Ask Don: RFP

Don Hall, ECN's Director of Government Relations
Don Hall, ECN’s Director of Government Relations

“Our organization would like an emergency notification system, but we don’t currently have funding approved for the project. What do you suggest is the best course of action in terms of an RFI or RFP? Or should we consider an alternate method of collecting data from potential vendors?”

The funding commitment to purchase and sustain an emergency notification system for future years should be your first and foremost consideration as you develop the scope of your project. To get started in the right direction you should first develop the technical scope of work (SOW) that details the services that you wish to have included in your system. Use that Scope of Work to contact reliable vendors to provide you with a benchmark to begin your funding exploration with the available features and capabilities of different systems. The SOW may have to be revised accordingly in consideration of the available funds for the project.

An official Request for Information (RFI) should only be considered if you are not sure what technological capabilities are available to you in the marketplace. This process usually does not include any pricing from the vendor however it can make it harder for you to compare one individual proposal against the other. Often times an RFI is written very vaguely which leads to considerable variation in the submittal packages. If you do extend an RFI, it’s best to be as defined as you can in your SOW to eliminate any confusion for your review committee.

If your procurement policies require that you solicit competitive bids due to the cost parameters of the project, you will then want to conduct a Request for Proposal (RFP). The RFP process is time consuming for your project committee and your purchasing department. You will want to make every effort to ensure that the project can be funded, it is written with great detail, the RFP process is a correct decision and that it will assure you success before you begin this process.

Should you need assistance developing your technical scope of work, please contact us here or call 866-939-0911. We will be glad to assist you and we can provide you with a template RFP to help get you started in the right direction.

ECN opened up the opportunity for you to connect with Don Hall. Hall has spent more than 40 years in public safety so his emergency management experience makes him ideal for helping our current clients, potential customers and the emergency management community to interact with regarding the need and use of mass notification systems for state and local governments.

This platform was created to make your questions for Hall, heard. If you have anything you would like to ask him please click here to email your question and he will address your question directly, right here in our “Ask Don” blog.