Four steps to perfect services tenders

posted by Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden
7 October 2019

Putting IT or other third-party services out to tender can be a great way to develop a business, but it can be a delicate and complex process.

There are multiple aspects to consider, such as selecting the right provider, ensuring vital business processes continue as usual, and making sure every choice suits the organisation’s requirements.

Here is how you can seamlessly transform your business’ tender process:

1. Clarity is key

A lack of clarity when it comes to what is expected of third-party providers can cause unnecessary bumps along the way. When putting services out to tender, it is important to be very clear about the business’ exact requirements and any future processes that are required in order to manage the contracted service.

Before accepting a contract, it is also important to be clear on whether the prospective outsourcing business has the relevant experience in the suggested field of work. From ensuring alignment of the company culture to knowing how the supplier plans to deliver the service, it is important to source a provider who will complement the organisation’s individual business model.

2. Weigh up the costs

Creating a shortlist of potential providers should include a cost vs quality stage. This can be done by scoring their fees and responses against the business’ requirements, in order to ensure the best value for money. It is also wise to investigate whether flexible contracts and improvements to processes are possible and how the provider would adapt, in case the requirements change.

3. Always communicate

Effective communication is essential to ensuring that the transition stage goes as smoothly as possible when onboarding a new provider. Internal communication plans allow the current workforce to keep up-to-date on the changes occurring, while offering much-needed reassurance in a time of change.

Keeping key internal employees involved with the process especially where there is a staff transfer, through online communications and regular briefings  is critical to maintaining close contact and effective involvement throughout the entire process.

4. Look at the bigger picture

No matter whether a project is small or large, wider consequences will be felt throughout the business. Therefore, taking on external service providers should not be considered as an isolated change.

An example of this would be where the electronic digitisation and storage of documentation was a key enabler for the new service. Such an endevour would potentially impact the whole organisation and require people to be involved at an early stage in the change.

Accepting that all decisions will potentially lead to other changes will prevent against unforeseen problems cropping up in the future.

Thorough planning is required to help introduce third-party providers seamlessly into an organisation. Therefore, recognising the importance of clarity and the role of effective communication is the best way to ensure that the process of putting services out to tender goes ahead without disrupting your day-to-day business processes.

☛ Eman Al-Hillawi and Peter Marsden are principal consultants at business change consultancy Entec Si.

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