RIP To The RFP Contract

RIP To The RFP Contract

It was the night before Halloween.

The proposal manager sat in front of the TV. Scenes from horror movies flashed on the screen, a kaleidoscope of colors reflected on his face. He was haunted by the day in the office. The horror of noncompliance for an RFP realized. The big proposal reduced to a deluge of pages in the trash can.

Here Lies The RFP, May It Rest In Peace

A nightmare of lengthy email chains and stacks of elaborate Excel spreadsheets. The time that he can never get back. The disappointment of his manager. Winning the bid was all in his head after all.

The trick or treaters passed by his window. The night was pitch black. The moon bright and full in the October sky.

As midnight came, the proposal manager became afraid of reading another RFP. A monster of complexity and questions, the procurement document gave him anxiety.

There Is A Better Way To Win Business

The proposal manager fell asleep in front of the TV.

He had a vivid dream of RFP digitization. Halcyon visions of the proposal management industry stepping into the future. The elegance of automation technology applied to reduce human error and increase efficiency. The power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Natural Language Processing (NLP) leveraged in a content analytics platform.

To understand the largest buyer in the world, the US government with data driven decisions. The opportunities were endless to ensure compliance. He could identify and address all RFP requirements in the proposal, create a compliance matrix and proposal color reviews.

Can pWin Be Increased by A Platform?

Was it true that a platform could increase pWin? The capability to accurately evaluate for bid/No bid and formalize the proposal process with a flutter of clicks. It was tempting for the proposal manager to see his proposal through the lens of content analysis. Dictionaries, acroseekers, QC readability analysis and RACI matrixes swirled around in his dream like bright stars.

He caught a glimpse of the Professional Document Analyzer (PDA). The platform that shredded and parsed the RFP so well it killed it. The RFP could no longer haunt the proposal manager if generating all the artifacts from the RFP to proposal was cut down from 111 hours by 98.2%.

Rest In Peace, The RFP Contract

The PDA saved the proposal manager from anxiety and stress. It made proposal management easy. The proposal manager enjoyed the precision of robust technology. The promise of innovation in a highly regulated industry. It was almost like the beginning of the content revolution. The way he could quantify and analyze content with just a few clicks.

He counted and it could free 1,436 minutes from his week. He could use those minutes to golf. Or take up Italian cooking. Get his weekends back. The possibilities were endless as he knew time is such a precious resource.

He stirred from his dream as he imagined drinking a martini or two by the pool after a round of golf at the club. The complexity of the RFP was dead, the demise of manually wrangled data and confused people in frightfully long email chains. It was a new day.

Happy Halloween from Scion Analytics!

Request For Proposal Timeline: 4 Stages In The Lifecycle

Request For Proposal Timeline: 4 Stages In The Lifecycle

The proposal manager flipped the RFP document on his desk. The procurement abyss stared back in the form of 1,427 pages dictated and curated by the US government. The day was long, the office chatter muted in the background. The minutes stretched into hours until his entire day was spent organizing 1,000 questions for the project’s needs. The proposal manager knew to miss a detail is to fall out of compliance. To risk rejection was to risk reading another RFP.

The proposal manager wondered how such a procurement document came to life.

To draw the parallel of an RFP as an organism with anatomy and systematic parts is to pose the question of how an RFP comes into existence. Like most complicated things, the lifecycle of an RFP is a wonder of logic and organization.

4 stages In The Lifecycle Of RFP

  1. A Concept of a Partnership-The concept of an RFP begins when a complex purchase is needed by companies, governments, and other organizations. Just like in living organisms, a successful RFP leads to a partnership. Its purpose is to allow buyers to compare features, functionality, and price across potential vendors. It is in the buyer’s best interest to make this document as clear as possible. As an idea making its way into the world, the RFP should inform the vendors about the purpose, goals, evaluation criteria and additional requests for the project.
  2. The Act of Creation-Crafting an RFP document is an art of asking good questions. From a dozen questions to hundreds, RFP comes alive on paper as a highly inquisitive document. Some of the key questions for an RFP include competitive analysis, implementation process, customer support and available references.
  3. The Socialization of the RFP-At its nature, RFP is a collaborative document, it interviews different vendors for the project. After vendors have submitted proposals, a preliminary evaluation begins with a shortlist of vendors. The shortlist of vendors is judged upon weighed criteria in the competition. To manage a circulated RFP, vendors use endless email threads with Excel and Word documents attached. It is a dated method to wrangle both people and data, complex moving parts in email. The professional document analyzer (PDA) is designed as a transformational platform to make proposal management easy. No more email chains, just clean matrixes for compliance.
  4. The Graduation of the RFP– After assessing vendor compatibility, the compliance of proposals and the needs of the project, the RFP graduates from a procurement document to a contract. The vendors are informed of the decision and given feedback. A new partnership is formed with the winning bid and the project is sent off into the world to be executed.

Power Of PDA For Perfect Proposals 

The lifecycle of the RFP reflects the stages of development of a project from an idea to a contract. The RFP as a sophisticated organism is a creature of complexity and detail. The same level of organization should be reflected in the proposal. Use the PDA to make proposals come alive without error or bulky emails.

The Anatomy of an RFP

The Anatomy of an RFP

The RFP As An Organism

A small corner office stands empty. The clock marks long hours in the foreground. On a desk, a proposal manager leaves the stacks of pages of request for proposal (RFP). To be exact, there are 1,427 pages, each section fixed by Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) adding hoops of compliance. There are lines upon lines of words designed to drive up competition among the bidders. The US government is the largest buyer in the world. Yet, the purchasing power leaves the proposal manager alone to face a complex document with a lot of information and stress.

For proposal management to be made easy, a creative glance at an RFP can make a simple analogy to the human body.

RFP Anatomy

Much like in an organism, there are certain functions that are vital to survival. Likewise, in an RFP, sections C, L, M when done well increase the probability of a proposal being accepted. Given that 84% of organizations still use a manual process to manage RFP responses and 28% rely on spreadsheets, the RFP process becomes daunting like a body pushed to exhaustion. The secret to a better RFP process? A transformation to RFP automation. The time the proposal manager spent reviewing those 1,427 pages could be cut by 98.2%, freeing extra minutes and hours for the weekend. Research has shown that 16% of teams use RFP digitization to instantly improve proposal management.

Executive Function Of Section C

The executive function of the RFP is Section C, the description/specification/statement of work. In this section, the proposal manager will find what the agency wants from the contract, how you plan to fulfill the contract (labor and supplies). It also touches on the proposal’s choice of materials and value proposition of the bidder. Logical reasoning and attention to details are found in Section C as it relates to labor conditions, security clearances and specifications for the contract. The statement of work is the brains of the operation: what you will do, how you will do it, and how the government wants you to do it.

The Lens Of Section L

The government is not immune to visually stimulating proposal responses. When it comes to Section L, the eyes of the RFP, appearances make a difference. Section L has rigid requirements about submitted proposals. Section L details include font and formatting, organization of the material, and proposal delivery. A deviation from Section L could cost the bidder the contract. Even the best proposal if poorly visually presented can be rejected due to the aesthetic specifications of Section L.  

Gut Feeling Of Section M

Section M is the evaluation factors for award. It outlines the main factors that will be considered for an award. As part of the RFP anatomy, section M can be likened to a gut feeling. It takes the requirements of Section C and compares it against the proposal. For some inexperienced companies, there is a big gap between where business is and where the company wants it to be. Asking the company some critical questions about the proposal process can improve the quality of the bid. For example, “Do we have good odds of winning?” or “Can we really compete?” An intuitive assessment by looking at the requirements of the RFP and checking in with your company can increase your win rates in the long run.

The RFP is a complex and nuanced organism much like the human body. A look at the anatomy of the RFP reveals its vulnerabilities to human error and need for digitization.

 Example Of PDA Compliance Matrix

Welcome to the Content Revolution: Proposal Managers, Digitization, and Bid/No Bid Assessment (BNBA)

Welcome to the Content Revolution: Proposal Managers, Digitization, and Bid/No Bid Assessment (BNBA)

A Day In The Life Of A Proposal Manager

As a proposal manager, you are responsible for the future of business development of the organization. A stack of RFPs flutter about your desk. Time is moving past deadlines and management constraints. Each RFP demands copious hours of reading and highlighting, a complex document with a purpose, process and flow.  When RFP is the question, the response is the answer. An opportunity to tell the narrative of the organization. As a proposal manager, you want to tell the story well. With tremendous effort, you do the mental calculations and information gathering prior to drafting a response.

A response that might not even be competitive.

RFP Meets Digitization

At Scion Analytics, we choose the path to victory with the organization of non-obvious details. While proposal managers and their teams can take 24 + manual hours to create a BNBA from an RFP, the Professional Document Analyzer (PDA), a content analytics platform, can cut that down to 3 minutes with no macros or coding required.

Just 3 minutes for a proposal manager and colleagues to look and make an informed decision about an RFP. Days if not weeks closer to a win. A simple click of the PDA to join the content revolution.

That is 1437 minutes freed from your week to be spent on other opportunities.

This solution revolutionizes proposal management by increasing the speed and accuracy of RFPs processed by the organization. Copy and pasting is a practice of the distant past. The PDA shreds the RFP and automates the process. It reduces human error and increases efficiency.

To Automate Or Not To Automate?

Manual Method

Before the content revolution of the PDA, to generate the RFP BNBA with the manual method, it was:

  • Inefficient
  • Time-consuming
  • Error-prone
  • Frustrating
  • Tedious
  • Non-compliant
  • Expensive

Automation

The PDA uses rapid automation to generate the BNBA used in the RFP process that:

  • Improves accuracy
  • Exponential time saving
  • Innovates
  • Reduces Risks
  • Improves accuracy

You cannot copy and paste your way past the competition.

This is the future of business development, a simple concept with sophisticated results.

How Does PDA Improve BNBA For Bid/No Bid Decisions?

Prior to the pursuit of every RFP, there is a formalized bid/no bid process. What is a formalized bid/no bid process? It is a time for individuals from different departments to organize and answer important questions about the potential bid. For example, a company might consider what impact in terms of resources and operations would winning the RFP have on the department. Is the organization able to support the award? Are there sufficient personnel to deliver on this opportunity? And from an operations standpoint, is there enough organizational skillset to benefit from this contract?

These questions are consulted on by leaders chosen from teams, departments, teaming partners, and subject matter experts (SME). These experienced leaders search the RFP for keywords and terms relevant to areas of interest. Incredulously, leaders copy from the RFP and paste their areas of interest into an Excel or Word document. More painful is the fact most leaders focus only on their own areas of interest and with multiple leaders reviewing the document, there may be conflicting areas of interest.

Overlapping areas and errors make the manual process of creating a BNBA subjective whereas the PDA makes the BNBA process objective, with an agreed upon dictionary of terms and common concepts.

Other government organizations agree, digitization is a revolutionary solution for proposal managers. As the BNBA becomes liberated from human error it enhances and elevates human ability to make accurate recommendations and decisions; critical in the Bid/No Process.