History of the RFP process
What is an RFP?
The request for proposal (RFP) process helps organizations compare potential vendors and suppliers in a competitive situation.
Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately, while necessary, RFPs have historically proven frustrating for issuers and responders.
Let’s take a look at RFPs’ longstanding problems … and learn why the future holds brighter days.
The humble beginnings (and painfully slow evolution) of the RFP
Organizations have traditionally relied on archaic tools to craft RFPs and proposals.
Mailing physical binders
In the beginning, organizations conducted RFPs through mail. One company would send out questionnaires, and weeks later, they would receive a binder full of responses.
Believe it or not, many organizations still conduct RFPs using this very same process.
Email revolutionized the RFP process … sort of. With email, organizations could send their questionnaires digitally — in Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, or PDF files. The recipients would then fill them out and send them back.
Of course, issuers were still unable to track vendors’ progress or score responses effectively — and responders often had version control issues — but at least the process was faster.
Posting documents to portals
The next stage in the evolution of RFPs came in the form of web portals. These allowed RFP issuers and responders to upload and download questionnaires and responses.
But they still couldn’t work on these documents online, meaning it had many of the same problems as email — lack of insight into vendor progress, scoring challenges, and version control issues.
The digital awakening
This is where things get interesting.
Recently, cloud-based technology has empowered organizations to share data in real time.
Organizations that create RFPs can work across departments to craft their questions — all from a single document. And organizations that craft proposals can do the same.
RFP issuers can even see which vendors have started their proposals and how far along they are.
And your organization can take advantage of these impressive capabilities.
RFP360 is the only RFP management solution designed to serve RFP issuers and responders. That means we’ve got a keen understanding of how challenging the RFP process can be for everyoneinvolved … and how to fix it.
Now RFP issuers can:
- Collaboratively craft questions based on their unique business needs.
- Leverage templates to quickly create RFPs for every situation.
- Store, organize, and reuse previous questions in future RFPs.
- Configure weighted scoring that rates vendors based on what matters most.
- Communicate with vendors directly in the RFP.
- Weigh multiple vendors’ responses side by side.
- Track vendors’ progress throughout the entire process.
- Create vendor profiles to reassess their capabilities in future procurement projects.
And RFP responders can:
- Collaboratively answer questions within a single document.
- Assign questions to specific departments or employees and track progress.
- Store, organize, and manage responses for future proposals.
- Identify who wrote what and when.
It’s time for the next chapter in the history of RFPs.
We think you’ll like it.