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CTO Insights: The RFP Process

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October 7, 2020

At Atom CTO, we’ve written a fair few RFPs (Requests for Proposals) for clients. For us, having a clear and detailed RFP is the first step in the process of choosing the right tech development partner for your project. In this article we outline four key points to keep in mind during the RFP process:

1. Know exactly what you want to achieve from your RFP

When writing RFPs it is important to know exactly what the goal is of your technology build and what it is you want bidders to bid on – do you need design help as well as development, do you want them to help you with user acceptance testing or do you have an internal team that can perform that work. Whether it is in the RFP or within the email that you send out, be sure to make it clear to the company bidding what it is you want to see in the proposal and what key points they must include in it for you to make an informed judgement on who to pick.

2. Think of it like building a house

If you were looking to build a house, you wouldn’t walk up to an architect and tell them to build you a house. They’d want to know how many bedrooms, bathrooms, the size of rooms, do you want rooms for children, a place for your elderly parents to live etc. Building technology is much the same thing. Think of who your tech is aimed at and convey the motivations behind building it – are you looking to reach a specific user group i.e. business, consumers or employee, what should be the main focus of the tech, are you making money from the platform or are you trying to automate processes to save costs, how will building this technology add value to your business etc.

3. Go into as much detail as possible

If your RFP is vague or too open to interpretation, the responses you receive will differ greatly from the vision and end goal that you may have in mind. Ultimately you want to compare like with like and if you are not specific in your requirements then different bidders will have different notions of what you are trying to achieve. You want to provoke questions but you don’t want to generate uncertainty across vendors.

4. Choose carefully and check references!

When it comes to finding an IT development partner you need to think of them as a long term partner and that is a decision that shouldn’t be rushed. Be sure to compare tenders and the responses you receive, not only in terms of price but also on their past projects, the team they will use to deliver the work and always talk to their references to determine whether they will be a good fit for you. Ideally you should weigh the importance of the criteria you are using to select a partner and use the weighted score to compare them – the cheapest option may not be the best option for you overall.

At the end of the day, you want your IT development partner to be as in line with your ideas as possible in order to reach the desired end product, and this is best done through detailed and thorough RFPs and careful consideration of the proposals you receive.

In the podcast below, Atom CTO co-founder Sam Noble and I discuss in more detail our thoughts on the RFP process:

If you’d like to learn more about Atom CTO then feel free to reach out to us and book a free consultation at – www.atomcto.com