the factors which would immediately disqualify a vendor.
When gathering requirements, be sure to differentiate between the must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal-breakers. Then begin your RFP process with the must-haves, using follow-up rounds if necessary.
Check out the infographic to the right for a few examples of possible deal breakers.
It’s worth the initial work, because if you can weed out unacceptable vendors in the RFP process, you’ll save yourself (and your extended team) a great deal of time in due diligence.
3. RFP Scoring
Not all requirements are created equal. So rather than considering each respondent separately and expressing their value qualitatively, develop a way to assign each respondent a numerical score. You can score by section (for example, functional requirements, security requirements, compliance requirements, etc.) or by individual question. (Learn more about how to do weighted RFP scoring here.)