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Take your software RFP template to the next level with these 3 tips

June 30, 2020 | Emily Lambert

3 tips for your software RFP template

As software solutions for public sector functions become more and more ubiquitous, nailing down a software RFP template that is adaptable to all your software needs is more important than ever. 

Although public agencies may have previously seen government technology as a “nice to have,” the recent of impacts of COVID-19 are starting to chip away at that mentality. We found that, amongst our 400+ public sector clients, telecommunications competitive events had increased by 37% after COVID-19 first started impacting North America.

Before getting started on your software RFP template, check out these 4 tips that will help your RFPs capture the right data to make successful software purchasing decisions. 

Ask these security questions

For any organization, public or commercial, security is a top priority when implementing any software solution. We’ve compiled some basic questions that should always be included in your software RFP template, regardless of the solution you’re buying. They target the important areas of cloud-based deployment such as the location of data storage, data ownership, and how upgrades will be rolled out. We go more in-depth into the reasoning behind each of these questions in our 5 keys to buying software-as-a-service webinar.

  • Where will my data be stored?
  • What are your security policies?
  • Do you use encryption in-transit and at-rest?
  • Who owns the data?
  • Do you back up data? How often and where?
  • Which cloud provider do you use?
  • Is your production environment separate from your development/testing/staging environment?
  • What is your software development lifecycle? 

Prioritize client experience, not just support

At Bonfire, we took a look at first-party data to understand common criteria weightings in software RFP templates. On average, those criteria weightings are:

  • 20% for the presentation/demo
  • 10% for the implementation plan
  • 10% for support/maintenance
  • 50% for the technical specifications

Although many organizations put emphasis on implementation and support in their software RFPs, most don’t consider ongoing client experience, which ensures you’re getting the most value out of your investment. Client experience goes beyond implementation plans and technical support, including things like:

  • An assigned Account Manager or Client Success Manager who will get to know your unique needs and challenges
  • On-going training so that users can become experts in the product
  • Support and training when new products or updates are released
  • Self-teaching opportunities, like in-app product walkthroughs
  • User conferences and meetups, in-person or virtually

Leverage national and local data and insights

When you create your software RFP template, you don’t need to start from scratch. As technology adoption and implementation continues to increase in the public sector, there is more data than ever before on how other organizations are structuring their evaluation criteria and weighting in their RFPs. Instead of searching Google for “software RFP templates” to get an idea of how your peers are structuring their solicitations, you can access best practice data from the start to ensure all your bids and RFPs are set-up for success.

But how do you gain access to the data that can inform your software RFPs? 

In our latest webinar, we introduced Bonfire Benchmarking, which provides procurement professionals with access to bid and RFP recommendations and templates surfaced from Bonfire’s library of 40,000+ competitive events. Bonfire Benchmarking provides procurement teams with national and local benchmarks on typical project timelines, evaluation criteria and weighting, vendor participation, and more. Watch the webinar to learn more.

About the author

Bonfire Blog Author Emily Lambert

Emily Lambert | Bonfire Interactive

As the Content Marketing Strategist at Bonfire, Emily writes thought leadership for procurement teams in the public sector. Best practices content for procurement professionals doesn’t have to be a chore to get through—which is why Emily strives to strike the balance of writing educational yet engaging content that inspires sourcing experts and equips them to make the best purchasing decisions.