Request-For-Proposal (RFP) process for Employee Communications Apps

Over the last 18 months, I have been fortunate to be able to observe multiple large enterprise navigate the RFP process for an Employee Communications App. Here are my top tips:

  • Spend time developing the documentation for the RFP while you are still researching the market, to enable you to select the best App for your business. We provide templates to our clients that include a list of technical requirements (architecture, data, and security), and functional requirements (communication, IT, employee engagement, central digital hub, and partnership requirements).
  • Complement the RFP documentation, by developing specific `Use Cases’ that the Apps will address via a branded demo. This is the most effective way to understand what the future state user experience will be for your employees.
  • If you have completed the Digital Discovery process then you will already have a recommended short-list of Apps to take into the RFP. Senior leaders may also ask you to complement that list with other Apps that they have had relationships with, or experience of, in other businesses.
  • Build a project team for the RFP that will also be the team who will support you through the implementation phase, to ensure ownership and continuity. Key stakeholders include the App Executive Sponsor, App Owner, Communications Lead, Change Lead, IT Lead, Operations Lead, HR Lead, Procurement Lead, and Project Manager.
  • Align with the project team the process to score/rate each App.
  • Be mindful of behaviours that you may encounter throughout the RFP. IT teams tend to favour their incumbent tech stack to solve all issues whereas operations, HR, and communications tend to be more open to specialised vendors that specifically address their needs. Ensuring you have broad representation across all stakeholder groups will ensure that you select the right App for your organisation.
  • Be very clear on the integrations that you require from the successful App and where the cost sits to deliver those integrations.
  • Most organisations that we work with create a simple URL from the landing page to all other applications. It is quick, simple, and low-cost.
  • However, others surface information by creating I-Frames. This requires technical partner set-up and ongoing maintenance that can be expensive.
  • Be clear on the resourcing that the App will provide on the ground in-market. 
  • Ensure that you understand the App Product Roadmap and future release dates. Future products may come with an additional cost, and you should negotiate their inclusion.
  • The RFP process itself takes 3-4 weeks to complete (based on availability) but after selecting a preferred vendor, there is an additional 3-4 weeks required to complete the Security Documentation and the Contract. This final step often drags out due to the availability of legal and procurement resources within your organisations who are managing multiple projects.
  • Once contracts are signed, the Implementation process can begin and takes 14 weeks to complete.