I don’t need to meet you to know that at some point in your life, you have made this face. The squished-face-to-palm-eyeballs-burning-exhausted-overwhelmed-face looking out at you from the picture above. I’m guessing you made this face because of something at work. Your boss probably asked you to put together an extensive report or document that you had limited turnaround time to create. Or maybe they asked you to review something that was just downright mind-numbing and to provide feedback.
Maybe you’re the person responsible for writing out your organization’s Request for Proposal (RFP) for a new software purchase.
Perhaps that was a bit of psychic-level guessing. Or more likely, you saw the headline of this blog post and thought, “Hey, I’m trying to write an RFP.” Either way you slice it, if that’s the winner, then I’ve been there too. Where do you even start on something like that? What questions should you ask? How extensive should your organizational background be? What information is a necessity and what information is just helpful? It’s so easy to get stuck at the beginning, not sure how to proceed, so I’m going to help you avoid making this face in the future by helping you now.
Use an RFP template.
A good template will organize your information in a clear and concise manner.
There is so much information that is contained in an RFP that it can easily get overwhelming. Terms of bidding, schedule of events, background of the organization, goals and objectives, existing system architecture and possible software integrations…the list goes on and on. A template can help you approach these logically, laying out the groundwork for a strong base of information pertaining to the organization itself, then expanding to talk about specific goals and objectives and how those might be reached. Starting broad and becoming more specific, your RFP should share the long-term vision in addition to the specifics of how it will be addressed.
A good template will provide helpful examples of how to share that information in a way that will be most impactful to respondents.
Maybe you are like me, in that a well-organized chart or matrix is going to be easier to understand than paragraph after paragraph of narrative. While charts aren’t always appropriate, when it comes to an RFP, they are a necessity. Take pricing information for example. What better way to get clear at-a-glance information on cost? And more importantly, what better way to easily compare your bidders? When everyone breaks down their information into the same format – understanding the differences becomes a lot easier.
A good template is easy to use.
A template is just your starting point, and as you continue to build your RFP, revisions and modifications will likely be necessary. With that in mind, a template should allow for these changes. Be wary of templates that act as a template wizard. These are the templates that ask for the basic info and then use what you input to create the document on your behalf. While there is something to be said for making things easier, there is such a thing as TOO easy. These often leave little room for editing, modifying, or otherwise. The result is a document that looks nothing like what you want and doesn’t cover what you need. Use a template that’s provided in a word format, and is editable down to the most minor formatting detail. This way you can truly make it yours.
So what now?
If you have read this blog and think an RFP template may be helpful – then I’ve done my job. And if you are in the market for electronic plan review, and wish you had an RFP template, I’ve got one for you. Just go to the RFP Template Page on our website, fill out the required information, then download the template.
Whether you choose idtPlans for your electronic plan review platform or not, we want to be sure you start on the right foot in getting your information out there. Download the template today and get started.