The following is an article I contributed for my Learning Management Systems and Organizations course.
A Request for Proposal (RFP) is inadequately named. While it is, in fact, an invitation for vendors to submit bids on a specific product or service (Request for Proposal, 2009), an RFP is so much more than a request for just information or pricing. An RFP is a process and one that entails much planning/analysis on the part of the requester.
An RFP is an opportunity for the requester to document all specification requirements in the initial planning stages of a project. In doing so, vendors can more accurately assess whether their company can provide the goods or services being sought.
In addition, providing detailed information on one's needs/wants up front saves substantial time and money during the development and implementation stages of a project.
An RFP can be compared to the process of online dating. A member creates a profile and posts information about what he/she is looking for in a partner. The more detailed a member's profile, the more likely he/she will find a compatible match. Similarly, the more information a requester details in an RFP, the more likely they are to find a vendor who can supply what they are looking for.
Request for proposal. (2009, August 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:06, August 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Request_for_proposal&oldid=309268482