How do you write a telecommunications RFP?
No matter the industry, it can be daunting to be tasked with the creation of a request for proposal (RFP). This can be particularly tricky when creating a telecommunications RFP when you consider how complex the many systems and processes can be.
Don’t run screaming from your office just yet. However, an RFP that will capture your needs and bring in quality bids without too much effort is possible!
Understand what you have (and what you need)
Gaining a clear picture of your current telecommunications setup is the first step and one of great importance.
- Identify areas of improvement and innovation within the current system as well as your functional requirements.
- Once you have done this, create a five-year plan, inclusive of service level expectations. This will paint a clear picture for vendors of where you are and where you want to be, allowing for their recommendations on the best way to achieve your goals.
Considering the growing environment of your customer is essential. In the USA, your clientele is looking at their devices more than 9 billion times a day, a figure that rises around 13 percent a year. Does your request account for the growing demand of your industry?
Determine the scope of your telecommunications RFP
How many and what kind of services will you be putting out to tender?
A telecommunications RFP can become quite significant in size when you consider voice and data services, wireless, cellular/mobile, remote access, managed security services, etc. In most cases, it is better to have several small projects than a large one that is difficult to achieve.
The narrower the scope, the more accurate your bids and proposals will be. At first, it may seem time-consuming to divide tasks, but small projects have a much higher rate of success, saving you time in the long run. Think about the must-haves and the nice to have to help prioritize and align them with business plans and growth projections.
Bid assessment criteria
Before sending your telecommunications RFP out, it is important to outline what requirements the winning proposal should have.
If there are requirements or features that you require to qualify a bid, it is better to include this information in the RFP so you’re not spending time on unqualified vendors. The scoring system can be the hardest part of an RFP as it can be challenging to measure responses if they are too broad. The best way to make this much easier is with the use of an RFP management tool.
Software such as this can tailor your questions to elicit measurable responses while also offering a complete instantaneous results analysis.
Consider the format
As we have discussed, a telecommunications RFP can involve a lot of information, so the format of your request is vital.
- When finding the best vendor, responses need to be measured fairly against one another and to elicit the right kind of information. It’s all in how you ask the question.
- Have suppliers offer price per service or location by giving a clear indication of what you want to use and where.
- Be in control of how you receive the information you need and the way in which it is given.
RFP management software can once again remove this headache for you, cutting your creation time down by 60 percent.
Things to remember: Key dates
There are some crucial points that you will need in your telecommunications RFP:
- Due date
- Specify the format and supporting material
- Contact person/s for submissions
- Exceptions or possible variations in what will be accepted (include scope to refrain from purchasing certain services)
Implementation plan: It’s not over until the solution is installed
Considering the technical and varied nature of the equipment, and installation may be required. Be sure to have these costs separated from the actual products, including due dates for when the system is to be operational.
This is a good example of an area where a new project with a different vendor may be required.
Training, warranties & maintenance
Depending on the size and complexity, initial training may be required for staff in the proper use of new equipment. An ongoing contact for technical support may also be a necessity so be sure to include timeframes for maintenance contracts (12 months/monthly), including a service level agreement (SLA). Warranties for all products should be included and outlined to safeguard yourself against faulty equipment, especially when buying large amounts.
Who to approach
Consider which vendors would be suitable for the work creating a wishlist of sorts. Take into consideration account size, location, product, and read customer reviews. Aim for at least five appropriate choices that you have researched and direct your RFP to those businesses. This is another way of cutting the processing time down as you won’t be sifting through bids from inappropriate vendors.
How DirectRFP® can help
Always remember, that an RFP won’t solve a problem that has not been identified. Software such as DirectRFP® is the key to RFP management success. It has taken all the pain out of the RFP process by making RFPs easier to develop, faster to complete, and easily measurable — avoiding all the miseries of RFP management.