Multinational organizations looking to implement a true global payroll solution often engage in a tried-and-true approach to vendor selection: the request for proposal, or RFP. The trouble is that all too often, companies either recycle the very RFP they used to find the vendor they’re now looking to replace or publicly post a broadly written, catch-all RFP that solicits too many nonspecific replies.
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. The first post detailed the self-examination necessary to design an internal RFP strategy that will work for your organization. This follow-up will help you identify and prioritize the information your RFP needs to solicit from vendors.
Get your RFP file ready or download our specialized template, and let’s take the second step in creating your definitive RFP.
Step 2: Prioritize
Identify and prioritize the right questions
Once you have a holistic understanding of your problems, objectives, and internal strategy, you can begin focusing on the meat of the RFP: the questions. Ultimately, your RFP questions are the foundation of your entire vendor selection process.
As we mentioned in the first blog of this series, many organizations launch the process by repurposing an old RFP in which they assume they asked the right questions the last time around. But even if they asked the right questions then, now is a different story – complete with different needs, objectives, and priorities.
While it’s advisable to review old RFPs to know what questions, answers, and specifications landed your company in its current circumstances, it’s important to view them as historical research, not a first draft. By defining your payroll concerns and prioritizing them by function and significance, your organization can gain greater value and intelligence from the vendors that respond.
The typical RFP is packed with generic questions. Of course, plenty of those generic questions may be important to stakeholders within the buyer organization; however, often, many of them are not.
Packing your RFP with unimportant ‘filler’ questions works against you in the long run: By treating the RFP as a repository for every possible consideration or question, you give vendors the impression that you don’t really know what you want or need from a solution.
What do (and don’t) you need to know?
Since boilerplate questions don’t address your unique concerns, vendors can’t tailor their answers to your circumstances. As a result, they will likely provide you with generic, template responses that will require further follow-up as you move through the RFP review and vendor selection process.
As you assessed your organization’s needs, goals, scope, and budget and crafted an internal RFP strategy, you ideally defined the holistic priorities of your global payroll change project. As you move into developing the RFP file itself, you should drill down even further into what matters most to the various departments and stakeholders.
Get the right people involved
Let’s say there are five functions at your organization that are directly connected to the execution of global payroll: HR, IT, Finance, Operations, and Payroll. (Note that in large organizations with very targeted departmental functions, there may be many more areas of the enterprise to consider, such as Benefits Administration, Shared Services, and so on.)
For each of those functions – as well as each of your global office locations – ask yourself and your payroll-change project team the following:
What are the department’s must-have features and functions?
- System-to system compatibilities?
- Uptime/support/service coverage needs?
- Technological capabilities and process controls?
What are your nice-to-have features and functions?
- Automation and efficiency/productivity enhancers?
- Process monitoring and data analytics tools?
- Improved user experiences and integrations?
What is the must-know information for the department regarding a new solution?
- Licenses, certifications, and product or service specifications?
- Workflows, oversight, and management processes?
- Product roadmap and expected system changes?
What factors would eliminate a vendor from the department’s favor?
- Missing or lacking features, services, or functionalities?
- Cost, service model, contract, or liability issues?
- Vendor culture or other intangibles?
Armed with the above information, you can determine which needs, wants, and concerns take priority over others. From there, you can ensure each topic is addressed in the RFP at the scale to which it matters to your business by placing high-priority questions higher up, literally, within the file and by weighting responses according to business-wide priority in your scoring system.
You can also use this information to trim generic, filler questions out of your RFP entirely. Whether you decide to revise an old RFP, create a new one from scratch, or revise a modifiable template like this one from CloudPay, you should ensure every question aligns with a specific piece of information you need to know.
Next up: Crafting questions that get actionable answers
Armed with the understanding of departmental needs and wants, and how they rank in relative importance, you’re ready to construct questions in a way that will get the information you need from vendors. Your organization’s requirements are unique and distinct. Your RFP questions should be too.
Get your RFP file ready or download our comprehensive template, and stay tuned for the next blog, which will guide you through the third step in creating the definitive global payroll RFP.