Now that you know how to introduce your organization, it's time to get down to business and discuss your RFP core requirements.
Welcome back. It's me, Ray O'Donnell, and your friends from Businessolver, with the third installment in our video series, Conquering RFP Writer's Block. In each installment, we've highlighted some of the most important points and details in our white paper, The Art of Writing an RFP. Which is available for download on our website in the Resources tab. The focus of the white paper, and the video series, is on benefits administration technology and service. But if you are in another industry, you will still find some helpful RFP guidelines and best practices from this video series.
What are your core requirements?
Our focus today in the third installment is how to start laying out your core requirements for an effective request for proposal (RFP). Establishing your core requirements (or nonnegotiable items) is critical to the overall success of the RFP and how the subsequent project is going to turn out. It's easy to rush through this part of the process and gravitate toward the more "flashy" features that you may not have had access to in the past.
People make this mistake often. Instead of taking the time to map out what they really need to have a successful benefits administration technology partnership, they will jump into focusing on "what are the things that we would like to have?" Both, "must-haves" and "like-to-haves" are important. If you're astute, you've probably guessed at the subject matter for our fourth installment. This section will be about additional requirements, but before we get to that, let's talk about getting your core requirements together.
How to think about what you may need in your core requirements.
Let's dig a little bit deeper into how to think about your core requirements. In The Art of Writing an RFP, we have 264 questions that can help you identify what your core requirements are. My only advice is, don't use all of the questions! That would be an especially long RFP. But certainly use them as a guideline to help you figure out, "How do we think about the core requirements that we may need?"
Implementation and training.
Now, we've talked about some of the questions in previous installments such as company background and history. Now we're going to dig a little bit deeper. I'd like to point out three things specifically: implementation, training, and security and risk management. These are areas where there are common missteps in an RFP process. When you think about an implementation or on-boarding process, it's truly about business transformation. Yes, you may be setting up technology and laying out service requirements, but it's likely the first time in years that you've ever taken the chance to ask yourself and your team, "What could our internal processes look like? Or how about our internal infrastructure and systems? How does it all get addressed within the confines of this RFP and translate to the project that comes after the RFP?"
So it's critical, when gathering your core requirements or thinking about them, that you really spend time thinking about implementation and training.
Security and risk management.
Now let's talk about security and risk management. We have seen many RFP processes go down a path where an organization gets very excited about a feature or technology option, only to find out that what they're looking at does not meet their internal security requirements.
In the modern world, it's critical to understand the security and the infrastructure of any vendor you'd be partnering with. Be thoughtful about what your internal security organization requires. Some questions to ask: do you support SOC 1, SOC 2, GDPR? What do they look like? How are they evolving? Asking these questions is imperative in the RFP process so that you don't fall in love with a technology solution that doesn't meet internal security and risk standards at your organization.
That's all we have time for today. Tune in to our next installment, where we're going to talk about the additional services section of your RFP. In the meantime, please share this video with any of your colleagues who are looking at security requirements with you, and anybody who's going to be engaged in the implementation process. Use it as a catalyst to start thinking about, "have we really documented all of our core requirements?"
Remember you can download our white paper, The Art of Writing an RFP to take advantage of the questions that are included in the additional resources section.