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What makes a good RFP?

by | January 24, 2017

Writing a clear and detailed RFP helps to create good proposals, which leads to a better and more fulfilling working relationships with your supplier, which leads to better projects and outcomes.

This post gives you some ideas about what makes a good RFP:

Solution Fit

First and foremost, is the solution fit for purpose. It has to tick all the boxes for the essential “must haves” in your initial requirement specification. It’s got to be a good fit with how your organisation likes to work.

Focus on implementation

The majority of RFPs for a P2P solution have enor­mous amount of focus on the solution, and only 1 or 2 questions on the implementation. These are typically, what will it cost and how long will it take? It doesn’t matter how good the software is if the implementa­tion fails the project has failed.

Cultural fit

Just as important as the solution, the organisation you choose to work with must have a good cultural fit with your team and your organisation. You will be working closely together, and organisations that share the same values and work ethic will ensure a smoother implementation process.

Track record

Track record – With any selection process, track record is a critical component. Anyone can stand up and say they can deliver a successful process. The only factor that will give you confidence, is seeing previous examples of successful projects, and being able to talk directly to like-minded customers.

Future proof

It’s all very well having a solution that meets today’s needs. Just as important, you need to have thought about the next two to three years. Real ROI will be achieved by the longevity of the solution, and how it supports efficiency and productivity going forward, beyond the current scope.

Industry expertise

If you are working on direct items then you need to look at it very differently with who you are selecting and then there may be some value in having industry specific knowledge. It is very rare that you would have the same tool and project covering all of your direct and indirect staff at the same time. You need people with experience of the technology rather than the industry and also how to implement it successfully for the outcome rather than just going live. It is far less important to have someone who understands the ins and out of your industry.


Let the consulting partner you are working with challenge your proposed solution. They will bring experience of other solutions, and other organisation. By the very nature of consultancy, the good ones will ask the right question to ensure you get the very best solution for your business.


Have a clear agenda and a measured and fair process in place to score the shortlisted candidates. It will be very difficult to compare like for like, as both the solutions and the organisations will be very different. Have an agreed mechanism in place during the detailed presentation process to help support your agreed decision and ensure you have the best fit solution going forward.

And finally … ensure the right team are in place!

You need to ask whether you have really got people who can develop the integration, or experts in change management that have got the capacity to spend the time required. Challenge yourself to ensure a positive outcome, and identify where help is needed. If you do need help, do you need someone else to do it all or is there a better solution.

For more information on writing a good RFP click here .