Cloud Computing Procurement

Step 1: Review the Procurement Process

Procurement refers to the process of selecting vendors, establishing payment terms, strategic vetting, selection, the negotiation of contracts and actual purchasing of goods, services, and other work vital to an organization.

A request for proposals or RFP is part of the procurement cycle. It provides an overview and background of the company, the relevant financial information, the define the requirements section, including availability requirements and business requirements, and the administrative information about the bidding process. The RFP specifies the type of contract that you wish cloud vendors to respond with (firm-fixed-price, cost-plus, or cost-plus-award-fee).

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A subset of the RFP, the statement of work (SOW), lays the groundwork for the project. It includes and defines all aspects of the project, such as activities, deliverables, and the timetable, and any relevant information on the existing technical environment.

Step 2: Review BallotOnline’s RFP for Web Services

For this stage of the procurement process, you will assume the role of the bid and proposal manager at a vendor providing cloud migration services for the AWS platform. Your final deliverable will be a proposal in response to the web application services RFP posted by BallotOnline.

Boilerplate language contains key legal provisions that can affect the enforceability of an RFP. It is important to have a basic understanding of boilerplate language and how it is used in an RFP.

You may want to review sample boilerplate language used in RFPs and RFP responses before moving on to the next step.

TAKE NOTE

Before beginning your proposal, fully examine the web services RFP posted by BallotOnline so you understand the project requirements, including security, financial, regulatory, and technical issues that will need to be considered in your proposal response.

Step 3: Identify the Key Components of the RFP Response

You have shared BallotOnline’s requirements with your colleagues, and your organization has decided to move forward with writing a proposal.

It is now time to identify the key components of an RFP response. Those components will include technical aspects as well as costs and personnel considerations. The financial proposal should outline all costs associated with implementing the technical proposal.

You should also keep the AWS features and offerings and cloud service provider (CSP) pricing issues in mind.

In the next step, you will start working on your draft RFP response.

Step 4: Mapping the RFP Requirements

It is important that your proposal addresses the specific details outlined in the RFP. You should create a two-column table breaking down your proposal to map to each component of the RFP.

Review the RFP from BallotOnline and prepare an RFP mapping document. Submit this document for review.

Two-Column Table Breaking Down Your Proposal to Map to Each Component of the RFP

This is an example of how you might map the RFP requirements to your RFP response proposal items. These are examples, and are not necessarily requirements that are in the RFP. You should review the RFP to obtain the actual requirements and create a table that is appropriate for your needs.

RFP RequirementRFP Response Proposal ItemThree years of experience performing cloud migrationsVendor ExperienceNo corporate bankruptcies, on-time vendor payment history, and audited financialsFinancial Qualifications99.99% availabilityService AvailabilityWeb servers with load balancing capabilitiesTechnical Proposal

How to Write an RFP

Every request for proposal (RFP) is unique, depending on the context and specific needs of the organization. However, most RFPs contain the following pieces of information (Peters, 2011):

  1. Organizational Information

This brief overview can include information about your organization and its operations, mission, culture, marketing/branding efforts, customer demographics, and strategic objectives.

  1. Project Description

The nature of the project, major components, key features, and available resources should be included. It is also helpful to identify how the project relates to larger goals of organization.

  1. Project Requirements and Objectives

Usually the longest section of the RFP, the project objectives and requirements, according to Peters, “define a successful outcome in your estimation.” It may include a list of required and desired features, description of any system integration needs, and preferred tools or systems. The more detailed this section is, the more accurate the cost estimates in the proposals will be.

  1. Budget

RFPs are used to obtain the best possible product or service for your budget. Therefore, vendors must understand the scope and budget for the project to develop an accurate, high-quality proposal (Kutcher, 2010).

  1. Deadlines

Important dates to include are the release date of the RFP, the proposal deadlines, when finalists will be notified, when the vendor will be selected, and when the contract will begin.

  1. Questions and Required Information

The RFP should specify exactly what information you need from each vendor in order to evaluate them. Including a set of questions for vendors to answer can help you obtain the information you need to select the vendor that is the best fit for the project.

  1. Contact Information

The RFP should include the points of contact (including name, title, responsibilities, and ways of contacting them) should potential vendors have questions. Also, it is in your company’s best interest to give every interested potential vendor equal access to project-related information. For example, if you provide an answer to a question from a bidder, you should make that question and corresponding response available to everyone simultaneously through the use of addendum published along with the RFP.

References

Kutcher, D. (2010). Don’t play the RFP budget cat-and-mouse game. Retrieved from http://www.confluentforms.com/2010/11/dont-play-rf…

Peters, C. (2011). An overview of the RFP process for nonprofits, charities, and libraries. Retrieved from http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-t…

Components of an RFP Response

This proposal contains the details that a company wishes to articulate to the RFP reviewers. It conveys an understanding of and interest in performing the deliverables specified in the RFP document. It generally contains information such as: a company profile; acknowledgement of the problems to be solved and client priorities; an outline of the work to be done; list of key personnel who will be involved in the project work; a general timeline; pricing policies; and references and contact information (Sant, 1999).

When developing an RFP response, it is also important that your response corresponds with all the requirements and specified format outlined and includes responses to all the questions listed in the RFP. Therefore, the specific components and their order will align to the specifications in the actual RFP.

Examples of potential components for an RFP response are specified below:

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Transmittal Letter
  3. Executive Summary
  4. Technical Proposal
  5. Cost Proposal5.1 Budget
  6. Project Plan
  7. Project Organization7.1 Organization Charts
    7.2 Key Personnel
    7.3 Staffing
  8. Company Qualifications8.1 Corporate Structure
    8.2 Experience
    8.3 References
    8.4 Disclosures
    8.5 Certifications and Guarantees
  9. Contract Management9.1 Performance Reporting
    9.2 Vendor Responsibilities
    9.3 Performance Standards
  10. Documentation
  11. Training
  12. Security

References

Sant, T. (1999). Create a winning RFP response. Sell!Ng, 3. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.umuc.edu/login?url=http://search.eb…

[company name]

[company contact information]

[company contact (student’s name)]

Response to Request for Proposal for BallotOnline Website Cloud Migration

(10-14 pages)

Date of Proposal: [date]

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Transmittal Letter
  3. Executive Summary (1 page)
  4. Technical Proposal (4–6 pages)
  5. Cost Proposal (1–2 pages)
  6. Project Plan and Organization (1–2 pages)
  7. Company Qualifications (1 page)
  8. Contract Management(1 page)
  9. Documentation, Training, Security (1 page)

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