Knowledge Management RFP Best Practices to Ensure Success
1. Goals First
Start with your goals first. What are your strategic objectives? For example, match the leader in your industry or a titan in another industry? Become the best-ever customer service company? Who are the personas that are going to be using the solution? What problems do they have that you are looking to solve? For example, the personas for a contact center knowledge management solution may be the contact center agent, knowledge author, contact center business head, and the end-customer.
2. Set metrics
For example, it could be a 25% acceleration of agent speed-to-competency, 20% improvement in First-Contact Resolution, a 15% improvement in Net Promoter Score, or a 10% reduction in cost of service, assuming you have a methodology to measure all these metrics.
3. Get inputs
Get inputs from all the personas on requirements across features, usability, architecture, connectivity with existing systems, infosec, etc.
4. Look at breadth and depth of capabilities
Look at breadth and depth of knowledge management capabilities across content management, profiled access, intent inference, search methods, including guided search, conversational and process guidance, knowledge analytics, and easy integrations with systems of record. Look at underlying technologies as well. Does the vendor leverage Machine Learning (ML), AI, and natural language understanding (NLU)? Does the vendor offer a one-stop knowledge hub that orchestrates all these capabilities seamlessly?
5. Say no to knowledge silos
While a hub unifies knowledge management, point products create chaos. A multi-vendor approach that cobbles together various technologies will create context and content silos and islands of automation.
6. Be specific
Be specific in your questions. Do not leave room for ambiguity in responses.
7. Out of the box or a multi-year project?
Look at whether or not these capabilities are available out of the box. Beware of toolkits from do-it-all vendors that require extensive programming and customization work to try to match capabilities from best-of-breed providers.
Look at what you need now and what you may need 1-2 years from now to meet evolving requirements.
9. Score vendors
Break down each capability into features and if you want, assign weights to all the criteria. There are some generic RFP tools in the market that make it easy to score vendors.
10. Check domain expertise
Don’t forget to check the vendors’ domain expertise. Are they going to learn at your expense or are they going to add value from day one with their expertise? How long have they been in this domain? Have they solved corner cases?
11. Look at track record
Check their track record of knowledge management success with enterprise clients in the form of business value created, time to value, and scale.
12. Go beyond “checked boxes”
Ask for a no-charge production pilot with free guidance to make it a success with no strings attached. For example, eGain puts skin in the game by offering just that with a program called “Innovation in 30 days” for KM. This kind of immersive pilot can often be a complement or even be a better approach than getting misled by paper-tiger vendors that simply check boxes in RFP responses!