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When drafting request for proposal (RFP) paperwork from scratch, organizations typically lack time to customise them in a means that would actually resonate with potential distributors. Likewise, service suppliers which are sending their RFP responses can profit from an automatic course of that lets them deal with correctly responding to every RFP’s questions — particularly when they’re answering to a number of RFPs.
Enter RFP automation — an answer that helps each organizations procuring providers and distributors offering them.
On this article, we’ll focus on what RFP automation is, what its biggest advantages are and which RFP processes will be automated.
What’s RFP automation?
RFP automation is the method of finishing the RFP creation, administration and analysis duties with the assistance of automation expertise.
Procurement groups deploy automation primarily by way of RFP administration software program, additionally referred to as strategic sourcing software program. RFP software program expertise depends on synthetic intelligence (AI), machine studying (ML) and pure language processing (NLP) to energy its automation capabilities.
What RFP processes will be automated?
Quite a few RFP course of steps are handbook and time-consuming. Nonetheless, RFP expertise may help automate reminders, undertaking administration notifications and stakeholder cooperation.
Mostly, these RFP steps profit probably the most from automation:
- Stakeholder requirement assortment: As a substitute of manually sending emails to every stakeholder concerned within the procurement course of, RFP software program permits you to accumulate their RFP necessities to streamline your analysis course of and save their suggestions for future reference.
- Creating vendor profiles: RFP software program permits distributors to replace their data actively, which may be very helpful when you have a vendor profile catalog. When you’ll want to ship out a brand new request for proposal, you’ll all the time have the newest vendor providing and knowledge at your disposal.
- Making and saving RFP templates: Retailer your RFP templates and inquiries to create new RFP tasks quicker and simpler, with out trying to find and patching up previous RFPs collectively. It can save you and categorize particular person questions based mostly on the form of procurement, or create questions groupings for technical data, safety questions and so on.
- Sending out RFPs and speaking with distributors: RFP software program lets you choose the appropriate vendor from its database, subject the RFP, present updates and ship follow-up notifications to distributors.
- Monitoring vendor proposal progress: At all times pay attention to who’s responding to your RFP by checking the RFP software program dashboard as a substitute of getting in contact and inquiring manually with every vendor. This could considerably shorten and optimize your RFP timeline.
- Scoring proposals: The RFP scoring course of engages all stakeholders and events associated to the RFP. It’s a time-consuming and doubtlessly advanced course of that RFP automation can radically simplify. It takes away breaking down every proposal to its related sections, accumulating and collating suggestions and averaging scores manually to switch all of it with reviewing the outcomes with little or no effort.
Advantages of RFP automation
RFP automation helps organizations that procure providers create and reply to extra RFPs — 43% extra per yr on common.
It really works wonders for distributors, too. In keeping with the RFPIO’s 2021 Benchmark Report on Proposal Administration, when reinvesting the time financial savings made with automation into bettering response high quality, service suppliers can profit from a significant income increase.
For each distributors and organizations seeking to procure their providers, saving time by way of an environment friendly, automated course of can create extra hours to contemplate enterprise alternatives or enhance different processes.
RFP automation permits the institution of a proactive course of, by which expertise handles a lot of the heavy lifting, whereas stakeholders and group members can deal with the standard of the particular content material in RFPs and responses.
In a nutshell, the three most tangible advantages of RFP automation are:
- Time financial savings and enhance in productiveness: The impact of automation is most seen within the rise of productiveness and time saving. When procurement groups spend much less time performing routine duties, they’ll deal with extra high-value facets of procurement.
- Higher compliance: Quite a few emails, messages and spreadsheets are a regular fare with regards to manually issuing RFPs. This creates the so-called siloed data that will increase the chance of sending RFPs with mistaken data. RFP automation instruments centralize this data by way of a collaborative surroundings by which procurement groups and stakeholders work collectively on RFP necessities and questions.
- Knowledge seize: In keeping with Deloitte, 54% of these surveyed say that analytics could have the largest impression on companies in future. Automated processes can collect knowledge that lets companies consider their RFP ROI. With knowledge seize, RFP software program empowers value optimization and course of effectivity. In keeping with RFP360’s Piper Jordan examine, the corporate redirected over 40 hours of week to different work processes after implementing RFP automation.
3 indicators you want RFP automation
There may be lots in favor of RFP automation as we’ve established, however how are you going to know when you’ll want to implement it? Listed below are the three most telling indicators that RFP automation would simplify your processes.
1. Your providers have gotten advanced
Firms whose services or products catalog is turning into intensive cope with the form of complexity and tight RFP deadlines. To unravel this, they want a single location the place they’ll retailer and discover all of the permitted RFPs and proposals.
RFP automation library helps retailer and centralize all RFP questions for particular providers and merchandise. For distributors, it may be used to retailer their previous profitable solutions they’ll reuse for future RFP responses.
2. You’ve gotten an growing want for extra RFPs (or extra responses)
RFP software program automation delivers high-quality RFPs and proposals, relying on whether or not you’re procuring vendor providers or supplying them.
The automation software program lets you:
- Insert probably the most related RFP questions or solutions mechanically and construct a draft rapidly
- Collaborate in real-time and add automated workflows aided by consultants
- Use formatting templates to rapidly model your RFPs or RFP responses
3. You’ve gotten points with compliance requirements
If your enterprise is tied to quite a few rules and compliance requirements, similar to GDRP, HIPAA, FERPA and others, RFP automation may help by mechanically constructing audit trails and offering consumer entry solely to the content material they want for his or her particular work.
By limiting entry to delicate knowledge, RFP automation instruments add a degree of content material management and visibility that vastly improves your threat administration strategy and retains your content material and knowledge administration processes prepared for audit.
Additionally, organizations can export and audit path report from the RFP automation software program on demand, as a substitute of ready to listen to again from the compliance group.
RFP Automation Takeaways
Automating your request for proposal processes comes with quite a few advantages, most notable of that are:
- Enhance in productiveness
- Saving time
- Bettering compliance
- Capturing useful knowledge
Quite a few RFP processes will be automated, from accumulating necessities to monitoring vendor proposals and scoring them. RFP automation is especially advisable for companies with advanced providers, the growing variety of request for proposals and people needing to adjust to numerous totally different compliance requirements.
Andrej Vidovic is a content material author for a B2B market web site DesignRush, writing on such subjects as digital advertising, branding, enterprise development, web site growth and design greatest practices.
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