A often overlooked aspect of the RFP evaluation process is for the candidate to conduct an oral presentation / demonstration of their proposal. This can be a valuable way to
- further assess a candidates ability to deliver the proposed service/solution that may not have been presented accurately or precisely in the written response;
- where those requirements in the RFP could not be effectively conveyed or measured due to their subjective context;
- your shortlisted candidates are too close in the previous scoring round that a clear decision can not be made;
- allow candidates to demonstrate (or prove proof of concept) of the solution or technology is required, and
- assess the candidates bidding team, cultural fit and synergies of strategic alignment.
- The presentation process as part of the competitive RFP process is not the same as post tender negotiation (PTN) and it it not recommended it is treated as such but as a open platform for the candidate to emphasise key features and aspects of their proposal and supporting documentation.
If you have not already done so it is worth including a paragraph in your RFP document to cover such a requirement, even if you decide to to pursue such a requirement.
Each candidate will be given the opportunity to conduct a mid RFP bid presentation, it is agreed that the objective of this meeting is as follows:
- As an open forum to discuss queries raised.
- To update any changes or additions to the RFP document and process.
- To further discuss the business aspects of your proposal
- A demonstration your technical solution providing a basic user functionality against the scope of services proposed. [We] will provide a scenario script from which the candidate will demonstrate the solution.
Responses to RFP queries and any points of clarification will be copied to all candidates, if appropriate, but will not identify the originating candidate.
As with the proposal evaluation it is wise to evaluate your candidates in a consistent and measured approach so it is useful to develop a evaluation template similar to your RFP evaluation matrix.
Typically such presentations focus on the business aspects of the response that require clarification with a technical solution review held separately but I am a strong supporter of a technical solution review/demonstration as part of the presentation where there is a significant relevance and weighting of the technical solution, its delivery and support against the RFP. By reviewing the technical aspects of the solution the candidate will be able to demonstration to the evaluation team a proof of concept, basic functionality, usability etc.
Further technical aspects such as integration, code etc. (the in depth technical aspects) should be held as a separate meeting.
Often I have seen a different side to a candidate through a face to face presentation that they have failed to deliver in a formal document.
Areas of evaluation
There are two/three key areas that a presentation should address, these are the general aspects (a focus on the relationship interface and strategic fit), business aspects (a focus on operational and effectiveness management) and solution demonstration. The details within each of these areas will differ for every bid presentation but I have tried to cover, in a general manner, some core assessment criteria.
- General Aspects. This section allows the presentation panel to assess the candidates organisational focus, relationship model and strategic fit. Criteria should be developed with the proposal in mind but below are some points for consideration:
- Representatives are relevant to the service/solution offering.
- Has the account manager to be assigned to your account, should the candidate be awarded the contract, been brought along to the presentation.
- Relationship interface model is robust and aligns to your companies communication channels.
- Does it appear that the candidates representatives have reviewed the proposal prior to the presentation.
- Presentation has been customised to the service/solution offered.
- Strategic objectives alignment.
- Accountability of candidates account management structure.
- Business Aspects Of The Proposal This section focuses on the business aspects of the candidates proposal that requires further clarification or scrutiny and will be developed largely on the comments produced by the tender evaluation team or from omissions from the candidates proposal but some general points for consideration are the:
- Candidates ability to deliver the proposed service/solution and develop a program of continuous improvement.
- Candidates environmental management systems fit with your company.
- Ability to improve users experience.
- Candidates process for new product and service creation.
- Candidates business improvement/change management program.
- Ability to meet office requirements, SLA’s and measures.
- Candidate demonstrates understanding and ability to control TCO model .
- Candidates solution fit with your companies operational model.
- Credibility of the proposal.
Best of luck.
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