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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In Vendor Evaluation, Don’t Shortcut the RFI Process

In some enterprise software selection projects, clients are tempted to skip the Request for Information (RFI) stage and go straight to a Request for Proposal (RFP). This is a mistake and often the result of not fully understanding the value of a well-written RFI.

What is the difference between an RFI and an RFP? In our software selection consulting services, we develop an RFI near the beginning of the vendor evaluation process. The RFI includes a description of the client’s organization and the client’s project. It also includes a list of key requirements for the new system—not an exhaustive list, but essential functionality or processes that are distinctive for the client. Vendors are asked to respond as to their ability to satisfy those key requirements. Vendors are not asked for a cost proposal at this time. We typically make the RFI available to as many vendors as we think are qualified to respond, or to those that express an interest in responding—usually five or more.

An RFP, in contrast, is published near the end of the evaluation process, after each finalist vendor (typically 2-3) has conducted its demonstrations or other proof-of-concept. The vendors are asked to provide a cost proposal, along with their proposed license/subscription agreements and a high-level implementation proposal with costs and schedules. The vendors’ RFI responses are incorporated as an attachment, which they can revise based on what they’ve learned since they first responded to the RFI.

Read the rest of this post on the Strativa blog: In Vendor Evaluation, Don’t Shortcut the RFI Process
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