IT Presales Interview Questions & Answers – Part 2

I have already published Presales Interview Questions & Answers Part 1 in attached link . I would recommend you to visit attached link to read it. Here, i am going to write second part of pre sales interview questions. If you want to build your career in presales then i would recommend you to attend this training: Learn Presales Management – IT Solutions and Services

Presales Interview Questions

  1. Define Executive Summary in a RFP: What points you cover in this section? What is the word limit to it?

Tips: It is brief descriptions of the problem /objective and how our organization can help you achieve you goal and get rid of your problem, it will give background information, brief analysis and main conclusions. it is most important part of the RFP and will cover gist of the document. 

You generally get this information by sales lead, Account manager, Business manager or all of them contribute their share in making it impactful. We generally concise the word limit to 500 max. 

  1. Define your Approach/Methodology in a RFP.

Tips: It’s solution Architect’s choice which approach he will follow considering the scope of work. I follow an approach that has entire scope of work followed by solution of every specification with its requirements. We generally include Project Timelines along with every phase or milestones based on different frameworks like waterfall, Lean, SCRUM etc.

Presales Interview Questions

For e.g. I generally include below workflow on high level.

  • Requirements
  • Solution
  • Timelines
  • Assumptions and Dependencies
  • Cost
  • Deliverables
  1. What all tools you use for costing? Can you give example of any costing you have done in last few deals?

Tips: Generally Microsoft Excel is used for costing but in many organization they have excel based tools  to fix the contingency , margin , other cost  associated with finance to pop out the final pricing.  

  1. SDLC – Which one is better Iterative/Waterfall/Lean/Scrum?

Tips: For proposing a tentative timelines, phases and project delivery, Solution Architects always follow an Agile framework in their solution approach. Majorly these frameworks are designed for application development but these days SA’s use these models largely in managing any projects.

Waterfall Framework –  It is traditional approach in which you follow step by step in phases. First complete one phase before moving on to the next phase.

Lean Framework – In this model we follow features/Stages as milestone in project. We plan, build, test and deploy one feature before you do it for next feature.

Scrum Framework – In Scrum Model we need to plan, build, test and Deploy on delivering fully-tested, independent, valuable, small features /stages. 

  1. What is your contribution in any RFP?

Tips: Generally, Solution Architects work on many section like:

  • Requirement response/ Solution
  • Scope of work
  • Solution Approach
  • Risk and Mitigation
  • Governance Model
  • Assumptions
  • Cost
  • Pricing
  • Service Levels Assumptions (SLA)

 My contribution for any RFP cover all these areas.

Suggestion: Tell specific contributions that you generally do it for RFPs in your organisation. 

  1. Please explain how will you propose ROI in RFP for infrastructure outsourcing?

Tips: ROI means Return on Investment. It is a term that is used to measure performance and cost.  As I have mentioned in all my articles, Solution Architect needs to have a blend of technical and sales skills so that they can work a solution and showcase ROI to the client. It’s all about how you can convince the CTO/CEO and other stakeholders to invest in your project.  We can achieve ROI by re-architecting or redesigning your existing solution that will reduce the existing human’s efforts, Time, and TCO. Let’s take an example.

For example: Suppose we have 1000 database server that needs to be refreshed with new hardware because they are approaching end of life. We can propose database consolidation, Cloud or SaaS to reduce the number of servers from 1000 to 500 based on their potential candidature to qualify for consolidation. Further we can apply Automation to reduce the repetitive tasks that will reduce the total human effort. This way customer need to invest in on-premise to cloud migration with some  one time cost and within 6 months there will be visible ROI in monthly maintenance of services because we have already reduced total no of servers.

  1. Explain Onsite Offshore Model in IT industry?

Tips: The Onshore /offshore model is based on client requirement and SA proposed solution. This model is a mixture of onsite, offsite resources. The blend of onsite-offsite of resources provide the cost-effectiveness of the offshore model along with client representation at the onshore. The onsite resources fill in the crucial communication gaps and safeguard projects’ escalations if any.  The hybrid Onsite-offshore model, are very cost effective and popular in IT industry.

  1. Please elaborate “Table of contents” for any RFP?

Tips: For any RFI and RFP document building” Table of content” is one of the most important part. It’s always a discrete approach followed by solution architect how he or she prefer to design their response. However, in some cases client RFI and RFP clearly state the response document and strictly define the format, table of content and response which has to be followed by SA’s.

In general Table of content covers the following area:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Portfolio
  • Competitive Advantage
  • Requirement response/ Solution
  • Scope of work
  • Solution Approach
  • Risk and Mitigation
  • Governance Model
  • Assumptions
  • Cost
  • Pricing
  • Service Levels Assumptions (SLA)
  • Appendix
  1. Have you been part of Bid Complexity process? What’s was your role?

Tips: It is a team work, all organization spends lots of their energy in Analyzing the contract, the bid process, the margins, the profit and how they have competitive advantage with other bidders. The process is complex as a SA pays a pivotal role and providing optimum price for the contract. The Bid optimization covers rigorous efforts between margins and actual cost and the specified work.

Suggestions: Being in solution architect role I would discuss pricing with all stakeholders (Delivery, Sales , Bid manager , SA’s and Technical Architects )“How can we be more competitive with Margins” and based on our analysis we conclude or bid. Below are the questions which we discuss:

  • Are we getting reasonable profit post being competitive?
  • If being competitive and we lost money on the initial contract can we assume high possibility of getting follow on work with considerable amount of profit?
  • If being into Business (initial contract) with no margin will increase our chances to eliminate other bidders from any associated contract?
  • To bid or Not to bid? How it changes the probability of getting future deals?
  1. How will you differentiate between Team Structure and Governance Model?

Tips: 

Team Structure – In Organization employees are structured in different projects and category. The set of employees who will work on project together are essentially called as a Team. Based on their respective responsibilities the Team is structured to perform individual task.

Governance Model – Governance Model define power and its accountability in governing or management roles in an organization. The Model designate operatives who will set rules, procedures, and other informational guidelines. In addition, governance frameworks define, guide, and provide for enforcement of these processes.

  1. Difference between Incident and Problem in terms of ITIL framework?

Tips: An Incident is an event which could lead disruption of the services or Business.

Any problem which occur during Business Hours is considered as an Incident (ITIL Def.). A problem is the original cause that leads to an incident. For e.g. A website URL is not reachable as Database is down. This issue will be raised as in incident as it has disrupted the Business.

The actual root cause of problem was space issue in database. A problem may be something that could lead to the same incident occurring again, or lead to another incident entirely. A problem is the original cause that leads to an incident. For e.g. During maintenance hours due to some problem database was down, but it did not cause any service disruption hence it was just a problem that needed to be fixed.

  1. What is the difference between RFI and RFP?

Tips: Please read my attached article to learn about RFI and RFP.

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