Everything You Need To Know About….New Business Software #4
Creating an RFI
A Request for Information (RFI) is a typical business process which companies go through as part of the search and select procedure. Typically created by the project manager it is designed to extract information from potential suppliers about their specific capabilities and about their thoughts on the software.
Here’s a few tips on developing a good RFI:
- Use the development of an RFI to help you define the project
- Get all departments involved in the software project to input into the document. The earlier you involve them the more buy in you will have as a result
- Don’t let all the departments request the same information. Often RFIs become several different ways of asking for the same thing. Sense check the final version to ensure this hasn’t happened
- Limit the length of the document. It doesn’t have to be a dissertation. Use it to collect the information you need then STOP
- Use caution when asking for pricing information – otherwise you might be tempted to look at the quotes and select the cheapest, which sort of defeats the purpose of the RFI in the first place. You’d have been as well just asking for a request for proposal (RFP)
- Ask for further input. It might be that the supplier has further suggestions of how your business might be able to get the best out the software. The danger of taking an RFI at face value is that the job grows arms and legs afterwards
- Look for honesty in the responses. Sometimes you might be asking for the moon on a stick. Respect someone who is prepared to tell you so
- Show some consideration for the potential bidders. Allow enough time to respond. Make the response mechanism easy and, for God’s sake, acknowledge response and get back to the potential vendors with some feedback. There’s nothing worse than taking time out to complete an RFI then never hearing from the potential customer again
If you have received a response to your RFI which has interested you enough to want to meet the partner then you need to ask them to deliver a demo. The next blog in this series will examine what you should be looking for during the demo process.
Written by Emma Stewart – Sales and Marketing Director at Cofficient