Running an RFP is one thing - getting the right decision is quite another. In this article, we look at 10 essential elements that must be a part of your RFP scoring criteria.
Why is the selection of RFP scoring criteria so important?
Scoring criteria leads to the selection of your preferred vendor. As such, getting the scoring criteria correct and properly balanced is one of the most important aspects of any RFP process. Marking against the wrong criteria, or aspects that just aren't that important will lead to a poor vendor decision. Taking the time to choose the scoring criteria always pays dividends in the end.
10 topics that you need to score against.
1. Cost today
How much will the business have to pay today? It is important to understand if this includes taxes and other peripheral charges. It's often the area that receives the most focus as it has an immediate budget impact - but weight it up carefully with the others on this list.
2. Cost over time
Agree upon a timescale (maybe 3 or 5 years) and assess the cost of the purchase over that time. Build in a suitable expectation for vendor price increases.
How close is the vendor's fit to your business requirement? How important is this to you and how much might it cost to close the gap?
How stable is the business that you are looking to contract with? Look at this from a financial perspective and a 'gut feel' on the long-term viability (e.g. might they be purchased by a competitor?).
5. R&D investment
How much time and investment is the business making in the future of the product or service? This will be crucial to you AFTER the selection has been made and therefore it should be a critical part of your selection decision and RFP scoring exercise.
Have you spoken to customer references? If so, how did they go? How highly did the customers speak of the product or service that the vendor sold them?
7. Cultural fit
How did you find working with the sales team? Can you work with this business moving forwards? Are they a reliable and professional business?
8. Functional fit
If there are areas that are important to the product or service and which should be broken out for more detailed comparison and analysis, break them out and score them head to head.
9. Partners and ecosystem
Do you rely upon a partner or ecosystem for the success of the product or service? If yes, how would you score the availability of resources and the overall quality of this channel? If you were to hit an issue with your current partner, how easily could you find a suitable alternative?
10. Time to value
Which will deliver the solution the quickest and what does this mean to you? Is there an advantage to delivering the project quicker and seeing results faster?
RFP scoring is often seen as a peripheral issue but it is absolutely critical to the success of your project. Judging the vendor selection against poorly selected criteria will lead to a poor decision in the end. It's as important as the questions you ask and the quality of your RFP document - failing to plan your RFP scoring is failing in the RFP.
How can we help you?
Viewpoint Analysis helps businesses to find and select new enterprise technology. Our Vendor Selection Service runs the full process all the way through to vendor selection and includes help scoring and writing the business justification. We'd love to help you with your next technology selection process.