BPA Featured Article

The 'Why' of Request for Proposals: Expert (Part 1)

By Kelly McGuire, TMCnet Editor
January 19, 2010

Editor’s Note: Requests for proposals, or a request for a quote, or “RFQ,” is a process companies implement to put out outsourced work for bid amongst competing providers. In many industries, including the telecommunications industry, these requests are used to organize the process of selecting service providers for various duties within a company. Craig Antonucci, 3rd party remote call monitoring provider BPA International’s director of Client Strategies, breaks apart the process, weighs in on the pros and cons of the systems and offers insight as to how these strategies work.

In the contact center industry, these RFPs and RFQs are in high demand. Today, an organization looking to employ outside services will release an RFP or RFQ that calls for any prospective suppliers to submit bids for business, with in depth details of the conditions of the actual work assignment.
Craig Antonucci, 3rd party remote call monitoring provider BPA International’s director of Client Strategies, told me in a recent interview that these requests will typically have a standard set of questions that will be used to compare prospective vendors.
After the requests are sent out by an organization, bids are collected and compared based on predetermined criteria, ultimately choosing a partner or partners that best suit their needs.
But, with so many steps to take in order to effectively execute an RFP, why would a company even bother?
“RFP’s are a structured and organized way to assess and compare several vendors for the same outsourced work,” Antonucci said, adding that most companies have many unique ways of doing business that make them hard to compare in a typical sales situation.
“By producing an RFP, a company can compare ‘apples to apples’ by forcing the prospective vendor to answer specific questions and bid on the business in a similar manner,” he added.
But, like most processes in the business world, there are some downfalls to conducting business through an RFP.
“While the RFP process is organized and structured, it tends to lose much of the human element of choosing a partner for services provided,” Antonucci said. “When choosing an outsourced partner, the people you work with are as important as the pricing and product you are getting for your investment.” 
For an industry veteran like Antonucci who has seen many RFP’s awarded without ever meeting the managers and team members they would be working with, there are pros and cons of the system.
“Choosing the correct partner only begins with product and price…the service, dedication and flexibility of that partner is what makes for the ideal outsourced provider,” Antonucci said.
Check back next week to find out how to properly conduct an RFP and how BPA is affected by these processes.

Kelly McGuire is a TMCnet Web editor, covering CRM and workforce technologies, and anchor of its daily TMC Newsroom video broadcast. Kelly also writes about eco-friendly "green" technologies and smart grids, compiling TMCnet's weekly e-Newsletters on those topics, as well as the cable industry. To read more of Kelly's articles, please visit her columnist page.