5 Mistakes of an IT RFP

RFP Illustration


Let’s be honest, writing an RFP (request for proposal) can be tedious. You may be excited to invest in a new IT related initiative, but you want to make sure you collect responses from quality companies that fit your businesses expectations. It’s important to construct them well. The better the RFP, the better the proposals, and good proposals lead to better working relationships, which lead to better outcomes.

You want to be able to communicate your needs as effectively as possible so as not to evoke any tepid responses that leave your company wishing it spent more time finding the right firm for the job.  Think about the detail’s vendors need to know about your project to bid accurately. Consider the questions you should ask to assess their capabilities. Through years of experience both writing and responding to RFPs we want to share five common mistakes made when writing an IT RFP, and how to address them:

Mistake: Failure to Share Who You Are


Provide a clear concise overview of your company: the service/products you provide, and what your customers expect from you.  Tie this into your needs from a vendor as well as an overview of your current state.  Include the technology you currently have in place as well as your employees’ range of technical aptitudes.  This will help your vendors better understand your needs, your strengths, and your shortcomings.  It can also help your vendors understand the framework in which they need to operate in order to provide you with a more fitting proposal of services.  The better the fit, the more successful your projects will be.  The benefits of doing this don’t only help your vendors either.  It will also force you to take a deeper look at your business to analyze what your current state actually is.  It will allow you to focus on the must haves versus the nice to haves.

Mistake: Unclear Expectations

Be clear on response requirements. 

  • Require an executive summary of your vendors stating their size, capabilities, and differentiators
  • State clear timelines
  • Date of RFP issuance
  • Deadline for vendor questions
  • Deadline for question responses
  • Deadline for RFP responses
  • Provide approximate timing for your decision as well a
    s when you want to kick off your project.

Doing so will not only ensure vendors respond on time but will also help you to stay organized and on track.

Mistake: Lack of Organization

Ensure that your RFPs are organized and concise: Start with an outline of topics and organize your questions/ requirements to this outline.  Make sure to get input for the outline and requirements from different parts of your business as to not miss critical or conflicting requirements.  This helps you ensure your business is aligned before project initiation versus during.  Finding out during the engagement can likely add additional time or even scope creep.  Also, be sure to include if your requirement is a must have or nice to have along with details on how to respond.

Mistake: Not Uncovering Vendor Differentiation


Ask questions on implementation: What does the vendor’s typical project team look like, how do they conduct projects, when can they can they start, can they provide a project schedule estimate, what is the cost and what is included in this.  While vendors can often provide the similar products and services, they can vary in implementation capabilities.  Also, if you need a vendor who offers more consultative services, asking about their project approach can give insight if they are the right vendor for you.  Do they include business analysis and requirements gathering in their proposal?  Or are they more “do as they are told”.  A good vendor will form a partnership with you and point out alternates that may be in your best interest.  This helps to ensure your users better adopt the change.  Also, be sure to indicate post-implementation support that you may need such as training and technical support.  Ensure your vendor has a chance to indicate what they can provide.


Mistake: Shortsightedness

Don’t focus only on the now:  Think of what you may need in the future.  While these may not be core requirements, allow your vendors to indicate what other services they can provide.  This

helps you select a vendor that you can grow with you.  A single vendor can often offer discounts for multiple services and solutions while streamlining your vendor management.  Dealing with numerous vendors for smaller projects complicates your internal business processes, from project management to invoicing and accounts payable.  Choosing a vendor that can meet a wider array of needs helps to ensure long-term adherence to your corporate strategy, ensuring more seamless integration of potential future technologies.  Establish a relationship with a vendor who can be your trusted advisor for your best chances of achieving success.

Again, the better the RFP is, the better the proposal your vendors can send in response. Now, you’re ready to get started! Feel free to use the example IT project RFP template we prepared based on this post and our experience.

To get your free RFP template please fill out the form below.

To Our Valued Clients

Today, after more than 20 years, I am proud to announce an updated brand identity.

Formerly known as “Dynamic Strategies,” our offering will now be branded, VelocIT Powered by DSi.

Why are we rebranding DSI?  2 years ago, a new leadership team was formed, and the company began an evolution.  The team sat together to discuss how to continue to proactively support evolving client expectations while providing IT Leadership where it makes an impact.  The plan started by asking our valued clients and prospects, what they wanted out of their MSP and how we could exceed those expectations.  From there, it evolved into a larger-scale analysis of our company, our industry, and our competitors. We did this to re-tool our approach and communicate our capabilities so our message and actions synced with our client’s evolving needs.


Darek Hahn

President & CEO


VelocIT’s unique managed service delivery model builds trust. Our goal is to help you grow your business through IT Leadership. From infrastructure to end-user support, VelocIT partners with you to meet the unique technology needs specific to your business.  Our integrated approach to Information Technology Support consistently reduces operational costs while increasing end-user satisfaction for our partners.

TOP 5 For Shopping Safe on Cyber Monday

Here is a great article for any of you that fear shopping online this holiday season.

Remember to shop safe and keep on top of your accounts, credit reports and above all “THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK!!”


Top 5 Reasons to have a TRUE IT Budget

Most of us are going through this fun time of year: Budget Cycle. Either you’re knee deep in it, have completed it, or are just plain ignoring it. Whatever your choice, here are 5 reasons to actually do it!

  1. Know the truth about your IT organization
  2. Prepares you for the questions
  3. Limits surprises
  4. Easier to obtain approvals if it’s budgeted
  5. Shows you are forward thinking and NOT reactionary

It’s been our experience that most smaller companies kind of “wing it” based on last year’s budget and some ideas of what they want to accomplish in the coming year.  Dynamic Strategies, Inc. are working hard on changing this method of IT Budgeting for our current and future clients.  We’re providing not only the IT Budgeting framework for our clients, but also an true IT Road Map.  This formal document and process drives not only the IT environment for our clients, but is also a tool for our clients to hold us accountable for our services.  Rather than just reacting to our clients needs we are driving the discussion, putting it to paper, and using this tool to enable our clients to succeed!

Below is a great article by a firm that focuses solely on IT Budgeting and Finance. Enjoy the read and reach out to us if your team would need help creating it’s IT Road Map!


TOP 5 Reasons why you need better IT documentation

The importance of better IT Documentation

We as IT professionals are always amazed when we see new clients we work lacking the basic documentation. The cornerstone of efficiency, resiliency, and adaptability all comes IT documentation.

Here are the TOP 5 Reasons why you need better IT documentation:

  1. Record Keeping
    The saying “if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen,” is often repeated in professional IT spaces, and with good reason. This
  2. Fast and Effective Training
    IT documentation doesn’t just mean incident reports and meeting notes. It means quickly getting new resources up to speed.
  3. Analyse your processes
    While documenting your processes, you will define standards of your services and products, and then be able to analyse the performance of existing processes.
  4. Consistency
    Anything that is done more than one time by more than one person in your company should be documented. You may have started out by “having everything in your head,” however when you begin delegating to employees, you must to ensure that they will be able to replicate your processes in order to provide the same level of service to your customers each and every time.
  5. It’s not in someone’s head
    The biggest danger is that someone who own’s a process leaves the company and now what…

Read below a couple of great articles about the importance of IT Documentation:

4 Reasons you need good internal documentation

Why you need to document business processes

Do you have an IT Strategy Road Map?

Why is it important to have an IT Strategy Road Map?

Our team started reviewing typical managed service marketing efforts (ours and others) and during this process we noticed one thing in common: Every provider was offering some version of the statement “We align IT with your business goals.”  This led us to ask these questions:

  1. What does this statement mean?
  2. If you do this, don’t you need to know the business goals?
  3. Are any of these providers (us included) really defining what this means?
  4. Even if they are, what does that look like?
  5. To our clients, what are we really selling?
  6. Most importantly, what are we all actually doing?

Ultimately, we concluded that NOTHING is being done!  It’s just a marketing ploy to get you to believe we care about your business.

We are going to change the way we do things and lead the industry in providing real value to our clients.

How does this look to you, our clients?

  • We will provide a written IT Road Map
  • We will review corporate goals every year
  • We will review IT infrastructure every year
  • We will create and ratify a written plan
  • We will calibrate the plan throughout the year as the business need changes
  • We will use this document to govern the budget and plan for the year

So, back to the original question: Why is an IT Strategic Road Map important?

Below are links to two articles that will tell you why this is so important for your organization. As our team reviewed what was being said and what was being done, we realized that many of our clients’ IT systems were not aligned with the priorities of their businesses.  More importantly, their IT systems were not a value add for their respective companies. If IT is always a “cost center” item and doesn’t provide a “value add” to the business, then we are all missing out on the opportunity to create any value.  By having a plan based on business goals from an IT perspective, organizations are able to align the two so to perpetuate as an increasingly important valued asset for each and every one of our clients.

Look at this article from CIO Magazine about the importance of an IT Strategic Road Map

Here’s what Gartner has to say about the importance of an IT Strategic Road Map

Patching; it’s no joke, just ask Merck and Equifax!

We are watching companies make some really poor decisions about how they maintain and keep their networks running.  In March both an Apache and separately a Microsoft patch were provided free of charge, just deploy them, that’s all you have to do.  For some reason many companies, most famously Merck and Equifax, although they were not alone, didn’t!  While everyone sees the impact for both of these companies in the press and in their image, what does it do to overall productivity.  Stories of employees sitting at desks, unable to access anything…  Tic toc and the dollars just roll out the door!

So, what should YOU know.  First, have your systems been patching?

Now read here for 5 things you need to know about ransomware.

Office 365 Migrations – other thing you need to know!

Companies are moving to Microsoft Office 365 a break neck speeds.  So, what is one of the pitfalls with moving this quickly?  Have you looked at your network and Internet bandwidth?  With most moves to Office 365 companies find their bandwidth suffers as no one planned that part of the migration.  Be sure to review your current usage and plan for your expected usage once the migration is complete, it will definitely change!  Read here about Network Design Best Practice from Gartner.  Although the article is a year old, the practices remain the same!

Top 5 Streaming Services and Their Impact on Your Business

Below is a link to a great article about the Best Live TV Streaming Services out there today:

Read More Here

Here are 5 better questions to ask concerning these services and your organization:

  1. What does allowing steaming video do your end users productivity?
  2. Do you know what service you ARE allowing?
  3. What is the network impact of these services on your network?
  4. Have you investigated the security impact of allowing these types of services?
  5. Does your network have the ability to STOP these services from being run on your network?

These are important questions you should be asking yourself as these service become more common.  Be sure to know what the impact is not only to your IT infrastructure but to your business as a whole, contact us today if you need help answering these and other IT related questions!

Microsoft Office 365 Migration End User Training

Dynamic Strategies uses one of Microsoft’s premer training partners to deliver our end user training.  With DSI you not only get the best technical migration plan, but you can also have one of the best end user training plans so you get the full use of Microsoft Office 365 beyond just the basics!

We are proud to partner with Netcom Learning, a Microsoft Gold Learning Partner.  Netcom Learning brings almost 20 years of training experience to bare on multiple technology fronts.  Read more here about how Netcom Learning can help your team improve their skills.  DSI and Netcom Learning together brings a team that cannot be matched!