It can be a challenge to write an electronic signature Request for Proposal (RFP) or Request for Information (RFI) that addresses all your immediate and long-term needs. There are many applications of the solution and endless opportunities for process efficiencies, cost-savings and revenue acceleration within your organisation.

So, where do you focus first?

My mantra is don’t boil the ocean – start by prioritising use cases by expected value. Ideally, you will partner with an eSignature professional who can provide a Value Assessment and identify business applications with not only the biggest ROI, but also the fastest implementation speed. These business areas where the solution can have the greatest impact are best for focusing your efforts and defining the RFP requirements most critical to your business.

Well, we’ve created the ultimate checklist for all of your RFP questions. But read on for some top tips before kicking off your eSignature RFP:

  1. Understand key objectives, dependencies and metrics for success of your electronic signature solution.

Before you even start down the road of an RFP, ask yourself:

  • What are you trying to accomplish?
  • Do you have a strategic initiative to drive down costs, streamline processes, and/or eliminate paper?
  • Are there specific deadlines, budget constraints, anticipated challenges and/or bottlenecks?
  • What type of ROI do you need to make DTM work for you?

A clear understanding of these questions is key to setting internal expectations including how eSignature will map to your organisation’s overall strategic imperatives. These answers will also lay the foundation for your RFP ensuring you address questions from across your organisation and help your potential vendors tailor a solution specific to your needs.

  1. Engage with key Business stakeholders to understand the business challenges you are looking to address with this solution.

Decisions on objectives, dependencies, and success metrics should not be made in isolation. If you plan on rolling out eSignature across several departments or processes, be sure to engage with the business owners and remember to start with those responsible for the highest value use cases. As each stakeholder lays out their priorities, there will likely be overlap in requirements, which will help you focus and refine RFP questions. A positive side effect of involving business owners in the RFP process is they become invested in and understand the benefits of driving a successful project.

  1. Work with key IT and Security stakeholders to establish requirements, which may help narrow the field of providers.

In addition to engaging key business stakeholders in the RFP process, it’s paramount to incorporate your IT and Security teams to help with your vendor evaluation. Your IT and Security teams can identify mission critical requirements and nuanced differences between vendors. In today’s business environment, companies require solutions that work with existing systems and offer always-on availability while providing the highest level of privacy and data protection. This is why engaging your IT and Security team in the RFP process is so critical.

  1. Include and prioritise any critical requirements for the solution, e.g. the integration with existing systems, industry-specific needs, and workflow complexities.

Engagement with Business, IT, and Security stakeholders will help you develop a holistic plan to ensure your eSignature needs are met across your organisation. Here are some requirements I frequently see rise to the top of evaluations:

  • Do you need to integrate with a CRM, ERP, CLM, Cloud Storage and/or Productivity application? If so, does the eSignature solution have pre-built connectors or does it require custom integration? Do you require an open or closed system – will it interface with any future software?
  • Is system availability critical to your business? If so, what is the solution’s availability track record? Does the solution provide visibility into uptime? When are the solution’s scheduled maintenance windows?
  • Do you require a global solution? If so, does the solution support sending and signing in the languages you do business? Does the solution provide technical resources in the regions you require? Does the vendor have expertise in relevant laws and requirements, which may vary by country?
  • Do your employees and/or customers need access to your eSignature solution via mobile devices? If so, does the solution support native mobile applications and multiple operating systems to enable the best user experience? Is the mobile functionality on par with the core solution?
  • Do you have complex workflows? If so, how does the solution support your unique workflow needs? Can a line of business manager create workflows or are IT resources required to do so?
  • Is the security of your eSignature solution important to your organisation? If so, can the vendor pass your comprehensive information security review? Does the solution follow best-in-class encryption practices? Does the company adhere to industry leading security standards?
  • Do you need an eSignature solution that enables compliance with regulatory requirements for your specific industry? If so, does the solution help meet these compliance needs?
  1. Partner with vendors to review your RFP questions and collect feedback on any potential gaps.

Working with an eSignature professional who understands your organisation’s needs to review your RFP questions can ensure you are prepared for the best evaluation. The success of your RFP process, and ultimately your eSignature project, starts with asking the right questions to find the best solution for your organisation. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Garbage in, Garbage out.” Partnering with vendors who can draw on industry experience, customer success, and thought leadership helps control the quality of input informing the set of RFP questions you need to achieve your desired outcome.

Ready to learn more? We’ve compiled a full list of sample questions to consider as part of your RFP: Digital Transaction Management and E-signature RFP Template.

We are here to help! If you have any questions about this electronic signature RFP template or require additional assistance with your RFP process, please contact us.