Writing effective proposals to find the right standards provider

Looking for a new standards provider? Make sure you get the full picture by optimizing your standards proposal.

Creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) to select the right standards management provider for your organization is no simple task. Where do you begin, what types of questions do you ask and how do you make sure you’ve covered everything important?

Our Techstreet™ analysts have responded to numerous RFPs in the standards industry and have become specialists on this topic. Below are some of their insights to help ensure you ask the right questions and get the most out of your RFP, so there are no surprises or regrets down the road.

  1. Share your total users

    When putting together your RFP, it’s important to not only list your office locations but also share total standards subscription users at each location. This allows standards management providers to properly size your account for royalties and prevent any small satellite offices from driving up the cost of your subscription due to a location-based pricing model.

  2. Cite your standards source

    In your RFP, you’ll want to include the list of standards content currently being used by your organization, and also be sure to indicate the source of the standards. In other words, do you receive your standards directly from a standards publisher(s) or a standards aggregator, such as Techstreet? This insight into content source will help standards providers develop an accurate quote for you, better understand the nuances of your portfolio and prevent confusion.

  3. Try before you buy

    Would you buy a new car without going for a test drive? Probably not. The same goes for a new standards management platform. Be sure to request a formal free trial of the technology for a few weeks so your organization can experience the breadth of product features and capabilities firsthand. Also, familiarizing yourself with the product can help you better understand the return on investment or true value to your organization from purchasing a particular subscription – something that price alone wouldn’t reveal.

    Sample RFP questions:

    • Can we have a formal demo of the product followed by a free trial?
    • How long does the free trial last?
    • Can multiple users access the free trial?
    • What key features should we pay attention to during the trial?
  4. Identify what you want to manage

    As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so think about the most important insights you need from your standards management platform. For example, is tracking enterprise-wide standards usage important to you? Do you need to see the activity of each individual user? Or maybe usage broken down by individual document is critical information for managing your program. Laying out your top concerns and data points of interest clearly in the RFP will help ensure you’re getting not only the tools you need to manage your standards subscription, but the insights as well.
    In case you overlooked something, it also helps to ask more broad questions like “What product features do Techstreet Enterprise customers value the most for managing standards and why?” This way, an industry-leading standards provider should be able to coach you on what you may need.
    Laying out your top concerns and data points of interest clearly in the RFP will help ensure you’re getting not only the tools you need to manage your standards subscription, but the insights as well.

    Sample RFP questions:

    • Does the platform enable us to analyze standards usage across multiple locations?
    • Can we easily assess usage on a per-user basis?
    • Can we see usage activity broken down by publisher?
    • How is your usage data delivered to administrators? Is delivery self-serve or must it be requested?
    • Is the usage data easy to understand? Can we download it for further analysis?
    • Can we easily harvest a list of documents in our subscription account?
    • How will we know if we’re using the latest version of a standard?
  5. Start off on the right foot

    To make the most of your purchase, your organization – big or small – should be supported with the appropriate onboarding services for all administrators and users. A top-tier provider is not interested in your purchase, but your organizational success, which only happens when you get the most from your subscription. Ongoing product training and education are essential to optimizing the platform features, which evolve with technology. Make sure you ask questions about what the provider offers in this area.

    Sample RFP questions:

    • Will you help us with the initial set up of our users?
    • Do you offer single sign on as a way to access the platform?
    • Do you tailor onboarding specifically for our organization?
    • Do you offer product training and how often?
    • Is the training live or recorded? On site or online?
    • Will you create a standards tracking list for us?
    • Do you offer priority customer care?
    • Is there technical assistance available in case we need it?
    • What other services do you provide customers?
  6. Don’t rush the RFP response time

    Giving everyone the appropriate amount of time to put a thorough response together is a must. This way, standards providers have adequate time to speak with publishers and negotiate the best offer for you. It usually takes about seven days to turn an average proposal around, but a complex RFP can take longer. We recommend giving the standards provider at least three weeks to prepare a thorough response.

Have questions? We’re happy to help you! Visit discover.techstreet.com to learn more.


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About Techstreet

Techstreet has been speeding delivery of standards content to engineers and other technical experts for more than 24 years through its partnership with more than 150 standards publishers worldwide. Techstreet offers more than 550,000 industry codes and standards, one of the world’s largest collections, through its  online store  and  subscription platform. According to leading information research firm, Outsell, Techstreet is the world’s fastest growing reseller of technical standards.