The Opportunity Q&A feature allows you to directly message your Vendors and vice versa through the portal, throughout the Open and Evaluation stages. Alternatively, you have the option to set defined period of time to message your Vendors (i.e., only during your question-and-answer period). The feature is enabled at the Portal level (i.e., once turned ON it will be applicable to ALL projects).
Vendors are able to ask questions and you're able to respond or initiate new conversations from the Messages section of the project dashboard.
Vendors are not able to see messages to and/or from other vendors. Buyers will be notified of new vendor messages via email. It's important to note that only Project Owners can respond to Vendors through Opportunity Q&A; no other user role is able to respond.
Strictly only Department Managers and Org Admins will be able to view the Q&A section. Reviewers and Advisors are not able to view the Q&A.
The Q&A period can be edited under the Schedule > Manage button. The Edit Schedule window will have a section for the Questions Due Date which you can modify, or you can select the Never option to keep the Q&A open during the Evaluation period. The Questions Due Date MUST be equal to or before the Close Date:
The Opportunity Q&A can be viewed under the Messages section. The numerical value in blue brackets (0) behind the Messages title indicates the number of messages that still require an action (i.e. messages that you haven't responded to yet).
You can now start new conversations with All Vendors, All Active Vendors (Vendors that have interacted with your project), All Work in Progress Vendors or All Eliminated Vendors. You are able to attach files in your responses using the Attach File button. Vendors can also attach files in their questions, but only if you allow them to by activating the Vendor Attachments toggle.
In the sample screenshot below we have two Vendors that have submitted questions during the Evaluation Stage that still require action (need a response). It also highlights the ability to filter messages, start new Opportunity Q&A threads, attach files in messages to Vendors, and toggle the ability for Vendors to attach files in their messages.
Opportunity Q&A emails are automatically queued and sent once every half-hour (30 minutes).
The Q&A report can be downloaded in the Reports section. More on exporting reports here.