3 Steps To Writing An RFQ/RFI For LMS Vendors
Choosing the best LMS for your organization is much like casting a net into the waters and seeing who ends up in a mesh. After you catch all the candidates by narrowing down your must-have LMS features and calculating your LMS budget, the real work begins. It’s time to submit RFQ/RFI to find the LMS that meets all your requirements and helps you achieve the desired outcomes. But where do you even begin? How do you get all the information you need to make a well-informed decision and avoid costly trial-and-error? Here are some top tips to write a Request For Quote/Information (RFQ/RFI) for tender purposes.
1. Identify Your Objectives And Desired Outcomes
The first step is to determine what you need from your new LMS. This allows you to custom-tailor your RFQ/RFI based on organizational goals and objectives, as well as identify how the LMS will fit into your online training strategy. Why do you need to invest in a new LMS to begin with? What do you need to accomplish in order to warrant the investment? Pinpointing your objectives and desired outcomes may involve a variety of tasks, from online assessments and surveys to on-the-job evaluations and current LMS metrics.
2. Draft An Initial RFQ/RFI
Now that you’ve determined the objectives and outcomes for your new LMS, meet with your team to draft the initial RFQ/RFI. Let’s take a closer look at the RFQ/RFI formatting essentials:
a. Introduction/Project Summary
Include some basic information about your organization, including details about your online training project and contract specifications. This section of the RFQ/RFI should also cover the selection process and due dates. For example, the LMS vendor must send a proposal via email within a 2-week time frame. The key is to provide them with all the information you need about their product. You can also include a contact email if they have additional questions regarding the RFQ/RFI criteria.
b. System Essentials
Outline all the essential requirements for your new Learning Management System. This includes the key LMS features and functions you need to recoup your investment and maximize online training effectiveness. You should list any and all requirements to ensure that the LMS vendor understands your specifications. For instance, you must be able to integrate data from certain eLearning authoring tools or create interactive online assessments for your corporate learners. The deal breaker is in the details.
c. Project Scope And Organization Expectations
Outline the entire scope of your project, deployment timelines, and overall expectations. The LMS vendor should know exactly what your organization needs from the LMS system in order to achieve the goals. You can even include learner profiles and the individual online training materials you need to deploy.
d. Licensing And Hosting Preferences
Of course, one of the primary reasons to submit an RFQ/RFI is to determine the overall costs. As such, you need to include your licensing and LMS hosting preferences or requirements. Be clear about how much you’re willing to spend per user/per month for the new LMS platform or request that the LMS vendor clarifies their LMS hosting options and pricing structure if you don’t wish to disclose your budget.
e. Demo And Free Trial Criteria
Does the LMS vendor give you the opportunity to test out the LMS platform before you make a long-term commitment? Most Learning Management Systems offer a free trial or demo. In some cases, they’ll send out a trained tech who can walk you through the LMS features. Others allow you to download a trial version of the product for a certain number of days.
f. LMS Vendor Notes
Give LMS vendors the opportunity to directly address how their product will suit your needs. For example, they offer LMS features that go above and beyond your specifications. More importantly, LMS features that will help you achieve your goals more rapidly and efficiently. This is their chance to provide their sales pitch and stand out from the crowd. Invite them to share the unique benefits of their software, and how it will serve your organization.
g. Further Instructions For The LMS Vendor
Provide the LMS vendor with additional information explaining how to submit their proposal and other required documentation, such as an itemized breakdown of the operational costs. You can also mention how you will select the winning bid, by when, and how payments will be awarded. In addition, specify how long the chosen LMS vendor has to respond once selected. For instance, they must submit the finalized contract within 10 business days.
h. Contact Details
Include the name, address, email, and phone number of the primary point of contact within your organization. It’s also wise to reiterate the deadline and phone number for inquiries.
3. Finalize Your Request
Review your initial draft to ensure that it’s error-free and contains all pertinent details. In fact, you may want to invite other team members to proofread the RFQ/RFI beforehand. Verify that the contact information is correct, and that you’ve included the essential features and functions. Don’t forget to add a cover page to the RFQ/RFI that displays your company logo and name.
After LMS vendors submit their proposals, you might consider free trials and demos to try before you buy. In fact, test drives can be highly effective tie-breakers if you’re still undecided. Just make certain you have a list of criteria on hand to focus your efforts. For example, does the User Interface live up to expectations? Are there LMS features that you don’t necessarily need or others that are lacking? Is the reporting as robust as you hoped, or does the LMS provide limited analytics? The answers to these questions are critical to your final decision.
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