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What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)?

Dictionaries define it as “a business document that announces a project, describes it, and solicits bids”. At RFPrime we reimagined the document-based RFP. We think of the RFP as an approach that organizations, large and small, public and private, for profit or charities, can use to evaluate and select vendors, products, goods or services. We created a collaborative workflow solution that guides users through the process from start to finish, all in an intuitive online platform.

Components and Steps of the RFP

RFP is typically used as a shortcut to stand in for the overall Evaluation and Selection process, which has multiple components and steps:

  • Identify Internal Stakeholders – engage your team in the vendor selection process, from Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to key Stakeholders impacted by the potential decision. This team will usually participate in all the steps of the RFP.
  • Compile Overview and Terms & Conditions – define the rules for participating in the bidding process, provide background and overview of the request, and lay out the timeline and evaluation criteria.
  • Gather Requirements – inventory the topics and questions to use to determine the preferred vendor offering. This is a key component of the RFP that will generally cover requirements as well as any areas of interest to be used in evaluating the proposals. Questions can range from vendor overview, functionality, technology to cost and implementation details.
  • Publish RFP to vendors – whether announcing the RFP publicly or sharing it with a few shortlisted vendors the RFP Overview and Requirements Questionnaire are delivered to the vendors for review and responses.
  • Solicit responses – based on the Overview and Terms & Conditions, and the Requirements Questionnaire, participating vendors will submit written proposals to the RFP.
  • Score and Evaluate Vendors – once the Vendor Responses are received, Stakeholders and SMEs read through and rate the vendors in order of preference by specific topics and questions.

Historically, RFP process has been done using Word, Excel, PDF, and Outlook to support the above steps and documents. That does not have to be the case anymore.

RFPrime is an online collaborative solution to support the end-to-end RFP, RFI, RFQ, DDQ, and any other RFx process. Whether it is your first RFx or you are RFP master, RFPrime is an intuitive platform that scales to your needs.