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Businesses The Almighty Buck

Getting the Right Request for the Systems On-Hand? 15

Techmaniac asks: "As a newly minted employee at [insert org name] I have been tasked with creating an RFP to secure a vendor for helpdesk/sysadmin services. Currently, we have a single individual that does all the relevant tasks for a small organization of less than 100 people. My boss has explained that the needs are for onsite helpdesk, backend support, systems admin but that she doesn't know what or how much the current person does on any given day. Having done (using the term loosely) some of this work for a smaller org, it is possible for me to create an RFP for the company. I have been here such a short time that I wouldn't want to miss any of the important tasks, nor would it set my tenure off to a rousing start. Has anyone else been in this situation? Do you have any insight into the mandatory RFP inclusions for a vendor provided sysadmin, helpdesk work? Is it within this document to dictate how many people should be onsite for the task and what can be accomplished remotely?"
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Getting the Right Request for the Systems On-Hand?

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  • by HotNeedleOfInquiry ( 598897 ) on Monday November 14, 2005 @10:10PM (#14031443)
    And tell your boss you don't know where to start. You're a new employee and you're not expected to know everything. There's a possibility that your boss reads slashdot. There's also a possiblity that you won't get good advice. In any case, tell her that you're confidence level with your ability to do this task is not high and you may need some help.
    • Really. You're being asked to help can a person that's probably doing a fine job, and likely result in higher costs. If the person doing the job is well liked, you can count on you not being be well liked when word leaks out on how it went down.

      Further, it sounds like you've stepped into a snakepit in terms of software politics and hidden agendas.

      Good luck.

      • In all honesty, this sounds a lot like an internal "hatchet" job to me. I'd be all for getting rid of the handgrenade. As the previous poster noted, you will likely NOT be making any friends if you "get someone fired". The reality of the situation notwithstanding, I'd be very curious as to why they have such a new person tasked with such an important project "out of the chute". You have not even had time to get a feel for what is needed, much less be able to write an appropriate RFP or RFQ for the neces

  • You've got the work orders for the last, say 6 months, right?

    If the person is documenting their job, as they should be, it should be easy to find out what/how much they are doing.
    • Re:Documentation (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah right. Chances are the single person is too busy to keep up with the requests, let alone formally documenting what is happening. (Why else would management want to invest in a solution?)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    . . . unless the individual who does all the work now reads here. Go ask him, he knows. In fact, delegate or get your boss to delegate the task to him.
  • he's busy... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Malor ( 3658 ) on Tuesday November 15, 2005 @01:11AM (#14032394) Journal
    If you have one person to support a hundred people, he's running his ass off, and probably doesn't KNOW what he does in a day. He's probably badly overworked.

    Considering that you're being asked to do an RFP, they're probably not happy with the job he's doing... he's probably not wise enough to ask for the help he most likely needs.

    Once you get to several employees, you can scale way past 1/100, if they're good. But early on, it doesn't work like that. That first person has to wear so many hats that there isn't much time to streamline and specialize.

    If the current employee is competent, you'll almost certainly be better served adding a person than by outsourcing. And expect to add a third person around 200. After that, play it by ear.
  • Ask the Gartner Group. They have a (surprisingly, for them) insightful document called "Creating RFP's for fun and profit - Document ID R-950-131 It will only cost you $995 and will teach you *everything* you need to know about creating RFP's and executing on them. On any kind of sizable project the approach they suggest will save you between 20% to 45% in purchasing costs, and it will make sure all relevant stakeholders are included. Personally I believe Gartner are a bunch of wankers, too far stuck up t
  • Is the current one insecure?

    Seriously, why have a vendor at all? Just hire a decent sysadmin and a decent support engineer.

  • Thanks for the recent posts. I have been ambigious in case the support guy does read /. We actually have less than 50 users to support. It's the same as most other places, in that there are clueless individuals that need fulltime tech handholding while others nary a bit of attention.

    Yes, part of the problem is limited experience in writing up an RFP (long time ago in a galaxy far far away...). My thoughts have centered around a full-time hire, but the existing support was an outside contractor who provi
  • I used to write RFP's, both in a Very Large Corporation and the Department of Defense. The magic words are "and other tasks as assigned". Weasel words exist for a reason, put them to work for you!
    If the respondent is leery of the (potentially unlimited) amount of work you're asking for, you still have good options. First, include a bound in terms of man hours - "the current workload is approximately 40 man hours per calendar week, and will not exceed 45 man hours per calendar week". Second, include a "t

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter