Three Most Common RFP Mistakes that Telecom Professionals Make
When pursuing organizational relationships with telecom vendors, it is important to go in with a complete understanding of the organization’s goals and objectives in order to reach an agreement that is beneficial overall. While it is important to know what is expected for the organization, it is also important to be aware of common mistakes that can be made throughout the vendor selection and implementation process.
One of the first steps in the organization’s interaction with the TEM vendor is establishing a Request for Proposal (RFP). An RFP establishes the foundation for the enterprise-vendor relationship going forward. Common mistakes made leading up to and during the establishment of an RFP include:
Underestimating the amount of work needed to execute when creating the RFP.
Organizations may fail to fully take into account system integration needs or outsource the proper amount of internal services. Before finalizing the details of an RFP, organizations should take an inventory of their telecom services. Assess what services may be covered under the relationship with the vendor, and ensure all services that the organization can effectively perform are being considered throughout the planning process for the RFP. If services need to be outsourced by the organization, ensure the organization has the proper support structures in place. Ensure the vendor can meet all of the needs of the organization – for example, does the vendor have an international presence? Can the vendor meet face-to-face? Can the vendor service both fixed and mobile telecom?
Improper scope of work to be performed/responsibilities.
Often, organizations fail to include the proper scope within an RFP because there are improper expectations of vendors in place from the start. It is important to conduct thorough research of vendors prior to establishing a relationship, including assessing the size capabilities and services offered, in order to determine the likelihood of a vendor’s ability to help meet organizational goals within a desired time frame. If a vendor does not have proper resources available to help meet objectives, consider rethinking the expectations and scope of the organization’s telecom project, or look at alternate vendors.
Failing to Right-size the Size of the Organization to the Size of the Vendor.
Many organizations run into issues when they select TEM Vendors based on services they claim to offer, rather than the services they actually offer. Additionally, organizations run into issues when selecting a vendor that is incompatible in size; for example, selecting a large vendor to manage a small set of services or a small vendor to manage a large set of services.
Not Addressing Terms of Non-Performance and/or Corrective Measures.
Part of the RFP process is establishing Service Level Agreements (SLAs) by which organizations expect vendors to abide. A mistake often made by organizations is failing to incorporate remedies for vendors for failing to meet SLA expectations. Organizations should be sure to implement these remedies at the same time as they are drafting the SLAs. This way, both parties will be aware of the ramifications that may come if the vendor does not meet these expectations, and organizations will have contractual power to work with should a vendor not meet expectations of the agreements.
Ashley Kelm is a telecom management industry thought leader exploring the impact of technology as a business accelerator and social capital enabler. Learn more about expert services to transform your telecom environment.