Writing RFIs, RFPs, and RFQs May 12, 2007Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
Tags: eLearning, LMS, Tools
I understand that it’s important to have clear documentation and terms between an organization and its vendors when a new system or piece of software is being purchased and implemented. This could be a learning management system, learning content management system, document management system, etc. But I’ve run into a frustrating scenario several times recently with some vendors and their Request For Information (RFI), Request For Proposal (RFP), and Request For Quotation (RFQ) forms, and it makes me question why they operate the way they do.
Here’s a scenario that illustrates the problem I’ve encountered: I’ve been asked to select a ________ system to serve a particular purpose for our organization. I’ve been told that my budget is $________. Generally, I would speak with stakeholders, identify our requirements, research vendors, watch demos, get pricing, and then decide which vendors are in the final running for selection. If I’m not familiar with a certain type of system, I will typically call a few vendors to get initial pricing information to help me get started. However, I’ve found that you can’t get pricing information from some vendors – it’s like pulling teeth. They require you to work through their RFI, RFP, or RFQ form(s) and/or requirements gathering process. But here’s my question: Why should I spend all this time filling out a long form or going through a long process when their product ends up being way outside my budget?
Some vendors that I’ve worked with genuinely take offense when you ask for general pricing information up-front. And I do state that I’m looking for a ballpark estimate; I’m not asking exact figures by any means. I don’t understand that. I’d rather not waste my time (and their time) if there’s no chance of a transaction taking place.
Detailed requirements and a complete analysis should be completed when it comes time to get serious with one or more vendors, but not in the early stages of selection, in my opinion.
Please excuse me as I step off my soapbox. 🙂
P.S. – Here’s a great reference for writing RFPs: http://www.howtowriteanrfp.com/.