RFPS are Dead! Here is why we should let them rot

By Daniel O'Leary posted 12-06-2010 10:31



Time of death: December 6, 7:27 a.m., 2010.

As of this moment, ECM, eforms, and capture RFPs are officially dead. Yes, you heard me—DEAD.

As a friend once told me, an RFP is like a colonoscopy, someone you hardly know gets to inspect you from the inside out. Universally, no one seems to enjoy them, yet we continue to do them. Like six month check-ups at the dentist.

With the expansion of the Cloud, and the rise of consumer IT, there is really no point in en

gaging in this outdated process. One of the number one reasons people continue to issue RFPs is because of the fear of making a purchasing mistake. That is one of the main reasons that we at LincWare offer an unconditional money-back guarantee. If we can’t make it work you don’t pay, pretty simple. Plus, we’ll send you a box of cookies. Let’s see an RFP do that.

Here are some more reasons why we should let the RFP rot:

1) Too many cooks in the kitchen

Decisions by committee rarely turn out well for anyone. RFPs are a classic example of too many people having their “must have” items added to the parameters of a major software purchase. Please, don’t let the minutia and quest for perfection get in the way of a good, workable system. By all means, always expect the best. However, it’s very easy to have “scope creep” occur when a committee is formed, especially around capture and ECM.

And no, the software can’t do that. Nor should it. And who asked the intern for ideas, anyway?

2) Consultants make money by prolonging problems, not solving them

Oh, did I touch a nerve? Granted, there are some really talented and professional consulting firms in the world, and those are the ones I recommend you hire if you decide to go this route. However, bringing in a so called “expert” just to have an outside voice is a bad idea. If you want validation of your own ideas, get a tape recorder and talk into a mirror. It will save you money. And help you notice those nose hairs no one has had the courage to mention to you.

3) Software as a service (SAAS) has killed complex implementations

The days of million dollar software implementations are over! With SAAS and the Cloud, you can start projects at amounts you can expense on a credit card. Before you dive into a complex, lengthy bidding process, try SAAS out to explore more viable solutions. In the capture and ECM world, this is becoming even more pronounced with things like remote capture, electronic forms and Cloud-based file storage.

4) Cut and paste is fine for children, not for bids

Googling other organization’s RFPs leads to a Frankenstein monster of epic proportions. Before you go wild cutting and pasting your “masterpiece,” determine why you are issuing an RFP in the first place. And here’s another thought, actually include questions that will result in answers that could lead you to a decision. (I know; the nerve, right?)

It’s obvious when you’ve gone on a search and assembly spree, and it will not help you source the best solution.

5) Vendor secret: we unintentionally overcharge you because things are “mandatory”

Even Wikileaks doesn’t know that.

If you mandate that an item is mandatory (even if we know it is not), don’t be surprised when you’re surprised by the price. Why? Because by making an item mandatory, even if your vendor thinks it won’t solve the problem it still has to be included in the price. Unfortunately, this means customers end up overpaying, usually by quite a bit. And then that item never gets used.

To avoid this, consider not making items mandatory. Rather, ask questions like “How would you solve a problem like XYZ?”

6) If all else fails, please use the AIIM templates

If you absolutely insist on sending out an RFP, you can get a nice head start by using the AIIM template. This document lays a common framework for responses and evaluation and greatly streamlines the process.

7) Please, just don’t do it

This is my personal plea to you as someone who has been on all sides of this process: Please, just don’t do it. Say no to RFPs. Use the AIIM product ratings, get on Twitter, ask the experts here. We can save you time, money and heartache all for free! If you need help, can you contact me personally and I’ll try my best to keep you out of the quicksand. And not sigh too much.

So community, what is your RFP horror story? Can you top the USA losing the World Cup bid to Qatar? Love RFPs and hate these revolutionary ideas? What do you think?

#RFP #Capture #ScanningandCapture #e-forms #cloud #Consultants #consumers #bestpractices