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What you should know if you want to send an RFP for a CPM Solution

Nov. 18 2020 by Andrew Verow, Technical RFP Writer - CCH Tagetik

Performance Management

So your boss just told you that there’s budget available for you to develop and send an RFP for a new consolidation-and-close solution.  

“Great news!” you saywhile thinking, What the heck is an RFP and why am I sending it out? 

You wouldn’t be the first to ask that question – or the last.  

Here’s the quick answer: An RFP (Request for Proposal) and an RFI (Request for Information) are merely a series of questions sent to potential vendors to determine which one offers the best tool for your company to invest in.  

Think of RFPs as “interviews” in written format. You want each vendor to explain what functions and features can help you and your team to do your jobs more efficiently and with greater flexibility than your current solution. 

RFP or RFI? 

In essence, an RFI (Request for Information) is a “pre-RFP”. You’re asking some basic questions to potential vendors, but you don’t necessarily require granular detail right now.  

Start with some high-level questions. Some good RFI questions would be: Does your solution offer deployment options? Is it offered on the cloud? If so, is there different functionality offered versus your on-premise version?  

If on the other hand, if you have a pressing need or a limited window of time for a new solution implementation, an RFP is the way to goIn an RFP, you would include detailed functionality questions and likely a section regarding solution pricing.  

Here are three essential steps to getting on the right RFP path. 

1. Collaborate is key! 

If you fly solo during the RFP process, you increase the risk that it might crash and burn.  

That’s never pretty.  

So it’s essential to meet with your team as well as key stakeholders in other departments that will be using the solution or will be impacted by it 

What do they want out of it? What needs improving? What currently working well – and what isn’t? Does IT need to be involved? If so, how involved do they need to be? 

By gathering feedback and working through these questions, you will have a clearer picture what the needs – and opportunities are. 

2. Think of the big picture 

Before you dig into the details about what functionality you’d like to have in a new CPM system, keep in mind that a completed RFP should accomplish some key goals to be worth the investment. With that in mind consider two key questions:

1. Will the new solution cover the basic functionality that your current one has in its present or “as is” state?  

You don’t simply want a replacement solution. Your goal should be to obtain a new solution that is proven for the future and enhances what your current solution offers. 

  1. What will be required in order to get to the ideal future state in terms of both technology and process?  

Every change has a ripple effect. Consider what needs to happen in order to get maximum benefit from the new solution. That could mean enhancing existing technology to assure smooth integration or assessing your processes to determine if they will still be relevant with a new solution. does.  

3. Narrow down your vendor targets 

Who should you send the RFP out to for a Performance Management Initiative? 

It can be a challenge sorting through all the potential vendors, but there are some proven shortcuts. There’s a lot of online information about how CPM providers rank against one another in terms of functionality, ease of use, and other key categories. 

I recommend you take a look at Gartner Research to check out potential vendors. Gartner is a global research and advisory firm providing information, advice and tools for leaders in IT, finance, HR, customer service, support, communications, etc. 

Gartner’s “Magic Quadrant” reports provide companies searching for software solutions with unbiased insights. CCH Tagetik was listed as a Leader in 2019 Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Close Solutions and in 2020 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Planning & Analysis and has consistently scored high in terms of adapting to large companies with complex consolidation needs. 

Another helpful CPM research firm is BPM Partners. Every year, BPM publishes their “Pulse Survey”, which is a comparison of top-rated CPM providers according to various categories.  

Find a few top-listed vendors from each researcher and start compiling your list of questions.  

So what are some key questions to ask? I’ll explore that in the second part of this blog series posting. Stay tuned!

Learn how a leading solution could accelerate your finance evolution. Download the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Planning & Analysis and Cloud Financial Close Solutions here.

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