Tag Archive: process

  1. Our Approach to Application Development Consulting 

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    How Our High-Value, Purpose-Built Application Development Services Deliver Results Across the Board.


    When your organization requests IT consulting services from Core Catalysts, you can expect a highly intentional process that not only delivers results, but establishes a sustainable legacy and long-term success. 

    Core Catalysts knows that challenges such as application development require more than a consulting firm that “knows tech.” Taking many strategic steps alongside development gets you across the finish line, including:

    • Dynamic program and project management.
    • Effective business analysis and process mapping.
    • Key development resources.
    • Comprehensive application functionality.

    Core Catalysts provides significant expertise in IT implementation, but our robust services offerings turn application development into something larger: comprehensive process development. When we approach IT implementation, we also ensure that we make the best decisions on behalf of all stakeholders, while reducing costs and securing team member buy-in.

    A Core Catalysts Case Study In Application Development

    Our client is a globally recognized business that required our assistance with their goal to build a high-value, purpose-built application. This application modernization project would allow them to automatically allocate insurance premiums across their multiple properties. 

    Our initial assistance was focused on helping them to project manage the effort, which also included vendor management. In addition, this client needed a skilled resource that could aid them in gathering all the requirements necessary for the creation of this application. 

    Our Initial Recommendations: Project Management

    Core Catalysts assigned a seasoned project manager with significant experience in managing custom development projects. This individual quickly established a project timeline for the initial phases of the project, leading up to actual development. 

    Additionally, the project manager established the appropriate project governance that would help ensure the proper management of risk, issues, and changes. As part of this governance, and critical to the gathering of requirements, our project manager determined that a stakeholder analysis was necessary. This analysis identified all appropriate internal and external individuals and established their project needs (e.g., the creation of a RACI model to determine which team members were responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed).

    Implemented Business Analysis and Cost Reduction Solutions

    In addition, Core Catalysts assigned a highly skilled business analyst, who guided our client through the development of their application requirements. This individual leveraged the stakeholder analysis and initiated interviews and workshops that allowed the stakeholders to discuss their needs and expectations. 

    This business analyst carefully documented the requirements using a proprietary “traceability matrix” that helps to link business, functional, technical, and testing requirements together. After the business analyst reframed this data in a logical and consumable format, they validated the information with the appropriate stakeholders. 

    Application Development Consulting Begins

    Upon completion of these efforts, the requirements were provided to the application development vendor that the client selected. This vendor provided our client with a timeline and cost estimate to complete the application. Unfortunately, the timeline and cost associated with the development of this application was significantly longer and significantly higher in cost than our client had anticipated. 

    Intimately familiar with the application’s requirements, Core Catalysts took the opportunity to provide our own cost and timeline estimate to the client. Our estimates were significantly less than those of the other vendor. Because Core Catalysts had already established trusted working relationships with the stakeholders and had intimate familiarity with the requirements, the ramp up time to development was significantly reduced, thereby lowering costs as well.  

    A Highly Efficient Timeline 

    Our client selected our proposal to build this high-value purpose-built application, including development work on the initial phase and an MVP (minimum viable product). Our work commenced immediately.

    Because our client valued our ability to respond quickly to their needs, they requested that Core Catalysts not only host the application, but also provide ongoing maintenance and support.

    Within three months our client was able to interact with the initial build of the application. Within six months, our client was able to start using some of the initial functionality within the new application. At the nine-month mark, our client had a complete and operational MVP that provided them with the foundational elements necessary to properly allocate insurance premiums across all their properties.  

    Successful Application and Process Development 

    As the MVP phase came to a close, the trusted relationship that Core Catalysts established with our client was still flourishing. Our ability to execute and deliver on their requested product gave them the confidence to move forward with phases two and three of the project. 

    Core Catalysts is currently working on phase three, continuing to provide additional application modernization and functionality for our client. We provided immediate results and value for both individual users of the application and our client’s entire organization.

    4 Reasons to Partner With Core Catalysts For Application Development Consulting

    This case study illustrates our application and process development success. This success can be broken down into four essential qualities that separate us from other business consulting firms. 

    • Seasoned program and project management talent: Our team’s experience ensures we honor project timelines, reduce costs where possible, and expediently and efficiently deliver application functionality.
    • Effective business analysis and process mapping: We provide highly-skilled resources to gather business and functional requirements, and fully map the application development process. We offer a deep understanding of technology, allowing us to initiate technical requirements, as well as associated testing requirements, such as quality assurance. 
    • Robust development resources: Core Catalysts provides clients with a blend of onshore and offshore resources for the development of the application. This ensures that communication, critical in the development of a custom application, is effective and consistent. We also provide clients with balanced cost models, allowing applications to be built in a cost-effective manner.  
    • Exceptional application functionality: We ensure that your application meets all your functionality requirements, including application modernization. Ultimately, with Core Catalysts’ help, your application will meet or exceed your requirements, so you can use this new resource efficiently and sustainably. 

    Core Catalysts exists to resolve your challenges and deliver results that are yours for the taking. If your team requires application development to modernize your processes, improve organizational efficiency, or deliver any other key metrics, contact our team


  2. The Core Catalysts Approach to Program and Project Management

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    Get to Know the Key Differentiators That Help Our Clients Succeed.

    Your business initiatives require objective, targeted leadership to ensure your organization meets or even surpasses benchmarks. You want to see strategically driven progress in action and feel the assurance that only an expert program and project management consulting firm can deliver.

    Core Catalysts takes a client-focused approach to program and project management that meets your needs for an actionable plan that gets results. Our work on your behalf is powered entirely by a desire to see you succeed in the short- and long-term. 

    A Veteran Take On Program and Project Management

    To meet your program and project goals, we adopt agile methodologies, including:

      • Transparency: As business consultants, we are accountable to you. We earn your trust with comprehensive reporting, updates, and unmatched communication and professionalism. Although we are dedicated to taking the reins on any business initiative, it is always understood that our purpose is to provide exceptional service and expertise for your end goals.
      • Collaboration: We never approach a client with preconceived notions about how a program or project should be executed. We walk right beside you as a sounding board and support system to ensure your next initiative succeeds. When needed, we offer counterpoints from our experience in the spirit of helping you strive for excellence. We function well as a consulting firm that thrives in the marketplace of ideas, while remaining hyper-focused on getting your programs and projects across the finish line.
      • Adaptability: Programs and projects evolve, bottlenecks may suddenly appear, and new approaches may be needed at a moment’s notice. Our flexibility, versatility, depth of experience, and resources allow us to problem-solve quickly and successfully. We believe that transformation can never truly be achieved without adaptations. We understand that flexibility is a part of program and project execution, not a hindrance.

    Although we pride ourselves on our ability to make an unparalleled difference for your business, we rely upon these time-honored approaches to program and project management consulting. We understand what works, based on our many wins for a broad range of clients in many industries

    Ethics, High Engagement, and a Seamless Connection to Your Team and Organization Along with transparency, collaboration, and adaptability, you can expect the following values and practices throughout the Core Catalysts management consulting experience:

    1. Diligence and engagement let you know immediately that our project management office (PMO) is fully invested in your success. We are fully accountable for our role in helping you achieve your business goals, while ensuring that you remain at the helm.
    2. Our ethics have made us a trusted name in business consulting. No business initiative can succeed without equity and integrity.
    3. When our PMO works on your behalf, your organizational culture becomes ours.
    4. Your teams and stakeholders want to feel included in our work. We bring tools, resources, procedures, and clear communication that allows actionable and highly effective inclusion in our PMO, so we can easily transfer ownership, engagement, and accountability to your team at the conclusion of our services. 

    Optimizations For Excellence

    Throughout our decades of experience assisting clients with program and project management, we recognized that we could add value by implementing a full suite of related services and solutions. We align program and project management with successful organization-wide optimizations.

    In addition to establishing a program and project management office, we also provide operational and executional excellence services, including:

    • Optimizations for expense reduction, margin improvement, and sustainable growth.
    • Operational improvement.
    • Process redesign.
    • Enterprise project management office (EPMO).
    • Value creation office (VCO).
    • Financial modeling and business reporting.
    • Data analytics and visualization.
    • And much more.

    Flash Case Studies: Our Successful System Modernization Projects

    To quickly get a sense of our depth of experience, we’ve chosen five clients that represent our work on system modernization and IT implementation projects from a program and project management consulting perspective.

    • Client: $Bn International Engineering and Infrastructure Design Firm

    Our role: Project and client lead, tech subject matter expert.

    Project highlights: We served as project and client lead and tech subject matter expert for the design, development, data migration, and integration for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and CRM solutions. This required significant data input and processing automation, as well as an emphasis on cybersecurity. Our team guided this $125 million project through implementation and adoption, addressing significant technology debt, growth and efficiency roadblocks, resource utilization, and more.

    • Client: $Bn Mining and Manufacturing Company 

    Our role: Project management, budget management, process mapping and engineering, and technical documentation.

    Project highlights: Core Catalysts served as the PMO lead on a three-year project to upgrade and integrate a modern ERP system. We provided full-life-cycle implementation, including testing, adoption tracking, and identification of change management and communication needs. This upgrade from a legacy system resulted in a highly significant tech transformation for this client.

    • Client: Multi-State Non-Profit Healthcare Provider

    Our role: Project management, business and systems analysis, proof of concept (POC) vendor management, and collaboration.

    Project highlights: Core Catalysts served as the process improvement and change management leaders for a full-scale IT adoption initiative. Our work resulted in effective, efficient multi-site, multi-state implementation of IT for core healthcare processes.

    • Client: $Bn Grocery Wholesale and Retail Organization

    Our role: IT planning, design and implementation lead, platform design and system integration, data architecture design and modeling.

    Project highlights: Our team led the design, development, data migration, and integration of an enterprise-wide electronic point of sale (EPOS) solution, while reducing technology debt and improving efficiency and resource utilization.

    Partner With Core Catalysts For Program and Project Management Core Catalysts is ready to take on your organization’s most critical challenges. However, you won’t feel that our recommendations and viewpoints are set in stone. Expertise brings confidence, and confidence means understanding the value of collaboration, communication, and flexibility. It means knowing when and how to lead. 

    When you seek out our program and project management consulting for system modernization or any other business need, you’ll experience the assurance that we’re a part of your team. We engage your key stakeholders to develop solutions that will endure long after our job is finished. We’re not here to present theories and ideas that can’t be recreated later. We’re here to help you develop lasting, sustainable change, so your business can thrive. That’s our commitment to you.

    Contact Core Catalysts today to learn more about how we can help you overcome your next big hurdle. 

  3. How to Construct an Effective RFP

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    How to Construct an Effective RFP:

    An Industry-Standard Approach to the RFP Process

    At Core Catalysts, we are regularly asked to assist department decision makers and procurement professionals with an RFP (meaning “request for proposal”) to support their purchasing decisions.

    We provide management consulting for our nationwide list of clients in critical industries, including insurance, healthcare, financial services, and telecommunications. Throughout our daily conversations with business leaders, we’ve observed most organizations need a strategic RFP approach that cultivates exceptional talent and services from highly qualified candidates.

    This article covers:

    • The definition of an RFP and its key stages.
    • How to refine your RFP for stronger results.
    • A sample table of contents and structure for creating an RFP.
    • Tables and matrices for communicating with a potential vendor and evaluation.

    Defining the Request for Proposal

    The purpose of an RFP is to communicate available funding for a project or program and to solicit bids for its implementation. This approach makes the process competitive and fair, and ultimately ensures receipt of a higher number of proposals. The organization that develops the RFP then evaluates the proposal submissions and determines the best candidates.

    What Are the Key Stages of the RFP Process?

    Each stage of the RFP process is an opportunity to encourage excellence from the bids you solicit. When an organization strives for strong communication and effort, they are far more likely to gather bids that meet their standards.

    Core Catalysts has identified this structure to generate dynamic bids and exceptional results from prospective partners:

    • Specification: The most critical stage in the process, specification involves identifying key objectives, explaining requirements and project scope, detailing how proposals will be evaluated, fielding questions, and ensuring contractual or legal considerations are clearly outlined.
    • Proposal: The organization releasing the RFP should determine the best channels to make their request public, including materials to market the proposal (e.g., a press release posted to your website, social media, and third-party industry platforms that prospective partners use to find new projects). An organization may also consider hosting a webinar, posting FAQs, and providing other informative materials to answer questions throughout the process.
    • Evaluation: During this stage, a committee from the organization meets to review the proposals. Subject-matter experts, those who will lead project implementation, and other important stakeholders who understand the project’s goals and scope are included in this process. The process is only as effective as the evaluation criteria you’ve established. Organizations usually refine their processes as they grow as an organization.
    • Implementation: During this final stage, contracts are signed, a kickoff meeting occurs, and the project is underway. Regular updates are typically required on a strict deadline. Your team and the contracted vendor should stress transparency and communication throughout the implementation process. A testing or quality assurance period should precede any final steps to ensure that the deliverables are up to standard.

    It is also critical to note that the RFP process is iterative; after project implementation, set aside time for evaluation of the entire process and make changes where applicable. When a new project or initiative arises, the previously discussed improvements should be implemented.

    If you’d like further help constructing an RFP or need help managing the RFP process, contact our consulting management team.

    Further Considerations: What Factors Might Companies Consider When Creating RFP Requirements or Questions?

    There are many refinements you can make to your RFP to solicit the results you’re looking for. The recommendations we’ve listed below also make the process more equitable by prompting responses that can be measured without subjective bias.

    1. Ask questions that allow you to objectively compare the responses. The question should be comparable through the defined decision criteria. For example, request metrics and a narrative that explains them (e.g., productivity, hours, costs, and more).
    2. Choose open and closed-ended questions for appropriate situations. If the answer is truly a “yes/no” response, simplify the process by asking a closed-ended question. Answers that require open-ended responses should be vetted through your decision criteria to see if they can be evaluated appropriately. For all questions, you can test-run their clarity by having them answered by people who aren’t involved in developing the questions.
    3. Discuss how questions should be phrased: Determine the technical complexity and industry expertise required to answer appropriately. Do the questions include esoteric terms that can only be answered by a few specialized people in your industry? If it is not required that the vendor has the same industry technical expertise in a subject, then questions should be reworded appropriately. Another way to support technical questions is to provide a term glossary.
    4. Weigh the importance of responses: Develop a plan that allows you to objectively analyze vendor responses. Divide closed-ended questions and open-ended questions into sections. Have the business unit leaders apply weights to questions that most impact their lines of business. This exercise is for both open- and closed-ended questions. When scoring questions, you can consider the size, level of effort, duration, quality, likelihood of occurrence (e.g., minimum, probably, likely), and other factors for that particular category. See Table 3 below for example categories.

    You can also consider the following rating system to determine weights:

    1 – Not important

    2 – Less important

    3 – Neutral

    4 – Important

    5 – Very important

    Scoring Rubric for Evaluating the Quality of Your RFP’s Responses

    Before you meet as a committee to evaluate RFP submissions, creating an evaluative rubric for scoring answers allows you to ensure a far more objective and efficient process.

    For closed-ended questions that require a yes or no answer to determine the vendor’s qualifications, apply the following score:

    1 – Yes

    0 – No

    For open-ended questions, apply one of the following scores:

    1 – Poor answer

    2 – Fair answer

    3 – Average answer

    Example Forms and Matrices

    Use or adapt the following resources to enhance the RFP process. These resources are courtesy of Core Catalysts, a Kansas City-based management consulting firm that works with nationwide clients across a range of critical industries.

    Table of Contents

    This table of contents provides a template for an RFP’s main structure, although revisions and additions can always be made based on your organization’s needs.

    1. INTRODUCTION………………………………………….. P.1-#

    1.1 Company Profile………………………………………………….x
    1.1A Description…………………………………………………y
    1.1B Products and services…………………………………..y
    1.1C Location and geographic area……………………….y
    1.1D Organizational chart and employee count……..y
    1.2 Department Responsible for RFP…………………………..x
    1.3 Background and Business Case……………………………..x
    1.4 Current Applications and IT Infrastructure…………….x
    1.5 Project Summary and Scope………………………………….x
    1.6 Objective of RFP…………………………………………………..x


    2.1 Schedule of Major Events and Deadlines (see example in Table 1 below)…..x
    2.2 Communication and Inquiries……………………………….x
    2.3 Preparation Expenses (Responsibility of Vendor)……x
    2.4 Preparation Instructions……………………………………….x

    3. VENDOR GENERAL INFORMATION……………………………………………… P.3-#

    3.1 Vendor Profile………………………………………………………x

    4. FUNCTIONAL REQUIREMENTS………………………… P.4-#

    4.1 Detailed Description on Systems Needed…………………x
    4.2 Current Statistics and Data…………………………………….x
    4.2A 6-12-month volume, spend, count, usage of needed services or products…..y


    5.1 Closed-ended questions……………………………………………x
    5.2 Open-ended questions……………………………………………..x

    6. PRICING………………………………………………….. P.6-#

    6.1 Pricing schedule instructions…………………………………….x

    7. CUSTOMER CONTACTS………………………………….. P.7-#

    7.1 Vendor Communications Table (see example in Table 2)…..x

    8. APPENDICES……………………………………………. P.8-#

    8.1 Appendix A. Term Glossary……………………………………….x
    8.2 Appendix B. Suggested Contractual Terms and Agreement…..x

    Table I: Vendor Communications

    Note: Specify a time zone either under each date in the table, or if the time is the same for all deadlines, indicate the time (also referred to as a timetable or calendar of events) and time zone above the table. For example: “All submissions no later than 11:59 pm Central Time Zone on date specified.”

    Task Date
    Initial issuance of RFP by Company [XX/XX/XX]
    Deadline for Vendors to submit questions to content of RFP [XX/XX/XX]
    Answers for all relevant questions posted by Company [XX/XX/XX]
    Deadline for submission of proposals by Vendors [XX/XX/XX]
    Initial evaluation complete. Vendors will be notified of selected finalists (first round) [XX/XX/XX]
    Vendor presentations scheduled with Company [XX/XX/XX]
    Company selects final Vendor for recommendation to the Board of Directors/Executive Team [XX/XX/XX]
    Contract awarded to Vendor [XX/XX/XX]
    Preferred commencement date of project implementation [XX/XX/XX]

    Table II: Example Vendor Communications Table

    (Note: If submitting with a partnered organization, please add communication information for the partner as well)

    Form B Information
    Primary Contact First Name Last Name
    Email person@companyxyz.com
    Phone (XXX) XXX-XXXX
    Address Address, City, State, Zip
    Description of services provided in Scope X Services; Y Services


    Form A Information
    Primary Contact First Name Last Name
    Email person@companyxyz.com
    Phone (XXX) XXX-XXXX
    Address Address, City, State, Zip
    Description of services provided in Scope X Services; Y Services

    Table III: Example Vendor Evaluation Matrix

    Categories Weight Final Score Initial Score Final Score Initial Score Final Score Initial Score
    Firm 5% 0.2 4 0.25 5 0.2 4
    People 10% 0.3 3 0.3 3 0.4 4
    Philosophy 5% 0.1 0.15 3 0.15 3
    Process 10% 0.5 5 0.3 3 0.3 3
    Portfolio 5% 0.2 4 0.2 4 0.25 5
    Fees 15% 0.6 4 0.6 4 0.75 5
    Performance 30% 0.9 3 1.5 5 1.5 5
    Systems 20% 0.6 3 0.8 4 0.8 4
    Other 0% 0 0 0 0 0 0
    Weighted Total 100% 3.4   4.1   4.35  

    About Core Catalysts

    Core Catalysts is a management consulting firm based in Kansas City. A results-oriented team, we benefit clients across the U.S. in many industries, including healthcare, insurance, financial services, and telecommunications. Core Catalysts provides services such as process improvement, product and service commercialization, revenue enhancement, financial modeling, program and project management, software selection, enterprise risk management, and business performance improvement.

    Key Contacts

    Jim Wadella
    Managing Member

    Matt Craig
    Senior Director

    Jeffrey Kupper
    Senior Director


    This resource is for informational purposes only. Core Catalysts, LLC does not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information, and the information does not constitute accounting, financial, investment, tax, legal, or other professional advice, nor are we suggesting the information replace such professional advice. Before making an important business decision, please consult a qualified professional.

    Works Cited

    “A Guide to Writing a Request for Proposal: How to let providers propose creative, relevant, and cost-effective solutions by focusing on the end, not the means.” Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC), n.d. Retrieved 16 May 2024 from https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.intix.org/resource/resmgr/files/shopping_for_a_new_system.pdf

    Andriyanets, Yulia. “Request for Proposal (RFP) – In the area of computer hardware/software/services.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 31 May 2010. Retrieved 6 July 2016 from http://www.slideshare.net/Mike97/request-for-proposal-rfp-in-the-area-of-computer-hardware?qid=a408d996-243f-42a8-8cf9-dfc46b8ec163&v=&b=&from_search=2

    Core Catalysts, LLC. miscellaneous proprietary documentation and methodologies. Retrieved 6 July 2016.

    Heeringen, Harold van. “Request for Proposal (RFP) Management – Ask the right questions and choose wisely.” LinkedIn SlideShare, June 2010.

    Huening, Nathan. “How to Write a Great Website RFP – with a little guidance, you’ll be writing them like a pro.” New Media Campaigns, 16 Dec. 2014.

    Investopedia.com. “Request for Proposal – RFP.” Investopedia, 10 Jan. 2011. Retrieved 6 July 2016 from http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/request-for-proposal.asp

    Kutcher, David. “How to write Requests for Proposals (RFP) for best results.” Confluent Forms LLC., 19 June 2009. Retrieved 6 July 2016 from http://www.confluentforms.com/2009/06/6-steps-to-writing-better-request-for.html

    Mike97. “Corporate Email Archive Solution – Sample Request for Proposal.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 1 Jan. 2009.

    “Request for proposal.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 21 Oct. 2016. Retrieved 6 July 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Request_for_proposal

    Rouse, Margaret. “What is a request for proposal (RFP)? – definition from WhatIs.com.” Contributors: John Moore. SearchITChannel, Apr. 2015. Retrieved 6 July 2016 from http://searchitchannel.techtarget.com/definition/request-for-proposal

    TechSoup. “RFP Library – Tips and sample RFPs for your nonprofit, charity, or library.” TechSoup, 2 Feb. 2012. Retrieved 6 July 2016 from http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/rfp-library