7 Steps to Avoid Issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP)

Minneapolis, Minn. – January 14, 2016 – Higher Education leaders, particularly those in Continuing Education, must navigate some tricky rapids when trying to acquire technology solutions that will propel their businesses forward. The biggest danger is being drawn into an RFP process that can result in no decision, leaving the CE program stranded.

CE leaders can avoid a no-decision RFP process by following a buying roadmap. A roadmap, like the one outlined here, will demonstrate that all stakeholders support a technology acquisition because it has been vetted against a set of rigid requirements.

Here are 7 steps potential buyers can follow that can avoid a costly and risky RFP and still meet the need for due process.

1.   Gather your requirements first before you talk to anyone.

2.  Identify the key issues and get buy-in from other stakeholders on these problems.

3.  Quantify the business issues, both the potential positive results in the after-scenario, but also the negative consequences of staying the current course.

4.  Research technology solutions and eliminate (early!) any that can’t solve your problems, and narrow the list to those that have readily accessible proof points that validate their claims. Good news: statistics show that 57% of the buying journey can be done online without ever contacting a vendor.

5.  If a single vendor (or two) meets the specific requirements that are tied to your business justification, good. You can now work directly with these vendors and vet out their capabilities, specifically the robustness of the technology, history and verifiable track record in the marketplace, and customer support. You want the best product, the company with the best record and the best customer service. Do not discount the service factor especially when purchasing mission critical software!

6.  Get investment summaries from each vendor for comparison. Grade the vendors first on the tangibles and intangibles, and then compare pricing. Is there a huge delta in pricing? An extremely low price is a red flag if everything else is equal, but generally, it highlights a vendor that can only differentiate on price.

7.  Approach the key decision maker with your proposal that demonstrates a solid business case and the necessary due diligence. Ask for a no-bid contract, also known as sole source.

To download an illustrated buying roadmap, click here.