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An Agile Approach to Vendor Selection

We’ve all been there. Days spent writing a long and involved Request for Proposals (RFP). Weeks of reading equally lengthy and confusing vendor responses. A good faith guess leading to a locked in agreement with a vendor who turns out not to be a great fit. And the process beings again.

First, rethink the RFP

Business has changed over the past several decades, so why use an RFP process from the last century? To get the best results, don't recycle the same old draft, tacking on updates and requirements every time.
Why not rethink the RFP to make the whole vendor selection process more agile?
Come at the whole procedure with a fresh eye, aligning your procurement process with the overall business vision, and leaving room for vendors to tell you who they are, how they work, and what they can offer. They’ll appreciate the freedom, and you’ll appreciate the results.

Vendor selection doesn’t have to be a headache.

Choosing the right vendors to help you on your digital transformation journey is critical—but it needn’t be a nightmare. Taking a more agile approach can help you save time and money up- front and lead to better solutions in the long-run as well.

Next, define success.

Be up-front with vendors about your selection criteria. After all, your requirements could be met in any number of ways. If you intend to choose based on price, features, functionality, or timeline, let the vendors know in advance.
And then be sure you stick to those criteria yourself!
It’s easy for selection teams to get distracted by ideas and possibilities during the vendor selection process. Be sure your goals are clear in advance and think through how flexible you can afford to be before you begin reviewing vendor responses.

Then, design a decision matrix.

How do you evaluate the proposals you get back? If you’ve adopted a more flexible RFP model, you might get very different responses from each vendor.
To keep your decision on track, consider using an evaluation matrix.
Add your success criteria and look at a wide variety of factors. For example, you might consider how the solution would fit with your intended user group, the vendor’s availability for support, references from similarly positioned companies, and long-term viability.

Learn more about redesigning your RFP and vendor selection process in our free guide.

Find ideas for reimagining your vendor selection process, creating a flexible format, and designing RFPs that get better responses. Explore a more detailed explanation of vendor selection matrices, with questions to help you think through your needs and design your own unique criteria.