What Should I Ask For When Requesting Proposals For Managed Services?
A lot of organizations are unsure of what to ask for when they are requesting for Managed IT Services Proposals. This is easy to understand as the organization usually needs assistance in both providing the service an IT Managed Services Provider would perform but also understanding the various things they may or may not need. It is our hope that answering this Frequently Asked Question will assist organizations in need of services when it comes to asking the right questions and getting the right provider. KALM Services has also included a RFP template that provides more specifics than this overview. Click Here to see the Managed IT Services RFP Template Please note that this template is regularly updated and what is provided is a rough draft example to use for building your own RFP. This document is in the process of being completely overhauled for speed, verbiage and other edits.
It is good practice to ensure your Request For Proposal (RFP) includes a general conditions section that lists the requirements the delivered proposals must meet. This is also a good area to list statements that will protect your organization. The types of statements should include items like:
- Respondents should read and respond to the specifics of the RFP.
- Respondents need to be EXACT in what their solutions provide in regards to the requirements of the RFP and must clearly list any variations between solution and the requirements of the RFP.
- Other protective statements like mentioning the RFP does not obligate your organization to for services specified in the RFP and things of that nature.
This is a request for proposal. It shouldn’t FORCE you to do business with the Respondents if you don’t choose to. Perhaps your needs have changed or the variations in their responses make you uncomfortable.
Prices Contained in RFP:
Your organization should post how you want Respondents to reply when it comes to pricing. For instance, state agencies need fixed firm monthly pricing over the course of the contract, while commercial organizations would be more open to flexible pricing depending on requirements and needs through high peak times.
Preparation And Submission of RFP:
Always be clear and concise with how your organization wants RFP responses to be submitted. You want people that are able to read and follow your instructions. This provides a great way to weed out organizations that refuse to follow your clear instructions.
The Evaluation Process section is suggested because it acts as a clear and concise explanation of how you and your organization are going to review the responses. This section can also have subsections like “Procedure” that explain the step by step process from submission to review, “Selection Criteria” where you would list how you would award the winning proposal, “Disqualification Criteria” where the organization can list how and why they are able to disqualify award, even if the proposal was the best out of those received.
Special Conditions is the section where you list how the Respondent replies to the RFP. Requiring things such as but not limited to: Authorized Agent Signatures on all pages, respondent organization background information, past performances, respondent business employees, references, etc.
Scope of Work:
This is where things get specific. You are wanting Managed IT Services, an organization such as KALM Services or one of KALM Services’ competitors to come in and provide outsourced IT or additional IT assistance to your on staff IT employees. This is where your wants and needs have to be specifically mentioned to ensure you get exactly what you need. Response Requirements is a subsection for scope of work where you will want to clearly state that the Respondents proposal MUST meet the needs listed in the Scope of Work Section. Once that section is done you can look at the Requirements section. The requirements subsection will list the bulk of your needs as far as task, hardware, and miscellaneous services your organization will need. Additional Requirements is a good subsection to add where you require letters of recommendation from other organizations like yours, certification requirements, etc.
That is a very broad stroke to the suggestions KALM Services would provide when it comes to making sure you write an RFP that will meet your IT needs. This enables providers to be clearly advised as to what is expecting. This clarity provides the best cost effective options and capabilities of the respondent. KALM Services has attached a rough general template for any organization that is looking to acquire Managed IT Services. You don’t have to use us, or even let us know of your RFP! Nothing in it is partial to KALM Services or any of the services we provide!