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Simple guide to RFI


If you’re looking to invest in a new tool for your business, you’ll need to do your research.

In many cases, that research will begin with a Request for Information (RFI).

Not sure what RFI is? We’ve got you covered in this quick guide.

What does RFI mean?

RFI or Asking Information is an educational tool used by shopping groups to understand the options available to solve a problem or complete a task.

For example, if a business needs a new server solution, they send RFI and the hosting companies respond to share more information about their products and services to educate the buying team. shopping.

RFIs are important because they reduce blind spots and empower your team to make better decisions. With more information at your disposal, you can understand the market and better understand the questions you will need to ask as you move forward in the shopping process.

RFI vs. RFP

Both RFI and RFP are tools used when procuring new tools, services or suppliers. However, a Request for Proposal (RFP) differs from an Information Request (RFI) in several ways, including when and the type of information requested.

RFI is the first step a company takes to gather information from potential suppliers, as described above. Its main goal is to gather information, not to make a final decision. Once the RFIs are submitted, the company reviews them and comes up with the best options, retrofitting with further details. They will usually send an RFP.

A A Proposal Request is a formal request to the selected supplier or supplier for a specific contractual opportunity. The document specifies the range and price so that potential suppliers can bid on the work.

These bids are then compared to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each supplier and to choose the most suitable. The RFP is a decision document, so the questions are more targeted and specific.

After the RFP, companies may be contacted by RFQ or Request a Quote to break the project down into specific product and cost structures.

Best practices for RFI documentation

The more you think about your RFI material, the better quality response you will receive. Instead of accidentally emailing a sales rep and requesting information, creating an RFI document will ensure that you get exactly the information you need. In that document, make sure:

  • Be clear about what information you are requesting, in a way that will make it easier for you to review all the feedback you receive.
  • Be specific about how and when you would like to receive a provider’s response.
  • Be open-ended so that vendors can provide information they deem relevant, but you may not know to ask. That’s what RFI is so great about.
  • Be short and respect the supplier’s timing.

RFI is usually presented in PDF format or posted on a website to make it easy for vendors to read and respond to.

Request Information Form

Generating your first RFI can be overwhelming. What should you ask for? What information does the supplier need to know? To help answer those questions, use this simple template to get the most out of the RFI process.

1. Overview or Statement of Needs

Outline your goals and goals, along with some general information about your company. This section should be brief and give an overview of your project to those who don’t have background information.

2. Organizational Context

Including additional information about your organization can help suppliers tailor their responses to your needs. You might want to mention which department is leading the project, who your customers are and what your company values ​​are, among other things.

3. Details of what is needed

What problem are you looking to solve? What information do you need? This is where you can detail what you are looking for. Include any additional information a supplier may need to know to develop a thorough RFI response. That could include:

  • Any skills and information a respondent may need to be successful
  • General process or scope
  • What are you Not search

4. Information about the process

Explain how interested parties should respond to RFI. Attach a response form if you have one, outline any deadlines, and note if and when you will respond to the respondent after the RFIs have been collected. You may want to mention any evaluation criteria you will use when creating shortlists for RFPs.

3 RFI (Request Information) Model

Need more inspiration? Read through the following RFI examples for more idea of ​​what to include in your. These three RFIs all come from different industries and have different needs, so they are a good overview of the options available to you.

1. NASA

When NASA decommissioned the space shuttle parts, they wanted to display them in museums or other educational institutions. To gauge interest and understand potential options for a department about to retire, they open an RFI. Here is a sample of the document:

“This RFI is being used to gather market research for NASA to make decisions regarding the development of the Space Shuttle’s Orbital Main Engine (SSME) layout strategies to display public after SSP conclusions NASA is seeking information from educational institutions, science museums, and other appropriate organizations about the community’s ability to purchase and display the Space Shuttle. after these vehicles have stopped working. “

We like this RFI example because it provides a simple overview of the purpose of the RFI and outlines what NASA wants to learn from the process.

2. Government of Canada

Government websites are a great place to find RFI examples as they are required to make all procurement processes publicly available. The following example is from one word RFI for financial planning software.

This RFI requirements section is a great example of how to explain what you do and don’t need in the answer. While the Canadian government is looking for financial planning software, it will keep the CRM provider and their datasheet.

3. University of Ottawa

In the following RFI except, University of Ottawa are looking for an integrated ERP solution. What’s unique about this RFI is how they want to get feedback. Instead of collecting written responses or documents, U of O is scheduling strategic discussions with vendors. This is a unique way to gather information, but is useful when you do not have enough knowledge of the field to compile a scope of work.

“The University of Ottawa (University) is releasing this Inquiry (RFI) to schedule strategic discussions (via conference call) from Interested Vendors with experience in ERP Integration.

The purpose of these discussions is to gather feedback from Vendors to assist the School in developing a more accurate Scope of Work and an overall approach to an upcoming Request for Proposal (RFP). for ERP Integration solutions. ”

Request success

Each RFI will be unique to your organization and the information you require. Using the sample above as a guide to generating RFI will save you time in evaluating potential solutions.

With the right information sent your way, all you need to do is read it out! You’ll settle down on the road to finding the best solution for your team’s needs.

sample rfp

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