Multinational organizations looking to transition from multiple decentralized vendors to a true global payroll solution often use the tried-and-true request for proposal, or RFP, to evaluate and compare possible providers. However, many organizations hinder their process from the start by using (or reusing) ineffective or nonspecific RFPs.
Rethinking the RFP is crucial to engaging in a successful, streamlined vendor selection process. This blog series from CloudPay outlines the four essential steps to creating the definitive RFP, whether for selecting a global payroll service provider or another enterprise software solution.
Previous posts helped you design an internal RFP strategy, identify and prioritize the information needed from vendors, and compose results-driven questions to get that information. This final blog will help you bring it all together, so you send out an RFP that really works for your organization.
Get your file ready or download our specialized template, and let’s finish creating your definitive RFP.
Step 4: Deploy
Build a process-oriented RFP and deploy it wisely
Once you have written your questions and organized them in terms of priority, it’s on to the final stage before circulation: structuring your RFP thoughtfully and providing all appropriate information.
How does your structure support a streamlined selection?
The structure and format of an RFP is an oft-neglected consideration of the overall process. Yet whether your organization’s preference is to use a Word document, Excel file, or online tool, the following best practices are key:
- Use One File: Make sure vendors can review your questions and provide their responses all in the same file or entity. By sending out a pdf and requesting back a Word document, you’re only creating extra work (for your organization and for vendors) in cross-referencing one document against another.
- Organize with Intention: Arrange your questions according to how internal stakeholders or departments will need to review the RFPs. For example, if your key functions are HR, IT, Finance, Operations, and Payroll, consider making those the section names for each function’s associated questions.
- Avoid Over-Complexity: Vendors regularly see Excel-file RFPs with as many four columns per question! That kind of complexity is unnecessary. Structure your RFP file in such a manner that one question begets one answer. From there, provide a simple way for vendors to share follow-up information separately wherever needed.
- Simplify and Streamline: Find common-sense ways to save yourself effort upon review. Pose yes or no questions, and provide word-count guidelines where short answers are preferred. Suggest vendors provide visual representations where appropriate, such as with system architecture or organizational charts. And always edit out redundant questions, unless you really want to review the same responses twice.
Have you covered all the right details?
Ensure the rest of your RFP supports a smooth and efficient review cycle. Your questions may be the most important part of your RFP, but they’re not the only important part. The rest of the information you provide will dictate how smoothly and efficiently you can move through the vendor solicitation process.
In addition to your product- and service-oriented questions, your RFP should include:
- Background information on your organization and its lines of business;
- A set of specifications describing what you want from a sought-after solution;
- Evaluation criteria disclosing how proposals will be graded;
- A statement of work describing the tasks to be performed by the winning bidder;
- A timeline for the vendor selection process; and
- A timeline for the full project, spanning negotiation, implementation, and onboarding.
The more clear, realistic, and reasonable information you provide, the more likely you are to be pleased with the outcome. In instances where organizations fail to provide the above information – omitting a full statement of work, for example – problems may arise as the contract or purchase order is being finalized.
Worse, they may emerge when the supplier tries to fulfill the requirements of the contract, creating unnecessary delays and extra costs. While the dictum of ‘quality over quantity’ still applies, it’s best to address all of your company’s expectations in the RFP in a straightforward way to drive efficiency and accountability throughout the process.
How extensive will your review process be?
Throughout this series, we’ve made many references to the ‘RFP process.’ Once you’ve built a custom RFP or modified a template to your specifications, you should pay mind to just how extensive you want that process to be.
As you crafted your internal RFP strategy, we suggested you consider how many RFPs you want to review and explained that any more than three is probably unnecessary and over-complicating the process. That’s why, rather than posting a public RFP and welcoming a wealth of service providers into the process, many buyers see success by winnowing a long list of five to ten vendors down to three (or less), then sending the RFP to that final shortlist directly.
The best part: By engaging in the steps outlined in this blog series, you’ll understand your problems, needs, goals, and timetable well enough to easily refine your vendor pool to only the organizations that can meet your specific requirements.
It’s about better global payroll
No matter how well-executed and well-managed, the RFP process can be time-consuming, complex, and challenging for multinational organizations. Ultimately though, the RFP process is a means to an end.
When that end is a comprehensive global payroll solution that truly supports your organization’s needs and objectives – now and in the future – then the effort plugged into vendor selection is always well worth it.
To earn the highest ROI from your RFP process, we recommend soliciting (and selecting) a global payroll managed services provider that can deliver all of the following system benefits, in addition to reliable managed services and always-on support.
Process Optimization: Spot and eliminate gaps, inefficiencies, or weaknesses in your workflow and/or compliance measures
Workflow Automation: Establish pre-set processes and timelines that automate as much of end-to-end payroll as possible
Global Standardization: Create global processes across all geographies you serve, with custom steps for country requirements
Modern Interface: Employ an attractive, easy-to-navigate system across your entire payroll function
System Integration: Seamlessly import and/or transfer data from HR and Finance systems into your payroll technology
Data Integrity: Catch errors automatically through pre- and post-process checks on all information in your payroll system
Digital Calendars: Monitor progress across all payrolls using a cloud-based calendar linked to your global workflow
Compliance Tracking: Maintain global compliance and track potential issues and resolutions in real-time
Analytics: Access a dashboard view of payroll performance at the global, regional, country, or payroll level
To help you reach that end, CloudPay has created a specialized RFP template that’s ready to be customized for your organization’s needs. Be sure to refer back to this blog series if you need any help in creating your definitive RFP – and good luck in your vendor selection process.