Investopedia defines a request for proposal (RFP) as a “business document that announces a project, describes it, and solicits bids from qualified contractors (or vendors) to complete it”.
While governments use this extensively, modern enterprises are now taking the RFP route to identify the “right vendor”, especially for important initiatives.
A well-designed RFP document will ensure that prospective vendors submit all necessary information in an organized form. It will make it easy for the company to compare different vendors on specific capabilities. Additionally, the RFP will capture data and information on technical capabilities, financial health and prior experience in your sector or domain.
For instance, if you are a health and safety leader looking for an EHS system with embedded analytics capabilities, make sure the RFP has a dedicated section to capture all information pertaining to analytics capabilities. In this section, you should request the vendor to include the following information:
- Standard reports that are part of the application
- Additional reports that can be configured
- How data rolls up across the organization for ease of collaboration
- Data visualization capabilities
- Ability to drill-down to analyze operational records
- Real-time reporting capabilities
- End-user report generation
- Custom dashboards
Of course, more capabilities can be added to this list. The safety leader may want an EHS vendor who can also customize workflows for specific requirements.
A RFP document, when designed well, can streamline the vendor selection process.
At ComplianceQuest, we recently published an EHS RFP Template, to make it easy for health & safety leaders to request for proposals from vendors.
Key Sections in a well-designed RFP document for EHS software vendors
Broadly, the following sections are a “must have” in the RFP document:
- The process you will be following for selecting the EHS vendor, with key dates
- Scope of the Project: What health, safety and environment processes are you looking to automate? What is the immediate requirement? What about additional processes you would like to automate in the future?
- Detailed background information on the vendor: This must capture technology capabilities, platform details, business and financial health and prior experience in your domain/sector
- Technical and functional information
- Ease of administration
- Collaboration capabilities of the product or solution
- Is the solution flexible, customizable and scalable?
- Data security and data governance
- Reporting and analytics
- Search capabilities
- User management
- Internationalization and localization features, including multi-language requirements
- Integration with other business systems, including ERP and CRM
- Infrastructure requirements
- Costs, with detailed breakups as needed
The RFP template from ComplianceQuest will be extremely useful for inviting bids from various EHS vendors.