The core of this short article highlights 5 key and immediately implementable practices that can serve to achieve better outcomes from your RFPs – both in regards to the RFP process itself as well as mission goals.  Some may be obvious.  And some you may already be doing.  But the simplicity of each of the 5 practices and their clear linkage to achieving better outcomes is worth underscoring with this write up.  While the article is written with an eye toward state agencies, these practices are clearly applicable across the entire public sector. 

What are key takeaways?

The 5 RFP practices highlighted in this article are less about what process to follow or tips on tactically drafting the RFP, but rather focus is on ‘orienting” your RFP to convey the right information about your organization as well as solicit the right information back from suppliers.  The RFP practices are oriented toward addressing two primary shortcomings (with potentially significant impact to outcomes) that can arise when these practices are absent:

  • Turning away successful and potentially valuable vendors, which also results in limiting competition
  • Stifling creativity by requiring compliance with preconceived “solutions”, which can limit the effectiveness of the RFP process to support the mission (and inhibit innovation and the most innovative suppliers)

In summary, the 5 RFP practices presented in the article are (along with some key impactful quotations):

  • Mapping Goals to RFP Criteria

“The single most important step in ensuring a successful RFP is stating the business problem you want solved”

  • Eliciting Vendor Creativity

“Responding to specific criteria stifles creative solutions … Some of the best vendors simply don’t respond to most RFPs…However, if you give those same people the opportunity to … solve a business problem … It can attract higher quality suppliers and drive even better results”

  • Requiring Value Propositions

“A good mechanism for identifying creative and effective vendors is to require a value proposition at the front-end of a response. If you’ve done a good job of articulating your business problem and mapping requirements to goals, an innovative vendor will be able to articulate a corresponding value proposition.”

  • Conveying your culture

“Conveying a sense of your culture — your people, your leadership and the way you like to work — will help vendors select the individuals and teams they include in their responses.”

  • Designing an Evaluation Scorecard

“Moving beyond simple price-driven decisions and the idea of a “technology checklist” requires the addition of innovation oriented criteria to your scorecard.”

Full Article: First Data


Image Courtesy of Tumisu

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