Although they seem quite similar, the acronyms RFI and RFP represent different components in the procurement process. The RFI is a (Request For Information), and the RFP is a (Request For Proposal). They are official documents issued by organizations preparing to purchase a product or service from vendors.

They are very similar in structure but differ slightly in that they indicate varying levels of preparedness to purchase. Issuing an RFI indicates being less prepared to purchase than the issue of an RFP.

An RFI is usually issued when a company is early in the decision process and is looking to understand what competing vendor options are available. Responses to the RFI assist the purchasing vendor in determining what solutions are available to solve their business problem and which vendors have the most market knowledge.

An RFP is issued when the issuer is ready to purchase and is looking for detailed information about vendors to decide which vendor is the best fit for their business. RFP responses typically include pricing, as well as deadlines and timelines the successful competitor will need to meet in order to win the business.

What is a Request for Information (RFI)?

The Request for Information (RFI) is a document sent to vendors that allow issuers to gather information about the various vendors in the market, their products, and approaches. The RFI will include many more questions of the two – RFI and RFP – so it is important that subject matter experts are prepared in advance with the latest information about vendor offerings and how they can be used to solve business challenges that appear in the RFI document.

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The primary purpose of an RFI is to evaluate a supplier’s capabilities before deciding whether that supplier should be included on the shortlist for a subsequent release of an RFP. Responses to an RFI can help to shape the issuers thinking, potentially giving your organization an advantage if an RFP is issued. Take the time to show the issuer that you understand their challenges, and share your company’s insights for a solution through your experience and expertise.

What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)?

An RFP is an invitation to vendors to submit a response and bid for a specific project. It includes all the details about the project. The issuing party has signaled they are ready to evaluate various vendors to select the one that is best suited to contract for business. Responders should read the RFP carefully to ensure a sound understanding of the business needs. The response will include unique features and solutions that set the vendor apart from the competition, customer success stories, and achievements while focusing on the issuer’s needs.

Advantages of Expedience RFP and RFI Automation Software

Expedience Software is the industry’s leading RFP and RFI response software native to Microsoft Office. With Expedience, your sales and proposal teams will respond to RFPs making their greatest-ever proposals, using branded and curated content from a centralized library, all from directly within Microsoft Word! Built on the familiar Microsoft Word ribbon interface, proposal writers quickly find the best answers to complete requests for proposals. The content library is quickly searched by highlighting a question directly from the RFP. Writers can also find your best proposal assets through simple and intuitive pull-down gallery menus, visually browsing content with thumbnails, searching keywords, and more.

Features of the Expedience solution:

  • Native to Microsoft Word, Expedience Software is easy to learn and use for responses.
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) & Contributors are not required to learn a new solution or purchase a license. All of their contributions are completed within Microsoft Word documents.
  • Our clients use our software by various methods, including Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, email, & other best-in-class collaboration tools.
  • There is no need to upload content to a third-party platform with Expedience. Customer content is always owned and controlled exclusively by the customer and can be posted behind the customer firewall for added security if desired.
  • Advanced search capability and weighted answers ensure that best matches to questions are placed directly into the proposal document.
  • Content can be tailored with placeholders, pre-formatted tables, and inline writing guides.

Expedience Software RFP and RFI Response Solutions

The Expedience Software team has provided RFI and RFP response solutions to its clients with excellent service for over 20 years and can help you create winning responses to your RFIs and RFPs.

We hope this article has helped you understand the differences between RFIs and RFPs. If you are looking for help, Expedience Software offers easy-to-use response solutions while providing extensive functionality. Contact us today!