Lisa Davis | Vice President, Global Sales Enablement
As the industry’s highest-rated support-services provider for Oracle, SAP, and Salesforce enterprise software solutions, Spinnaker Support receives and reviews multiple Requests for Proposals (RFP) each week from potential clients’ procurement departments. Given the number of RFPs we’ve responded to over the years, we’ve developed a solid understanding of which questions organizations should be asking to make an informed decision about their future service provider.
Because no two RFPs ever have the same questions, it’s worth sharing a bit about the variety of inquiries we receive, as well as what we need from a procurement department to quickly provide the most thorough understanding of who we are and what we’re capable of.
RFP Questions to Ask RFP Potential Support Providers
Occasionally, we’ll receive an RFP that’s missing questions that are necessary for differentiating between vendors.
To help you create the best possible RFP, our team has assembled 20 sample questions, including those related to security and vulnerability, that you should ask when beginning your RFP process for third-party Oracle and SAP software support.
The questions below were designed to help you get to the heart of how vendors operate and what kind of service you should expect from them. The questions are grouped into broad categories, including staffing, support response, services, security, compliance, onboarding, contracts, and reputation.
- Is your 24/7 support staffed by regionally based support teams in North America, South America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Middle East, APAC North, and/or APAC South? Can you describe your global support model in detail? (The answer to this question speaks to vendors’ familiarity with your technology and how it’s typically used in your region and country. This information is especially important in heavily regulated industries, e.g., banking.)
- Are reported issues handled by a resource pool, or do you assign specific people to work on them? (A dedicated team will develop familiarity with your specific organization and systems over time. Moreover, it’s far more productive, and less time-consuming, to work with individuals who know your systems well and with whom you’ve built relationships.)
- Can you describe the tenure and retention rates of your employees? (This is vital to understanding the vendors’ employees’ experience levels and expertise.)
- What spoken/written languages do you support? (Critically important for multinational/global organizations.)
- How quickly does a qualified support resource respond to reported issues? (Time is money!)
- What is your escalation process? (It’s crucial for your support provider to not only understand that different support issues require varying levels of expertise, but also that they need to have an escalation process in place, to minimize downtime.)
- Can you provide and commit to bug/break fixes
- Can you provide and commit to support for customizations? (Not all vendors offer support for customizations, including Oracle. If your vendor refuses to support your customizations, you’ll be on your own whenever you have a support issue with any part of your software that uses customized code.)
- Can you provide and commit to legal, regulatory, and tax updates? (Not all vendors provide legal, regulatory, and tax updates, that may be critically important, depending on your industry.)
- Can you provide and commit to fixes that are necessary when upgrading my infrastructure? (When it comes time to upgrade your software, you need to know that your support provider will help integrate your existing data and customizations into the upgrade.)
- Can you provide advisory services for improvements and upgrades? (This is where experience can make a huge difference. Experienced technicians will know what works in various industries and applications, and can share that knowledge with you.)
- Do you offer extended services if we have additional projects or application needs, beyond the standard support contract? (Despite the most rigorous planning, something unplanned and unexpected will inevitably occur.)
- Can you describe your security and vulnerability protection solution? (Security is more important than ever before, and the range of existing threats will only continue to increase. Therefore, the importance of robust security capabilities is paramount.)
- What is your plan to futureproof my environment?
- Do you guarantee a more secure environment?
- Can you list your certifications and accreditations? (Software changes constantly. Up-to-date certifications and accreditations demonstrate the vendor’s commitment to keep up with the latest developments.)
- How does your company address issues and complaints related to quality?
- Can you describe your onboarding and archiving process?
- What are your typical contractual terms and conditions? How flexible are they, should our business conditions change?
- Is your company the subject of any litigation for the services described in your scope?
Your Next Steps
The 20 questions above are, of course, simply a starting point. There’s no standard RFP-questions template or RFP questionnaire that we know of, and you will likely need to add more questions based on your specific industry, application, region, service requirements, pricing, and so on.
If you’d like to see our answers to these questions, or other sample RFP questions, contact us today.