Why We Rarely Respond to RFPs

Armen Stein

The buzz of leaf blowers throughout the neighborhood means just one thing – fall is here!  Here are some things I’ve been thinking about.

~ Armen Stein

Seattle City Light’s Late and Overbudget System – Now With Data Leaks


Seattle’s new billing system for utilities is having a rough go of it.  Already over budget, it is now revealed that personal data of customers has been improperly shared with other customers. I wonder if the respondent with the lowest cost won the RFP?

Occasionally we receive invitations to respond to Requests for Proposal (RFPs), but we rarely respond to them.  Here’s why:

  • RFPs are often designed for pre-packaged systems, and the questions reflect that, even when they need a custom application.  Responding to a misworded RFP is awkward at best.
  • It is impossible to accurately estimate the costs of building the system solely from an RFP document.  There are always details left out, and we need to have in-depth discussions with the client to discover them.
  • We must have a good working rapport with our client to successfully complete a project, but RFPs are usually negotiated by a purchasing department.  They often forbid direct contact with the actual people we’ll be working with!
  • Cost is often downplayed as not the most important factor, but often the cheapest response gets the job anyway.
  • There’s often an incumbent developer, and the RFP is being issued just because there’s a mandate to play the field.  That’s a huge waste of time for all the other respondents.

It’s no wonder that we often hear of big government projects going off the rails.  Sure, large projects are hard to do even under ideal circumstances.  But most large failures have one thing in common – they started with an RFP.

Interested in learning more? Contact us today for a free consultation!

Life Detected on Planet Access

any people have the mistaken belief that Access support is being dropped by Microsoft.  These rumors have been around for years, but they’re false.  Access is alive and well, and even the mature Access Desktop environment is getting new enhancements.  In fact, Access 2016 has added several new features as well as an old favorite, dBASE file support.

I’m an Access MVP, and I know that the Access team is actively monitoring UserVoice to gauge demand for new Access Desktop features.  You can voice your opinion too.

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