The University of Sheffield

2925/HP - Robotic Process Automation Proof of Concept

36 Incomplete applications

30 SME, 6 large

6 Completed applications

5 SME, 1 large

Important dates

Thursday 29 April 2021
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 6 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 13 May 2021 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
A proof of concept of Robotic Process Automation on 1 Finance process to understand the benefits, skills required and provide assurance around technical, data and security risks.
Latest start date
Monday 31 May 2021
Expected contract length
6 weeks (estimate)
No specific location, for example they can work remotely
Organisation the work is for
The University of Sheffield
Budget range

About the work

Why the work is being done
The University of Sheffield would like to understand the potential for Robotic Process Automation to support the delivery of end-to-end digitisation.

A proof of concept with 1 Finance process will enable us to demonstrate the benefit of RPA and identify the skills that would be required to automate any further processes beyond the proof of concept.

We are looking for a supplier to manage the project to automate 1 Finance process; including discovery work to understand the existing process, provide automation software and a small number of licenses to University staff (expect less than 5 licenses required), automate the chosen process and measure the benefits once successfully automated.

We will then retain the software and licenses after the proof of concept to maintain the automated process; including access to any resources that will help the University to continue to use the software.
Problem to be solved
The Spike Cavell Procurement Reporting will be suggested as the Finance process for proof of concept.

This process involves running a series of reports and exporting from our SAP system, combining the reporting and submitted monthly to the North Eastern Universities Purchasing Consortium (NEUPC).

The process will also utilise the data exported to create a 3 year rolling summary using a number of variants.

The 3 year rolling summaries will also be projected forward 3 years using some model criteria, with various reporting options.

The 3 year rolling summaries should also be compared to actual spend and analysed easily in a report using variants.
Who the users are and what they need to do
As a Finance staff member (Head of Procurement), I need the reports required to improve management of the University's spend profile, vendor and contract management and forecasting of spend, so that the University is more able to be efficient, compliant and manage its carbon footprint.

As an IT Services Product Manager, I need to see RPA implemented on a business process, so that I can understand the benefits, time and skills required to automate further processes within the University.
Early market engagement
The University of Sheffield has had initial engagement with a few suppliers to understand the solutions available.
Any work that’s already been done
We have identified the Finance process that we would like to automate to provide a proof of concept.
Existing team
ITS Product Manager, 1 Business Analyst, Head of Financial Procurement, Head of Finance Systems & Change, Systems Analyst and/or Assistant Functional Analyst, SME
Current phase

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
Supplier will work remotely.
Working arrangements
Supplier will work remotely.

Supplier will provide a project plan and report weekly on progress of delivery of the proof of concept.
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • Previous experience of introducing RPA within an HEI/similar organisation
  • Previous experience of introducing RPA for Finance processes
  • Able to measure benefits of the trial, including but not limited to any time savings and efficiencies
  • Support knowledge transfer so that we can understand what skills are required for future procurement exercises
Nice-to-have skills and experience
Experience of using Agile methodology

How suppliers will be evaluated

All suppliers will be asked to provide a written proposal.

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • Value for money
  • How the proposed solution meets the problem to be solved
  • Technical Solution
  • Professional services to deliver proof of concept
  • How they've identified risks (and approaches to manage them) and potential benefits
Cultural fit criteria
  • Work collaboratively with colleagues in IT Services and Finance
  • Have a positive and proactive approach to ensure the proof of concept is a success
  • Be transparent and collaborative when making decisions
  • Share knowledge and experience with team members
Payment approach
Fixed price
Additional assessment methods
  • Case study
  • Reference
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. In order to understand the university’s requirements in further detail, please can we arrange a 30min call with our RPA team?
Due to availability of key stakeholders, we would not be able to schedule calls with all suppliers at this stage. We are happy to field any questions raised prior to the deadline, and are actively working to answer and publish those already asked.
2. Please can we have an indication of the budget for this project please?
We received this query from multiple suppliers - the answer below should cover the three queries relating to budget expectation / indications.

As a general indication, the potential budget available for this project is between £15k and £30k. It is worth noting that price is being evaluated as part of this requirement, and suppliers quoting competitive pricing would be advantageous for this part of the evaluation process.
3. At this stage, can you say whether you have a preference for RPA products from vendors such as Ui Path and Blue Prism or automation tools that can be developed in house e.g. Microsoft power automate, or are you looking for this work to advise on selection of the best tool?
At this point, we are looking for help in delivering a full solution and not just a technical tool.
4. Do you plan to implement RPA across other functions after POC?
This is dependent on the success and knowledge gained through the POC.
5. Has there been any due diligence done in the past to say RPA is the choice?
No, this piece of work will help us to determine that answer.
6. What is the ROI expected after implementation?
Success will be measured in time freed up for staff to focus on other work.
7. How many reports would need to be run? Do you have an idea on the hourly/daily expectation?
Four reports need to be run which are then merged to produce an end report. It is currently a monthly requirement that takes a couple of days to carry out.
8. Where is the 3 year rolling summary stored ? Database, Excel… ?
We do not have a 3 year rolling summary stored anywhere. This would be new as part of this POC. We have a number of products where data can be stored, including IBM TM1.
9. Would this POC consist of the vendor creating models for forecasting or will that be done by the university?
The University will create models for forecasting.
10. Would the bot do comparison on the rolling summary and actual spend or just prepare the data for humans to compare?
Ideally, the bot would do the comparison on the rolling summary and actual spend.
11. The tender mentions ‘initial engagements with few suppliers’. Have you finalized the RPA tool for this POC? Or would expect the vendor to perform tool feasibility analysis and recommend the tool?
We would expect the vendor to recommend the most suitable tool.
12. 100 words limit for each question is not sufficient to provide answers, is there any other medium to send the detailed proposal for this POC. like an option to send to any email etc...

Are we allowed to provide any links to the reference documents in our response, as the word limit is only 100?
The 100 word limit for responses at this stage of the process is set by CCS for the DOS5 framework, and is out of the University’s hands. We can only accept answers that meet the 100 word count limit, and will not be able to read any additional documents to ensure a fair process with all interested applicants.

Please remember that, at this stage, we are only looking for evidence of the skills / experience. Those successful at the shortlisting stage will then be asked to provide a detailed proposal for the University’s particular requirement.

The deadline for asking questions about this opportunity was Thursday 6 May 2021.