Cherwell IT Service Management Blog
Resources, Best Practices, and Solutions for ITSM Pros

Is the Service Desk RFP dead?

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Service Desk and RFPs
As a software provider, we receive a good number of RFPs from a truly diverse range of companies and industries so we were thrilled to have guest speaker Eveline Oehrlich of Forrester Research, Inc. share her thoughts on the relevance of RFPs when it comes to selecting a new Service Desk tool. Eveline is often called upon by Forrester clients to help, steer, mentor the selection process, and with 20-plus years of IT experience, well, she’s earned her stripes and thoughts.

Eveline shared some great advice during the webinar entitled, ‘Winning at ITSM Tool Selection: The RFP is Dead.’

Here are some top-line thoughts from Eveline regarding the Service Desk tool RFP process:

The problems with RFPs:

  1. RFPs slow down the progress – time consuming and resource intensive.
  2. RFPs don’t really help outcomes – they can yield unintended and undesirable outcomes as some vendors may simply pass on the opportunity because they just don’t have the time.
  3. RFPs don’t really help differentiate – they usually do not focus on visionary features, and newer products are often not considered due to viability and track record concerns.

Eveline recommends that we consider taking a new and different approach that she calls ‘Proof of Capability’ — a selection process organized into four key steps:

  1. Organize the selection effort – create a project charter; assemble the project team; define requirements; develop strategy and goals; etc.
  2. Narrow the field of candidates – refine requirements; identify candidates; determine selection scoring framework; secure a 360-degress view on what you’re looking for, what you really need, what will help your roadmap and what you want to achieve.
  3. Evaluate the best qualified candidates – create demonstrable scenarios; consider the flexibility of each vendor and ask yourself, are they going the extra mile to satisfy our needs?
  4. Decide and move forward – narrow down your list to three vendors: the one you really like, the runner-up and the wild card – the innovator.

So, what steps should an organization take in selecting a new Service Desk tool? Here are Eveline’s recommendations:

  1. Create a project team – this is key to making the process successful; make sure you have a 360 degree view from all who will touch and be touched by the new tool.
  2. Limit choices to three vendors for detailed evaluation – do your research; many vendors have good websites, Wikis, Sandboxes, etc.
  3. Think about implementation choices – don’t wait until the end; review a vendor’s implementation partners; Do you want to implement yourself or have a partner implement for you?; Do you want SaaS, on-premises or be able to easily switch between the two?
  4. Watch vendor behaviour during evaluation – play a psychologist and monitor each vendor’s attitude, behavior and the culture of the organization. This will mean a lot later on after you have handed over a cheque.
  5. Consider smaller, innovative vendors – many smaller vendors have great innovation, and they may be overlooked for more established vendors.

If you’d like to access the webinar featuring Eveline, you can do so now from the Cherwell channel on the BrightTALK network. Cherwell also offers a Software Selection Kit to help organizations with selecting a new Service Desk tool.  Enjoy!