Make the process of finding a new intranet provider simple with an effective request for proposal document. Follow this digestible guidance to create an intranet RFP that communicates exactly what you need to ensure you find the right vendor and solution to match your organization’s objectives.
An intranet request for proposal, or RFP, is an organized process for finding the right intranet solution for your organization’s needs. Instead of spending long hours talking to every single vendor, a well-crafted RFP whittles down the very best so that only the top performers are in contention for your business.
However, to be most effective, your RFP needs to accurately communicate your objectives and expectations – otherwise you could waste time engaging with vendors that aren’t a great fit for your organization, and this is the bit that can be challenging.
Using an intranet RFP template will help you to ensure you’re providing all of the right information with sufficient levels of detail. This will ultimately make it easier to compile a list of suitable vendors from the responses you receive.
Before downloading and filling out a template, it can be beneficial to understand what each section requires and why you need to provide that information. You may also wish to create your own request for proposal from scratch, so keep reading for an outline of all the crucial elements to include.
- What is an intranet RFP
- Section 1: Scope of Project
- Section 2: Vendor Details
- Section 3: Required Features
- Section 4: Use Cases
- Section 5: Technical Review
- Section 6: Implementation and Deliverables
- Section 7: Pricing Structure and Plans
- Section 8: Additional Information and Declaration
- A Final Thought
What is an intranet RFP
Before we explore the granular details of what’s involved, let’s clarify exactly what we mean by the term ‘intranet RFP’.
Put simply, an RFP or request for proposal is an invitation for vendors to engage with your business when you’re looking to implement a particular product or service that they can provide.
RFPs are not exclusive to technologies such as intranet software; they are used to procure a range of business-to-business offerings (especially by public sector or government agencies) and may include anything from enlisting the services of a PR agency to appointing sub-contractors to clean schools or hospitals.
An RFP takes the form of a written document that is broken down into various sections, each providing specific details about the needs of the business and how the services of vendors responding to the request for proposal should fit those requirements.
The RFP may then be advertised on an industry portal or website so that interested parties can submit their proposals, or the party calling for proposals may have a shortlist of vendors they contact directly to send details of the RFP (this is typically what happens for intranet software).
Section 1: Scope of Project
The first section of your request for proposal should outline the scope of your intranet project, including an overview of your organization, essential information, your key goals, and objectives.
Begin with an overview of your organization, including its sector, business objectives, challenges, and products or services.
This sets the context for vendors, allowing them to respond accurately in their proposals with an understanding of exactly what you want to achieve.
For intranet software specifically, including details about the number of employees and where they work will be useful for respondents. You want a response that understands and speaks to the particular challenges your organization faces, and internal communication with your whole workforce is likely to be one such challenge.
Here you should clearly specify who vendors should contact for inquiries and proposal submissions.
It’s important to outline the minimum requirements for vendors, including their qualifications and experience.
Now you can emphasize the importance of keeping the request for proposal confidential to protect your organization’s sensitive information.
Remember to provide a timeline for the RFP process, including key milestones, from document issuance to contract award.
|1||Intranet RFP document issued to prospective vendors|
|2||Final date for vendor information or clarification requests|
|3||Submission deadline for proposals from all vendors|
|4||Phase 1 internal evaluation of proposals to be completed|
|5||On-site/online demonstrations to be completed|
|6||Phase 2 internal evaluation and face-to-face consultations to be completed|
|7||Final decision and approval internally|
|8||Contract to be awarded and vendor notified; contract negotiation initiated|
|9||Contract agreement and signing deadline|
|10||Planning and preparation phase of intranet project to be initiated|
It is not uncommon to have an additional stage within the process where vendors are invited to submit their intention to respond prior to submitting the final proposal. This will allow you to see in advance how many possible proposals you will finally receive.
Key Goals and Objectives
The key goals and objectives section is one of the most important elements of your RFP. This will help vendors to understand how suitable their solution is for your organization or how they may need to tailor their product if they offer customizable intranets.
This section should include:
- Business Need: Describe the specific business need that the new intranet should address. You may break this up into detailed paragraphs about the current and future state of the intranet. If you currently have a failing SharePoint-based platform that has minimal engagement and usage, this may be useful to state. It will help respondents tailor their content so that it speaks to the needs you have identified in wanting to move to a new solution that offers a more responsive, consumer-grade experience than the one you currently have.
- Organizational Objectives: Detail the objectives that the intranet should fulfill.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Identify and outline any measurable KPIs that will gauge the intranet’s success.
- Other Essential Information: Include any industry-specific requirements or considerations.
- Departmental Objectives: Highlight the needs of individual departments, locations, or workforce cohorts (e.g., deskless employees) within your organization.
|1||Example: Improve internal communication across all offices|
|2||Example: Create a streamlined compliance trail through the use of Mandatory Read functionality|
|3||Example: Increase staff productivity through an improved enterprise search tool that encourages users to self-service the answers to common queries|
Vendor Goals or Objectives
This is where you should encourage vendors responding to your intranet request for proposal to outline their strengths, unique features, and how you want them to meet your organization’s needs. If you require additional intranet services or consultation for any aspect of the implementation process (e.g., project management), laying out this information here can enable vendors with more expertise to shine against ones who offer software but little delivery advice.
Section 2: Vendor Details
You’ll want to get an in-depth understanding of every vendor that submits a proposal in response to your RFP. Creating fields for them to submit the following information will help you to understand their experience, suitability, and other essential details you will need to make an informed decision.
Vendors should provide information about their company, including its name, address, establishment date, website, and contact details. Are they recently established or a supplier with decades of experience? This can be an important consideration.
Vendor Project Team
- Identify the key team members who will work on the intranet project.
- Specify their qualifications, experience, and roles.
- Inquire whether the vendor will require involvement from any third parties during the project.
Previous Relevant Experience
Your intranet RFP should request information about the vendor’s experience in delivering similar projects, including case studies or customer testimonials. You may wish to give added weight to suppliers who offer customer case studies in industries similar to your own; this will be another point of differentiation in a crowded market.
It’s important to ask vendors to explain what sets them apart from competitors and why they should be chosen as your intranet project partner.
Section 3: Required Features
If you have done some research into what kind of functionality is currently available, you may already have a sense of the essential intranet features your chosen solution must have. Some of these features will be essential to the success of the project, so it’s critical to know at this point whether this vendor can deliver.
Encourage vendors to specify if these features are available out-of-the-box, through customization, or not available.
For example, achieving your business goals may require the following features:
- Advanced enterprise search that functions like consumer-grade internet search experiences
- Integrated digital signage that shows important messages on screens across all your organization’s locations
- Social intranet features that enable employees to connect and collaborate
- Multichannel communications to reach every worker on a range of channels
- In-depth analytics for measuring success
- Homepage personalization that increases the relevance of content each user sees
- Pulse surveys to gather employee feedback directly through the intranet
- A scalable employee idea management feature that allows all staff to share their ideas: and the organization to manage that flow in a predictable way
Unsure which features to include in your intranet request for proposal? Check out our comprehensive list of intranet features that any modern solution should include.
Section 4: Use Cases
Drawing on the project goals set out in Section 1, this section of your intranet RFP explores everyday cases or business scenarios where the intranet is used to support organizational goals.
Provide a detailed list of tasks you envision your platform being utilized to perform, including the features that will be used and the level of skill or expertise required to complete them. Make sure you leave a space below each use case instructing the vendor to respond to each one.
|Task 1||Example: Manage compliance processes|
|Employee and skill level:||HR employees with limited IT knowledge|
|Detail:||HR representatives should be able to post essential policy documents and alert employees that these are a mandatory read, linking to externally hosted documents where necessary.|
They will need to access information on who has accessed the document and send reminders to those who have yet to access it. There could be a ‘tick box’ option for employees to agree to the document or policy.
Section 5: Technical Review
This section should seek to address the primary technical requirements of the vendor platform.
You should encourage vendors to include additional information available around security, accreditation, or compliance, as well as any relevant certifications, including attached proof.
Security and Compliance
- Ask about the security framework used.
- Inquire about data encryption and compliance with IT security standards.
- Seek information on access control and data hosting.
Integration and Compatibility
- Request details on integration capabilities with relevant applications. What are the most important business applications in your organization, and can the intranet integrate easily with software such as Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, Workday, and others
- Ask about authentication options supported. It’s important to know details around single sign-on, and which systems of record (SOR) the intranet vendor already works with. Your own systems may currently run on Microsoft Azure AD, Okta, or a mix of alternatives. The intranet vendor will be able to state their compatibility with different systems.
Your intranet request for proposal should also inquire about any hardware requirements associated with the solution. If you ultimately choose a SaaS cloud-based intranet then this should not be a major factor.
Additional Technical Information
Allow vendors to provide any additional technical details they consider relevant.
Section 6: Implementation and Deliverables
Project Timescales and Deliverables
Your intranet RFP should outline the expected timeline and deliverables for the project, including planning, implementation, and post-launch phases.
If this is the first time your organization has created an intranet request for proposal, you may not have access to a relevant timeline. In that case, offer your expectations for the length of the project and ask the vendor to offer a preliminary guide.
|Week 1-3||Planning||Project kick-off and plan creation|
Planning and governance strategy
Structure, information architecture, and content strategy
Launch and engagement strategy
|Week [ ]||Implementation||Visual/brand design and theme development|
Homepage design creation
|Week [ ]||Build||Content build|
User profile management
|Week [ ]||Launch||Content author and administrator training|
Launch campaign initiated
Product training for users
|Week [ ]||Post-launch||Ongoing account management and support|
Section 7: Pricing Structure and Plans
This section is for vendors to give a clear explanation of pricing structures so you can understand the investment required. Ask vendors to provide a breakdown of pricing criteria and variables, providing as much detail as possible.
- Ask vendors to detail their pricing models.
- Inquire about deployment options and any associated pricing differences.
Encourage vendors to outline any additional services or features and their associated costs when filling out the request for proposal.
This will include a breakdown of costs for various project elements.
|Project element||Cost breakdown|
|Set-up costs, including consultation and design, project management, initial training and support|
|Software costs for out-of-the-box core features / selected modules|
|Customization or development work|
|Ongoing support including maintenance or software updates|
|Other (please state)|
Section 8: Additional Information and Declaration
This is where you can provide a space for vendors to include any supplementary information or attachments.
Evaluation of Proposals
Describe the criteria for evaluating the proposals you receive, including project requirements, vendor credentials, experience, references, and pricing.
Your intranet RFP should explain the declaration vendors must sign, emphasizing the importance of accuracy and confidentiality.
A Final Thought
A well-structured and detailed intranet RFP is crucial for finding the right intranet software provider. By following this guide, you’ll be well-prepared to initiate the procurement process and make an informed decision that aligns with your organization’s goals and objectives. Alternatively, you can use our pre-structured intranet RFP template to help speed up the process!