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Drive Successful Sourcing Outcomes With a Robust RFP Process

Leverage your vendor sourcing process to get better results.

  • Most IT organizations do not have standard RFP templates and tools.
  • Many RFPs lack sufficient requirements.
  • Most RFP team members are not adequately trained on RFP best practices.
  • Most IT departments underestimate the amount of time that is required to perform an effective RFP.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Vendors generally do not like RFPs
    Vendors view RFPs as time consuming and costly to respond to and believe that the decision is already made.
  • Dont ignore the benefits of an RFI
    An RFI is too often overlooked as a tool for collecting information from vendors about their product offerings and services.
  • Leverage a pre-proposal conference to maintain an equal and level playing field
    Pre-proposal conference is a convenient and effective way to respond to vendors’ questions ensuring all vendors have the same information to provide a quality response.

Impact and Result

  • A bad or incomplete RFP results in confusing and incomplete vendor RFP responses which consume time and resources.
  • Incomplete or misunderstood requirements add cost to your project due to the change orders required to complete the project.

Drive Successful Sourcing Outcomes With a Robust RFP Process Research & Tools

1. Storyboard – Leverage your vendor sourcing process to get better results

Discover a proven process for your RFPs. Review Info-Tech’s process and understand how you can prevent your organization from leaking negotiation leverage while preventing vendors from taking control of your RFP. Our 7-phase process prevents a bad RFP from taking your time, money, and resources.

2. Define your RFP Requirements Tool – A convenient tool to gather your requirements and align them to your negotiation strategy.

Use this tool to assist you and your team in documenting the requirements for your RFP. Use the results of this tool to populate the requirements section of your RFP.

3. RFP Development Suite of Tools – Use Info-Tech’s RFP, pricing, and vendor response tools and templates to increase your efficiency in your RFP process.

Configure this time-saving suite of tools to your organizational culture, needs, and most importantly the desired outcome of your RFP initiative. This suite contains four unique RFP templates. Evaluate which template is appropriate for your RFP. Also included in this suite are a response evaluation guidebook and several evaluation scoring tools along with a template to report the RFP results to stakeholders.

Drive Successful Sourcing Outcomes With a Robust RFP Process

Leverage your vendor sourcing process to get better results.


Drive Successful Sourcing Outcomes with a Robust RFP Process

Lack of RFP Process Causes...
  • Stress
  • Confusion
  • Frustration
  • Directionless
  • Exhaustion
  • Uncertainty
  • Disappointment
Solution: RFP Process
Steps in an RFP Process, 'Identify Need', 'Define Business Requirements', 'Gain Business Authorization', 'Perform RFI/RFP', 'Negotiate Agreement', 'Purchase Good and Services', and 'Assess and Measure Performance'.
  • Best value solutions
  • Right-sized solutions
  • Competitive Negotiations
  • Better requirements that feed negotiations
  • Internal alignment on requirements and solutions
  • Vendor Management Governance Plan
  • Risk
  • Legal
  • Support
  • Security
  • Technical
  • Commercial
  • Operational
  • Vendor Management Governance
Templates, Tools, Governance
  • RFP Template
  • Your Contracts
  • RFP Procedures
  • Pricing Template
  • Evaluation Guide
  • Evaluation Matrix
Vendor Management
  • Scorecards
  • Classification
  • Business Review Meetings
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Contract Management
  • Satisfaction Survey

Analyst Perspective

Consequences of a bad RFP

Photo of Steven Jeffery, Principal Research Director, Vendor Management, Co-Author: The Art of Creating a Quality RFP, Info-Tech Research Group

“A bad request for proposal (RFP) is the gift that keeps on taking – your time, your resources, your energy, and your ability to accomplish your goal. A bad RFP is ineffective and incomplete, it creates more questions than it answers, and, perhaps most importantly, it does not meet your organization’s expectations.”

Steven Jeffery
Principal Research Director, Vendor Management
Co-Author: The Art of Creating a Quality RFP
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

  • Most IT organizations are absent of standard RFP templates, tools, and processes.
  • Many RFPs lack sufficient requirements from across the business (Legal, Finance, Security, Risk, Procurement, VMO).
  • Most RFP team members are not adequately trained on RFP best practices.
  • Most IT departments underestimate the amount of time required to perform an effective RFP.
  • An ad hoc sourcing process is a common recipe for vendor performance failure.

Common Obstacles

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of resources
  • Right team members not engaged
  • Poorly defined requirements
  • Too difficult to change supplier
  • Lack of a process
  • Lack of adequate tools/processes
  • Lack of a vendor communications plan that includes all business stakeholders.
  • Lack of consensus as to what the ideal result should look like.

Info-Tech’s Approach

  • Establish a repeatable, consistent RFP process that maintains negotiation leverage and includes all key components.
  • Create reusable templates to expedite the RFP evaluation and selection process.
  • Maximize the competition by creating an equal and level playing field that encourages all the vendors to respond to your RFP.
  • Create a process that is clear and understandable for both the business unit and the vendor to follow.
  • Include Vendor Management concepts in the process.

Info-Tech Insight

A well planned and executed sourcing strategy that focuses on solid requirements, evaluation criteria, and vendor management will improve vendor performance.

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

Your challenge is to determine the best sourcing tool to obtain vendor information on capabilities, solution(s), pricing and contracting: RFI, RFP, eRFX.

Depending on your organization’s knowledge of the market, your available funding, and where you are in the sourcing process, there are several approaches to getting the information you need.

An additional challenge is to answer the question “What is the purpose of our RFX?”

If you do not have in-depth knowledge of the market, available solutions, and viable vendors, you may want to perform an RFI to provide available market information to guide your RFP strategy.

If you have defined requirements, approved funding, and enough time, you can issue a detailed, concise RFP.

If you have “the basics” about the solution to be acquired and are on a tight timeframe, an “enhanced RFI” may fit your needs.

This blueprint will provide you with the tools and processes and insights to affect the best possible outcome.

Executive Summary

Common Obstacles

  • Lack of process/tools
  • Lack of input from stakeholders
  • Stakeholders circumventing the process to vendors
  • Vendors circumventing the process to key stakeholders
  • Lack of clear, concise, and thoroughly articulated requirements
  • Waiting until the vendor is selected to start contract negotiations
  • Waiting until the RFP responses are back to consider vendor management requirements
  • Lack of clear communication strategy to the vendor community that the team adheres to

Many organizations underestimate the time commitment for an RFP

70 Days is the average duration of an IT RFP.

The average number of evaluators is 5-6

4 Is the average number of vendor submissions, each requiring an average of two to three hours to review. (Source: Bonfire, 2019. Note: The 2019 Bonfire report on the “State of the RFP” is the most recent published.)

“IT RFPs take the longest from posting to award and have the most evaluators. This may be because IT is regarded as a complex subject requiring complex evaluation. Certainly, of all categories, IT offers the most alternative solutions. The technology is also changing rapidly, as are the requirements of IT users – the half-life of an IT requirement is less than six months (half the requirements specified now will be invalid six months from now). And when the RFP process takes up two of those months, vendors may be unable to meet changed requirements when the time to implement arrives. This is why IT RFPs should specify the problem to be resolved rather than the solution to be provided. If the problem resolution is the goal, vendors are free to implement the latest technologies to meet that need.” (Bonfire, “2019 State of the RFP”)

Why Vendors Don’t Like RFPs

Vendors’ win rate


Vendors only win an average of 44% of the RFPs they respond to (Loopio, 2022).
High cost to respond


Vendors budget 3-5% of the anticipated contract value to respond (LinkedIn, 2017, Note: LinkedIn source is the latest information available).
Time spent writing response

23.8 hours

Vendors spend on average 23.8 hours to write or respond to your RFP (Marketingprofs, 2021).

Negative effects on your organization from a lack of RFP process

Visualization titled 'Lack of RFP Process Causes' with the following seven items listed.

Stress, because roles and responsibilities aren’t clearly defined and communication is haphazard, resulting in strained relationships.

Confusion, because you don’t know what the expected or desired results are.

Directionless, because you don’t know where the team is going.

Uncertainty, with many questions of your own and many more from other team members.

Frustration, because of all the questions the vendors ask as a result of unclear or incomplete requirements.

Exhaustion, because reviewing RFP responses of insufficient quality is tedious.

Disappointment in the results your company realizes.

(Source: The Art of Creating a Quality RFP)

Info-Tech’s approach

Develop an inclusive and thorough approach to the RFP Process

Steps in an RFP Process, 'Identify Need', 'Define Business Requirements', 'Gain Business Authorization', 'Perform RFI/RFP', 'Negotiate Agreement', 'Purchase Good and Services', and 'Assess and Measure Performance'.

The Info-Tech difference:

  1. The secret to managing an RFP is to make it as manageable and as thorough as possible. The RFP process should be like any other aspect of business – by developing a standard process. With a process in place, you are better able to handle whatever comes your way, because you know the steps you need to follow to produce a top-notch RFP.
  2. The business then identifies the need for more information about a product/service or determines that a purchase is required.
  3. A team of stakeholders from each area impacted gather all business, technical, legal, and risk requirements. What are the expectations of the vendor relationship post-RFP? How will the vendors be evaluated?
  4. Based on the predetermined requirements, either an RFI or an RFP is issued to vendors with a predetermined due date.

Insight Summary

Overarching insight

Without a well defined, consistent RFP process, with input from all key stakeholders, the organization will not achieve the best possible results from its sourcing efforts.

Phase 1 insight

Vendors are choosing to not respond to RFPs due to their length and lack of complete requirements.

Phase 2 insight

Be clear and concise in stating your requirements and include, in addition to IT requirements, procurement, security, legal, and risk requirements.

Phase 3 insight

Consider adding vendor management requirements to manage the ongoing relationship post contract.

Tactical insight

Consider the RFP Evaluation Process as you draft the RFP, including weighting the RFP components. Don’t underestimate the level of effort required to effectively evaluate responses – write the RFP with this in mind.

Tactical insight

Provide strict, prescriptive instructions detailing how the vendor should submit their responses. Controlling vendor responses will increase your team’s efficiency in evaluations while providing ease of reference responses across multiple vendors.

Key deliverables

Each step of this blueprint is accompanied by supporting deliverables to help you accomplish your goals:

Key deliverables:

Info-Tech provides you with the tools you need to go to market in the most efficient manner possible, with guidance on how to achieve your goals.

Sample of

Long-Form RFP Template
For when you have complete requirements and time to develop a thorough RFP.
Sample of the Long-Form RFP Template deliverable. Short-Form RFP Template
When the requirements are not as extensive, time is short, and you are familiar with the market.
Sample of the Short-Form RFP Template deliverable.
Lean RFP Template
When you have limited time and some knowledge of the market and wish to include only a few vendors.
Sample of the Lean RFP Template deliverable. Excel-Form RFP Template
When there are many requirements, many options, multiple vendors, and a broad evaluation team.
Sample of the Excel-Form RFP Template deliverable.

Blueprint benefits

IT Benefits
  • Side-by-side comparison of vendor capabilities
  • Pricing alternatives
  • No surprises
  • Competitive solutions to deliver the best results
Mutual IT and Business Benefits
  • Reduced time to implement
  • Improved alignment between IT /Business
  • Improved vendor performance
  • Improved vendor relations
Business Benefits
  • Budget alignment, reduced cost
  • Best value
  • Risk mitigation
  • Legal and risk protections

Info-Tech offers various levels of support to best suit your needs

DIY Toolkit

Guided Implementation



"Our team has already made this critical project a priority, and we have the time and capability, but some guidance along the way would be helpful." "Our team knows that we need to fix a process, but we need assistance to determine where to focus. Some check-ins along the way would help keep us on track." "We need to hit the ground running and get this project kicked off immediately. Our team has the ability to take this over once we get a framework and strategy in place." "Our team does not have the time or the knowledge to take this project on. We need assistance through the entirety of this project."

Diagnostics and consistent frameworks used throughout all four options

Guided Implementation

A Guided Implementation (GI) is a series of calls with an Info-Tech analyst to help implement our best practices in your organization.

A typical GI is seven to twelve calls over the course of four to six months.

What does a typical GI on this topic look like?

Phase 1

Phase 2

Phase 3

Phase 4

Phase 5

Phase 6

Phase 7

Call #1: Identify the need Call #3: Gain business authorization Call #5: Negotiate agreement strategy Call #7: Assess and measure performance
Call #2: Define business requirements Call #4: Review and perform the RFX or RFP Call #6: Purchase goods and services

Workshop Overview

Contact your account representative for more information.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Answer “What problem do we need to solve?”

1.1 Overview and level-setting

1.2 Identify needs and drivers

1.3 Define and prioritize requirements

1.4 Gain business authorization and ensure internal alignment

Define what success looks like?

2.1 Create and issue RFP

2.2 Evaluate responses/ proposals and negotiate the agreement.

2.3 Purchase goods and services

Configure Templates

3.1 Assess and measure

3.2 Review tools

  1. Map your process with gap identification
  2. RFP Requirements Worksheet
  1. RFP Calendar and Key Date Tool
  2. RFP Evaluation Guidebook
  3. RFP Evaluation Tool
  1. Long-form RFP Template
  2. Short-form RFP Template
  3. Excel-based RFP Tool
  4. Lean RFP Template

Phase 1

Identify Need


1.1 Establish the need to either purchase goods/services (RFP) or acquire additional information from the market (RFI).

Steps in an RFP Process with the first step, 'Identify Need', highlighted.

This phase involves the following participants:

  • Business stakeholders
  • IT
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Finance

Identify the need based on business requirements, changing technology, increasing vendor costs, expiring contracts, and changing regulatory requirements.

Outcomes of this phase

Agreement on the need to go to market to make a purchase (RFP) or to acquire additional information (RFI) along with a high-level agreement on requirements, rough schedule (is there time to do a full blown RFP or are you time constrained, which may result in an eRFP) and the RFP team is identified.

Identify Need
Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5 Phase 6 Phase 7

Identify the Need for Your RFP

  • An RFP is issued to the market when you are certain that you intend to purchase a product/service and have identified an adequate vendor base from which to choose as a result of:

    • IT Strategy
    • Changes in technology
    • Marketplace assessment
    • Contract expiration/renewal
    • Changes in regulatory requirements
    • Changes in the business’ requirements
  • An RFI is issued to the market when you are uncertain as to available technologies or supplier capabilities and need budgetary costs for planning purposes.
  • Be sure to choose the right RFx tool for your situation!
Stock photo of a pen circling the word 'needs' on a printed document.

Phase 2

Define Your RFP Requirements


2.1 Define and classify the technical, business, financial, legal, and support and security requirements for your business.

Steps in an RFP Process with the second step, 'Define Business Requirements', highlighted.

This phase involves the following participants:

  • IT
  • Legal
  • Finance
  • Risk management
  • Sourcing/Procurement
  • Business stakeholders

Outcomes of this phase

A detailed list of required business, technical, legal and procurement requirements classified as to absolute need(s), bargaining and concession need(s), and “nice to haves.”

Define Business Requirements

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3 Phase 4 Phase 5 Phase 6 Phase 7

Define RFP Requirements

Key things to consider when defining requirements

  • Must be inclusive of the needs of all stakeholders: business, technical, financial, and legal
  • Strive for clarity and completeness in each area of consideration.
  • Begin defining your “absolute,” “bargaining,” “concession,” and ‘”dropped/out of scope” requirements to streamline the evaluation process.
  • Keep the requirements identified as “absolute” to a minimum, because vendors that do not meet absolute requirements will be removed from consideration.
  • Do you have a standard contract that can be included or do you want to review the vendor’s contract?
  • Don’t forget Data Security!
  • Begin defining your vendor selection criteria.
  • What do you want the end result to look like?
  • How will you manage the selected vendor after the contract? Include key VM requirements.
  • Defining requirements can’t be rushed or you’ll find yourself answering many questions, which may create confusion.
  • Collect all your current spend and budget considerations regarding the needed product(s) and service(s).

“Concentrate on the needs of the organization and not the wants of the individuals when creating requirements to avoid scope creep.” (Donna Glidden, ITRG Research Director)

Leverage the “ABCD” approach found in our Prepare for Negotiations More Effectively blueprint:

Leverage your vendor sourcing process to get better results.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

We produce unbiased and highly relevant research to help CIOs and IT leaders make strategic, timely, and well-informed decisions. We partner closely with IT teams to provide everything they need, from actionable tools to analyst guidance, ensuring they deliver measurable results for their organizations.

What Is a Blueprint?

A blueprint is designed to be a roadmap, containing a methodology and the tools and templates you need to solve your IT problems.

Each blueprint can be accompanied by a Guided Implementation that provides you access to our world-class analysts to help you get through the project.

Need Extra Help?
Speak With An Analyst

Get the help you need in this 1-phase advisory process. You'll receive 7 touchpoints with our researchers, all included in your membership.

  • Call 1: Identify need
  • Call 2: Define business requirements
  • Call 3: Gain business authorization
  • Call 4: Review and perform the RFX or RFP
  • Call 5: Negotiate agreement strategy
  • Call 6: Purchase goods and services
  • Call 7: Assess and measure performance


Steve Jeffery

Donna Glidden


  • George Bordon, Director, Contracts at Spirit AeroSystems, Co-Author of The Art of Creating a Quality RFP
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