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When drafting a request for RFP documents from scratch, organizations often lack the time to customize in a way that really resonates with potential vendors. Similarly, service providers who are sending their RFP responses can benefit from an automated process that allows them to focus on responding appropriately to each RFP query – especially when they are responding to multiple RFPs.
Enter RFP Automation – a solution that helps both organizations receiving services and vendors providing them.
In this article, we will discuss what is RFP automation, what are its maximum benefits and what RFP processes can be automated.
What is RFP automation?
RFP automation is the process of creating, managing, and evaluating RFPs using automation technology.
Procurement teams use automation primarily through RFP management software, also called strategic sourcing software. RFP software technology relies on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to power its automation capabilities.
What RFP processes can be automated?
Numerous RFP process steps are manual and time consuming. However, RFP technology can help with automatic reminders, project management instructions, and stakeholder cooperation.
In general, these RFP measures benefit the most from automation:
- Stakeholder Needs Collection: Instead of manually sending emails to each stakeholder involved in the procurement process, RFP software lets you collect their RFP requirements to streamline your research process and save their feedback for future reference.
- Creating Seller Profiles: RFP software enables vendors to actively update their information, which is very useful if you have a vendor profile catalog. When you need to send a new request for a proposal, you will always have the latest seller offers and information at your disposal.
- Creating and saving RFP templates: Collect your RFP templates and queries to quickly and easily create new RFP projects without having to search and patch old RFPs together. You can save and categorize individual queries based on the type of receipt, or group the queries for technical information, security queries, etc.
- Sending RFPs and communicating with vendors: RFP software lets you select the right vendor from its database, issue RFPs, provide updates, and send follow-up notifications to vendors.
- Tracking the progress of the seller proposal: Always be aware of who is responding to your RFP by checking the RFP software dashboard instead of contacting each vendor and making inquiries yourself. This can significantly shorten and optimize your RFP timeline.
- Scoring Proposals: The RFP scoring process involves all stakeholders and parties related to RFP. It is a time consuming and potentially complex process that RFP automation can radically simplify. It takes an average of the scores manually to break down each proposal into its respective sections, to collect and collect feedback and to replace them all with a review of results with very little effort.
Advantages of RFP automation
RFP automation helps organizations that receive services and create and respond to more RFPs – an average of 43% more each year.
It also works wonders for vendors. According to RFPIO’s 2021 Benchmark Report on Proposal Management, when time savings made with automation are reinvested to improve response quality, service providers can reap the benefits of huge revenue growth.
Saving time through an efficient, automated process can create extra hours for both vendors and organizations looking to get their services, considering business opportunities or improving other processes.
RFP automation allows the establishment of an active process, in which technology handles most of the heavy lifting, while stakeholders and team members can focus on the quality of the actual material in RFPs and responses.
In short, the three most tangible benefits of RFP automation are:
- Save time and increase productivity: The impact of automation is most evident in productivity and time savings. While procurement teams spend less time doing routine tasks, they may focus on more value-added aspects of procurement.
- Better complianceNumerous emails, messages and spreadsheets are the standard fare when it comes to issuing RFPs manually. This creates so-called sealed knowledge which increases the risk of sending RFPs with false information. RFP Automation Tools focuses this knowledge through a collaborative environment in which procurement teams and stakeholders work together on RFP needs and queries.
- Data capture: According to Deloitte, 54% of those surveyed say that analytics will have the greatest impact on business in the future. Automated processes can collect data that allows businesses to evaluate their RFP ROI. With data capture, RFP software enables cost optimization and process efficiency. According to Piper Jordan’s study of RFP360, the company redirected to work processes more than 40 hours a week after implementing RFP automation.
3 Hints You need RFP automation
RFP is in abundance in favor of automation as we have established, but how do you know when you need to implement it? Here are three key pointers in moving forward with RFP automation.
1. Your services are becoming more complex
Companies whose product or service catalogs are becoming a comprehensive deal with complexity and tight RFP deadlines. To address this, they need a single location where they can store and find all valid RFPs and proposals.
The RFP Automation Library helps to collect and centralize all RFP queries for specific services and products. For vendors, it can be used to store their past winning answers they can reuse for future RFP responses.
2. You need more RFP (or more responses).
RFP software automation delivers high-quality RFPs and offers, depending on whether you are receiving vendor services or supplying them.
Automation software allows you to:
- Automatically enter the most relevant RFP questions or answers and quickly draft
- Collaborate in real-time and add automated workflows assisted by experts
- Use formatting templates to quickly brand your RFP or RFP responses
3. You have problems with compliance standards
If your business is bound by a number of rules and compliance standards, such as GDRP, HIPAA, FERPA, and others, RFP automation can help by automatically creating audit trails and providing users with access to the materials they need for their specific task.
By limiting access to sensitive data, RFP automation tools add a level of content control and visibility that greatly improves your risk management approach and keeps your content and information management processes ready for audit.
In addition, organizations can export and audit trail reports from RFP automation software on demand, rather than waiting for a response from the compliance team.
RFP Automation Techways
There are numerous benefits to automating your request for proposal processes, the most notable of which are:
- Increase productivity
- Saving time
- Improve compliance
- Capture valuable data
A number of RFP processes can be automated, ranging from tracking vendor proposals and collecting requirements to score them. RFP automation is especially advisable for businesses that require complex services, a growing number of requests for proposals, and a number of different compliance standards.
Andrej Vidovic is a content writer for the B2B Marketplace website DesignRush, writing on topics such as digital marketing, branding, business growth, website development and design best practice.
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