Business intelligence software is a powerful, yet complicated technology. Selecting the best BI platform for your business takes substantial legwork. It’s essential that your selection process, including your request for proposal (RFP), is managed well. When you are ready to create a business intelligence RFP, we recommend the following process to make sure you execute the RFP most effectively.
Define your BI criteria and requirements
First, a key component in building and managing a business intelligence RFP is defining your requirements. We recommend managing and collaborating on your BI requirements, allowing all decision makers involved to list and rank their key requirements. Our comprehensive BI requirements and rfp template is a great starting point.
Whether you are evaluating bi tools that have cloud deployment, data warehouse or other integration capabilities, reporting/dashboards or other features common to BI, you’ll not only want to define those requirements but keep track and prioritize them…with all stakeholders having a say.
Import BI requirements into a formal document
Once you’ve established and ranked your BI requirements, integrate them into your formal BI RFP. Create a professional-looking RFP document (or use a platform) that includes your project goals, an intro to your organization, the requirements you’ve outlined and more. Here’s an additional resource on all that you should include in an RFP.
Share RFP with target BI vendors
After preparing your formal RFP document, you’ll want to shortlist and submit to the vendors you are most interested in. Sending the RFP via email is most common, but an RFP management platform helps manage sending the RFP as well as gathering and tabulating all vendor responses. Whichever path you choose, make sure you include all the vendors you want to reply.
We’ve ranked over 60 BI platforms – see who tops the list.
Review RFP responses
As the vendor responses arrive, you can either collect and wait until all have replied or start organizing and analyzing them on the fly. The benefit of doing it on the fly is to make sure you catch any vendor questions that have been attached to responses. If you don’t catch these questions right away and have waited to gather all responses first, you’ll delay the selection process. Also, waiting to tabulate all responses tends to lead to biases that can negatively affect choosing the correct BI platform for your organization.
After reviewing all the responses received during your business intelligence RFP, you’ll want to move forward with the BI vendors that have best met your criteria. Next steps would include getting demos (if you hadn’t done that prior to shortlisting) and engaging in proof-of-concepts (POCs). Once you’re satisfied with a vendor’s demo and POC, you’ll move to the pricing and contract negotiation and finalization.
Running a business intelligence RFP project requires attention to detail and patience. We recommend using a platform to manage the process – you’ll save 50% of the time it normally takes to complete an RFP project.