You've been tasked with implementing a company-wide digital signage strategy. After some investigation on the web, you've narrowed your supplier options down to a manageable few. So what? Requests for proposals (RFPs) are essential to rolling out digital signage on a big scale. An RFP will help you communicate your digital signage requirements, objectives and timetable to potential service providers. It is common practice to send an RFP to anywhere from three to five potential suppliers (including the incumbent). They will then submit proposals outlining their qualifications, experience, and how and why they believe their product or service will help you achieve your project goals.
The benefits of drafting a request for proposal for digital signage
- Requests for Offers (RFPs) help standardize requests and establish the same framework for all proposals, which makes it simpler to evaluate the solutions proposed by your prospective suppliers and wins over any interested parties.
- When a request for proposal (RFP) is appropriately written, potential vendors may exclude themselves from consideration if they realize their solution won't address the issue. It helps you avoid pointless delays.
- The time spent on creating a thorough RFP will be well worth it in the long run, as it will prevent you from investing in unnecessary hardware or using a software solution that won't be able to expand with your digital signage needs.
Parts of a request for proposal for digital signage
You could be overwhelmed by the thought of putting together an RFP. However, put yourself in the shoes of those who have to do it. So, try to be brief!
It's a common misconception that the more questions an RFP has, the better. Your digital signage RFP doesn't need 25-character threads, but Game of Thrones may. Also, lengthy responses may slow down the evaluation process, so make it clear to your vendors that they won't be rewarded for writing you a novel.
Vendors will take you more seriously, finish your RFP, and do an excellent job if you can find a balance between keeping things quick and detailed. You'll have everything you need to make an informed judgment about which vendors are worth exploring.
To give you an idea of what you should cover, here is a rundown:
1. Overview of the Structure
The suppliers you work with may be unfamiliar with your organization, so be sure to introduce yourself. Not the kind of information someone can just Google or check up on LinkedIn. Provide a wealth of context so that your listeners may appreciate who you are, where you came from, why you exist, and where you want to go. Why? That's because it's essential for any potential business partners to fully grasp your beliefs before you commit to working together. Remember to keep it short since a CV is not your life story.
2. Overview of the Project
Try to think about the issue rather than how to fix it right now. The seller is responsible for it. If you give suppliers specific instructions, they may all come up with the same answers, but if you leave it free, they might come up with creative solutions.
It's essential to start with a crystal clear understanding of the problem you're trying to solve to get the most out of your digital signage. It will allow you to clearly articulate the issue to potential vendors and help them recommend the appropriate hardware, software, and processes to solve it.
It's essential to let vendors know who controls the project and whether or not an individual or a group will make decisions. Suppliers can better describe how they would fit into the picture if they know what you're looking for and how you plan to evaluate them if you can explain the process clearly.
It's essential to lay out the organizational structure of the digital signage management team so that everyone knows who will be in charge of the signage project in the long run and who will be handling the day-to-day tasks.
4. Project Objectives
Set both quantitative and qualitative benchmarks for success in your digital signage project. One goal may be to "increase the flow of information" inside the firm. That's a fantastic quality-oriented goal. To back up your success criteria, provide some concrete figures. It will aid supplier comprehension of your requirements and encourage them to give similarly detailed responses.
Demand that potential suppliers provide you with references and case studies from your sector or sectors with similar needs. They could even be willing to connect you with former customers.
5. The necessary hardware and software parts
If you plan on using more than one screen, you must let the vendor know where they'll be installed. Do you need software, or would you want a complete package (including hardware and setup)? The provider may bring in third parties if you insist on a complete solution. Before committing to any third parties, be sure you have all the details you need, including pricing. You may have unique hardware requirements, or the vendor doesn't support your preferred operating system (OS), or you have a preferred set of tools for data extraction that the vendor must also support.
If you don't know, it's essential to bring in someone who does know your network architecture and how digital signage integrates into it so they can ask the right questions about security.
Here, you may inquire about specific supplier details that will be useful in making a long-term choice. Prove to yourself that you won't outgrow your current provider in a few years and save the hassle of moving by asking for a clear roadmap on different features from your providers.
Verify the company's financial stability. If you're planning a large-scale deployment, the last thing you need is to learn that the vendor is about to go under. Inquire about the numbers, but be prepared to sign a nondisclosure agreement.
Having a firm grasp on your budgetary constraints regarding hardware, software and support are crucial. Consider the price of hardware acquisition, distribution and installation since digital signage deployment isn't the same as deploying software in isolation. It's essential to weigh the benefits of a do-it-yourself approach vs. a readymade one.
Find out how well the product is supported. You can ask for assistance if you need it. Always double-check to see if there is a price tag attached to the extra features.
Tell your vendors about impending deadlines, but only if they're doable. Keep in mind that the implementation time for digital signs will be greater than that of standard software-only solutions because of the need for hardware and software.
Conclude by writing a summary of your work. It will serve as a helpful overview in which you may highlight the most crucial aspects. Then, include this short synopsis in the first paragraph of your request for a proposal.