The process of creating a Request for Proposal (RFP) is tedious for everyone involved. Often overlooked is how difficult it is to prepare the actual questions included in RFPs, particularly for work related to intelligent intake.
From the jump, it’s a complex task, starting with what to name the RFP. Most companies refer to these projects as Data Capture or Intelligent Document Processing. A good tip: if your process involves a human/person who has to read, parse, scan, or review documents before they can be sent to another person who has to read, parse, scan, or review them to copy and paste key data elements, you are looking for an intelligent intake solution. Intelligent intake is a form of Intelligent Document Processing.
From our vast experience submitting proposals for intelligent intake projects, we have compiled tips for companies to save them precious time and enable them to land the best partner for the job.
Let’s dive into how to structure your RFP to increase your chances of success.
Related content: Sample intelligent intake RFP
Focus on a solution that extracts the data out of documents with speed and accuracy, not outsourced manual processes or custom software from consultants
Companies are forced to weed through a variety of responses from AI consultants offering to build a product for them, business process outsourcing vendors who attempt to throw headcount at the identified problem, or legacy technology vendors trying to force fit OCR, RPA, and workflow documentation solutions into a space that that requires machine learning and large language models.
Business process outsourcers (BPOs) offer to provide high volume manual tasks for large companies. This can save money, but the process can be slow and inflexible when changes are needed. Consultants also offer process automation solutions, but they tend to propose custom software solutions and can be more focused on documentation than actually solving your problem.
The key is to find a solution that can actually solve the problem. You want to make sure that the solution extracts the data out of documents with speed and accuracy. This means finding a solution that can efficiently and accurately extract data from a variety of document formats. By adding questions to RFPs that weed out BPO’s and consultants and focus on solutions addressing this specific problem, businesses can find the right intelligent intake solution to streamline their processes and save time and resources.
Add criteria that guarantees that your own SMEs will own the entire process, not just the data extraction
Next ask the question: Can we own the process? Often, vendors will ask customers to send them the data that they want data extracted from, but this does not allow for the nuance of document understanding. The proper solution should enable your own subject matter experts (SMEs) to own the process so they can effectively automate the process, not just the data extraction.
Don’t settle for a company who takes a brute force approach asking you to send them 500 documents. Be sure to add questions in your RFP that discuss this topic and enable you to find a vendor that will review model results with you, discovering similar fields, or even new fields of interest. That way, your SME can own the process and simply add fields and update the model themself in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months.
Ask all of the technical questions – really – all of them
When it comes to technology deployment options, the best way to get your technical needs met is to be specific as possible in your RFP questions. You will make a more informed decision by drilling down and asking very specific questions such as:
- Can you deploy in our virtual private cloud (VPC)?
- Do you offer a managed hosting solution?
- How is security handled?
Furthermore, ask about the vendors’ OCR choices, language support, and expertise in Large Language Models (LLM). Your team shouldn’t have to be responsible for monitoring tech advancements outside of your industry. The right solution will include a team that has expertise in these areas to help you stay at the forefront of AI-enabled intelligent intake.
Specificity will help you stay ahead of the curve, without exposing your company to technology that’s not enterprise-ready.
Consider future use cases to identify a long-term partner for success
Lastly, ask if the solution is flexible and scalable for your company to grow and change. You don’t want to have to contact the vendor every time you are ready for a new use case, so look for a model that scales with you.
Ask questions about how the intelligent intake vendor defines, builds, and deploys additional use cases, without incurring new software license costs. Think down the road in terms of capacity. Where are you headed? Will you need a different product as you ramp up? Are workflows or models going to be necessary? Look for a solution with no restrictions on the number of workflows or models created on the platform, allowing you to expand use cases and capacity without any limitations.
Your time is your most valuable resource. By following these recommendations, you can more effectively weed through under qualified vendors and identify an intelligent intake solution and team that understands all of your current challenges, workflows, and potential opportunities and who enables your own team to do what they do best while leaving the rest to the AI and data experts.
To make things easier, we have drafted a sample intelligent intake RFP.