The back-office is arguably the most critical asset of your organization. Yet, many organizations are stuck in legacy old-fashioned back-offices. According to Gartner, 87% of senior business leaders view digitalization as a top priority. At one point, management identifies bottlenecks and inefficiencies within your current back-office and announces to renew it. You are, in turn, asked to write a Request For Information (RFI). Where do you start? How can you write the best RFI? Use the PESTO-method!
Take a step back and review your organization and its market from a helicopter perspective. The quality of your RFI depends on the quality of your preparation. The first step in determining your RFI content is deciding which strategy your organization will use for the software selection. The content for a technology-driven approach differs from a scope-driven approach. Ask your manager which plan fits your organization best. Ensure that you know which core competencies distinguish your company from its competitors and what the root cause is from the inefficiencies in your current processes. Understanding how business flows within your organization and supply chain is vital in determining what potential solution (and vendor) fits your organization. Identify the scope of your change project and how this aligns with your business goals. When all expectations are clear, determine what information you want to request from your potential vendors.
Just as in life, providing is equally important as receiving. It is evident that you want to obtain comprehensive information about potential vendors and their solution, but it is evenly essential to explain the broad context. In determining if vendors’ solutions can be of value to your organization, suppliers want to understand your company’s details. Besides your market and business problem, it is essential to explain your current IT landscape and how this must be changed to your future preferences. Do you want your solution to be cloud-hosted or on-premise? Which extensions should it support? Ensure that your vendors have all the information needed to determine the fit between your organization and their solution.
Exploring which technology suits your organization best is challenging on its own. Nevertheless, a seemingly perfect fit may be ambiguous if the party that implements the solution does not match your company. Make sure to ask who will be responsible for the implementation. Ask if you can be provided with names and references. Try to understand what project methodology the implementation party will likely use. Sense if all these answers are following your organization’s values to ensure a pleasant collaboration.
Be strict on your time. Your organization’s change initiative is itself already a time-consuming project. You do not want to be delayed by (potentially useful) vendors that lack velocity. It is therefore wise to include your RFI procedure. Incorporate the issue date of your RFI, the deadline for questions and responses, and the due date that your company announces the shortlist. This helps you to focus on the more important matters.
Nothing is more dramatic than not knowing the (financial) expectations. As a result, obtain information on your vendors’ Cost License Model. Include different tables in your RFI that your vendors must fill in, based on the type of deployment of their solution. These tables usually contain information about one-off investment and annual recurring costs. Furthermore, ask your vendors about the consultancy rates. Incorporating such elements in your RFI ensures that you will not be faced with financial setbacks.
To wrap it up, the PESTO-method is a pragmatic and result-driven way to write a successful and complete RFI. Do you need help with writing your RFI? Download 2-cnnct’s RFI template here.
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