While WCM needs-analysis and generation of a master requirements document (MRD) usually prove to be quite in-depth undertakings for most clients, the RFP submitted to vendors should aim to be as simple and concise as possible. Here’s why.

When vendors receive a very long, nuanced description of a functional requirement, it becomes easier for them to craft a response that technically satisfies the requirement and simultaneously to withhold other relevant and more meaningful detail. On the other hand, when vendors receive a brief description of a functional requirement or category, along with specific instructions to provide as much detail as possible (at risk of not receiving credit if enough detail is not provided), they often feel compelled to write as much they can. The abundance of information found in such responses usually allows the customer to discern just how well a vendor’s products or solutions match line items in the MRD.

Recommendation to Gilbane clients: After detailed needs analysis and creation of an MRD, pare the language for each functional criterion in the RFP to a somewhat general level. For example, rather than inquiring specifically about content locking models (along with the other 20-30 minute components within library services) ask instead for a complete description of what the vendor’s solution provides in the library services category. It is essential to state that more detail in the response is better than less, and that if a vendor omits relevant information, they may not receive full marks for that category. Following this suggestion, you will be surprised at how much more insight you gain from vendors RFP responses.