What Comes First — The RFP or the Consultant? Some Helpful Tips for Corporate Lawyers not Accustomed to Formulating or Responding to a Request for Proposal

There is no one-size-fits-all template for a professional services RFP, and certainly not with regards to implementing a global records and information management program.  If you decide to use a template from your friends in procurement or one you find online, certain attributes should be included in an RFP when undertaking a project of importance.   These are the basic steps I would take in phase one.  I am happy to confer with others on the wisdom or even shortcomings of this approach, on or offline.

  • Identify an advisor or consultant to assist with conducting a high-level gaps analysis on a fix-rate basis. The fixed rate is important because you need predictability of cost at the outset before getting approval to undertake a more broad, global project. There is, admittedly, somewhat of a “what comes first, the chicken or the egg” dilemma, but you need to define your scope and needs up front. A good gaps analysis should include a review of documents, processes, policies and procedures, and governance relative to records management compliance on the paper and electronic side of the equation.

  • A gaps analysis would produce a project definition document (“PDD”) that includes, among other things, (i) RFP template based on gaps/findings, (ii) proposed budget and financial model, (iii) analysis of reasonable alternatives (e.g., buy versus build), (iv) resource allocation, and (v) presentation with executive summary for management consideration and ultimate approval. With budget approval and a PDD in hand, you will be in a position to tailor your RFP to your specific need and efficiently entertain bids for work in this area.

  • The gaps analysis and PDD phase of a moderate to complex sized project should take no more than 2 to 4 weeks to complete, based on availability of company personnel (for limited interviews and kick off meetings) and documentation for due diligence.

  • When going through the RFP exercise, vendors should be subject to an agreed statement of work, and compensated based on achievement of milestones defined at the outset of the project. The statement of work also should be subject to a detailed project plan, with change management protocols incorporated to avoid “project creep” and performance outside budget.

Following this approach will not guarantee success, but will go a long way toward producing measurable results that are on time and in budget.

One Response

  1. […] For more see InsideCounsel.com and prior posts on the subject of RFPs.  […]

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