A request for proposal, or RFP, is commonplace in most companies as soon as funding is approved for your project. They have been used for years. So much so that a lot of businesses require them in their vendor selection process. The problem is, like a lot of business processes today, RFPs are outdated and could be doing a huge disservice to your company.
The Personality of Paper
You’re excited to get started on improvements. You have been using a broken system for months, possibly years and the money is approved. Now it’s time to select a partner to complete your project. Then you remember that each vendor needs to fill out a stack of papers which you will choose from to get your job done. So, what’s the issue here? Paper doesn’t have a personality.
When you are choosing a partner from a form you can’t develop a relationship with the company that is helping you improve. Chances are that you will be working with the same vendor for your service and upkeep on an ongoing basis. That means you need to be comfortable working together. From that paper, do you know their demeanor? You might have a Service Level Agreement (SLA) defined, but how closely does that match up with the reality of how quickly your vendor responds to calls. How flexible are they with scheduling and services? In the end, you are buying from people, not a piece of paper.
More Than Money
Another disconnect you may face when relying on an RFP is encouraging an obsession with pricing. Focusing on the wrong area leaves gaps in your resolution, resulting in partially solved problems. When you get to a personal level with your team you can focus on the problem at hand and let the pricing fall into place later on. It’s like buying a house without looking at the number of rooms, how many bathrooms it has, or the realtor that is selling it. In a project this large and with huge implications, you want to make sure you hit every detail. Hand picking your team can assure that every base is covered and you are happy with the implementation and service from start to finish.
Waste of Time
Developing and writing out an RFP is a huge waste of time and resources. How big is the current RFP your company uses? How much of it do you really base your decision on? Chances are you do it just because you have to. It’s a fake formality. Use that time spent to create, wait for, and review the proposals. Have lunch with potential vendors, talk out your problems, and do some discovery to get to the hidden issues that are costing you time and money…like the RFPs you’re doing.
You can keep doing everything the same way as you always have but it never hurts to try something new. Remember, you’re making a huge change in systems, moving in the right direction. Why not make a much smaller change, ditch the RFP, and really get to know your potential vendors? After all, the transaction almost never ends when the system is in place. Chances are you will be working with the same team for the service on your system.
Get to know us at Alta Vista Technology! Together we can perform a process review, pinpoint what is broken, and help you craft a solution to get you back on the right track. Don’t let your systems hurt your business, make them work for you. Contact us today for more information!