An IT RFP should detail the problem and be as specific as possible to attract vendors who are a good fit.
If you’re in need of an information technology solution, the first thing you need to do is learn how to write an information technology request for proposal (IT RFP).
With an abundance of tech services companies out there, it is important to be as specific as possible and create a detailed RFP to increase the chances of finding an adequate solution to your problem.
Below, we offer an IT RFP 101 guide on how to write an exemplary request for proposal and to find the perfect solution to your problem, including an example of an RFP IT services template.
We also provide a free, downloadable IT services RFP template that you can use for your project.
Table of Contents
What Is An IT Services RFP?
An RFP for IT services is a document that businesses create when they require services or solutions for an information technology project. This document basically explains the RFP meaning and details the requirements of the project and the services needed.
An IT RFP details the problem and includes key information about the project, such as the scope, budget and desired timeline.
An IT request for proposal can cover a range of information technology services from app and software development to web design and general IT support such as network maintenance.
The RFP For IT Services Process
There are plenty of guidelines on writing an RFP for specific industries such as
- eCommerce RFP
- Web design RFP
- Web development RFP
- Branding RFP
- Mobile app development RFP
- Digital marketing RFP
- SEO RFP
- Software Development RFP
- Social Media RFP
However, most of the key steps apply to basically any industry.
Here’s how to prepare for an effective information technology RFP.
Determine Whether You Need an RFP
Issuing a technology RFP requires careful planning and preparation.
RFP documents are typically issued for complex problems that require customizable solutions. Consider the scope and complexity of your problem to see whether it’s necessary to issue an RFP.
For minor fixes, you could instead issue a request for quotations (RFQ) or a request for information (RFI). These are shorter, simpler documents that aren’t nearly as time-consuming as RFPs.
On the other hand, if your company is looking to do a complete website redesign, this type of project requires an RFP given the scope of work and expertise needed.
Define Your Goals and Priorities
Before you issue an IT RFP, define your goals. For example, you might be looking to replace your existing IT outsourced service provider. Let's say you’re developing an application and you’re looking to find qualified developers to work on the app.
What kind of goals are you hoping to achieve once you find the right IT service provider? Are there specific goals you want them to accomplish within a certain timeframe?
Be as specific as you can so the proposals you receive will be accurate.
Find Examples of RFPs
Find examples of RFP documents and see how other companies have handled them.
This will help you get an idea of the structure of an RFP so you can prepare for writing your own. You can even find available RFP templates online for inspiration.
How To Write An Effective IT RFP in 8 Steps
Once you’ve defined the goals you want to accomplish, you are ready to start writing an information technology RFP.
The RFP process contains multiple steps.
Every RFP should include:
- Details about your problem
- Goals and needs
- Technical requirements
- Budget details
Here’s what your IT RFP should include:
1. Project Overview
In the project overview, introduce your company and outline the central problem you are facing.
Emphasize the solution you’re looking for, whether it’s website design or a custom content management solution.
This section serves to provide a brief overview of the goal of your RFP so there is no need to go to details here. You will provide details in the following sections.
2. Company Background
The company background or profile section serves to introduce your brand to potential vendors.
Include details such as who you are, what you do, what your values and mission are and more to find a vendor that’s a good fit.
3. Project Goals
In this section, you explain the outcome you want to accomplish by issuing your RFP. List the goals you have in mind as well as any metrics that might be relevant for measuring the success of the outcome.
The more detailed and clear you are about the project goals and what you want to achieve, the higher the chances that you will find a suitable service provider and meet your goals. This also helps vendors who will bid for the project understand your desired goals and objectives and tailor their RFP response.
4. Scope of Work
Outlining the scope of work helps vendors determine the amount of resources it will take to complete the project.
For example, if you’re writing an IT RFP for web design or redesign, you should include the deliverables and list the tasks you will pay for such as design, optimization for search engines, copywriting, etc.
Based on the information you provide in this section vendors can estimate the total cost and timeline of the project and can submit their proposals accordingly.
5. Technical Requirements
This is where you list all the technical requirements or limitations in advance so that vendors know what is expected of them.
Or if you’re issuing an RFP for SEO, you need to include your target audience demographic as well as your current SEO strategy and technical SEO capabilities.
Similarly, if you’re issuing an RFP for eCommerce requesting a new platform, you will need to list the features the platform must have as well as website integrations.
The time frame for completing a project will vary depending on the scope of work and complexity. However, you need to provide a timeline for your request.
Do you have a deadline you need to adhere to for the project? Or are you planning a big event such as a product launch and need the job to be done by then?
Determining the budget for an RFP is a crucial step as it impacts the proposals you will receive from vendors.
Establish a budget for the solution you’re looking for and be clear about it. This enables IT companies that will bid for the project to determine whether they want to respond.
If you can’t provide exact numbers, give a ballpark figure and let vendors know you’re open to negotiation.
Quality services can be costly so setting a budget helps vendors evaluate what they can provide for the same price.
8. Criteria for Selection
When you issue your IT RFP, you will likely receive proposals from different companies with varying levels of expertise and capabilities.
Some may offer benefits such as low cost while others will bid on fast delivery or best quality.
This is why it is important to establish criteria for the selection to define what it is that you are looking for in a vendor.
Is low price the priority? Do you require team members to be located in your area?
You may ask vendors to provide examples of similar projects they worked on or to submit client references to help make your decision.
Why is the criteria for selection important? Because it will help attract vendors with the right qualities so no time is wasted in the process.
Sending Your RFP
The time has come to send your IT RFP. At this stage, it is useful to have a list of companies you would like to bid for your project.
With so many possible options out there, a list of suitable IT vendors with desired qualifications comes in handy.
To create a list of companies you want to send your RFP to, you should:
- Research eligible vendors
- Conduct Q&A to learn about their experience and competencies
- Ask people in your network for recommendations
Once you have your list of companies ready, email them to ask if they would be interested in receiving an IT RFP. Be sure to introduce your company briefly and what the purpose of the request for proposal is. No need to go into detail here as the TV service providers who are interested in working with you will read your RFP to learn more details about the project.
Also, you should include a deadline for sending proposals. The last step is to attach your IT RFP and send it to the chosen recipients.
When you start receiving proposals, we recommend conducting short interviews to go through the RFP to answer any questions and clarify the request for proposal.
RFP Template For IT Services
RFP template for IT services is useful for creating your own request for proposal from scratch, because it already contains all the essential fields and questions that just need filling out by the agency.
You can also download your copy of a free IT RFP template to the right on this page.
Here is an example of what a well-rounded IT services RFP template should contain
About The Company
Provide a company overview, your mission, vision, values, target audience and more.
IT Environment Overview
- Office Locations:
- Number of Employees:
- Core Hardware:
- Software Systems:
- Remote Access / VPN:
IT Service Requirements
Help Desk Support
Server & Network System Monitoring
Patch Management Services & Preventative Maintenance
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Email System Management
Antivirus, AntiSpam & Antispyware Protection
Security Systems Monitoring
Warranty and Asset Inventory Management
Software Licensing Control
Desktop and Laptop Support
Printers, Copiers and Scanners
Desktop Software Standardization and Software Licensing and Upgrades
Lifecycle Management of Hardware Units
Technology Strategy Planning
IT Policy Review and Development
Primary RFP Contact
List the person who will be responding to questions regarding this RFP and receiving proposals and include their emails and phone numbers.
- Completeness of solution
- Expertise and experience
- Demonstrated customer service quality and support
- Previous relevant experience
- Vendor strength and stability
- Account management
- Reporting capabilities
- Financial considerations
Enter the criteria that you will be holding on to when evaluating candidate agencies.
Enter the key tasks and dates as they align with your RFP process
The Best IT Agencies to Send an RFP to
- Location: 16192, Coastal Highway, Lewes, Delaware 19958, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $25/hr
- Expertise: IT, Managed Services
Coversine provides a single point of sale for all their clients' tech needs. With the uprising of cloud technologies, your website can be developed, secured, stored, promoted, and managed from anywhere in the world.
Their cloud gurus will take care of any website as their own, so that their clients can put all their efforts into expanding their business. They offer the complete exclusive service of maintaining the site/server up-time, which means we regularly backup your site on your behalf, and recover your site, in case of hacks/attacks/etc.
Their team is global, and works remotely to maintain clients' business presence at all times.
Article Update: IT Services RFP
2. Red Jumpers
- Location: 2 Jana Kilinskiego squar, Rzeszów, 35-005, Poland
- Average Hourly Rate: $30/hr
- Expertise: IT, IT Staffing, Outsourcing Software Development, Staff Augmentation, HR Outsourcing...
Red Jumpers is a partner agency for IT companies with a trusted partner network of European tech companies for talent and project sharing.
The agency is focused on helping IT and software brands increase their clients, acquire the expertise they need and expand their teams. Their IT partners can enjoy numerous perks, which include access to a large pool of vetted software engineers, validated tech requests, negotiation support, market analytics and more.
Their clients include Ralabs, Qarea, Webinerds, Acropolium and Upplabs.
- Location: 21777 Ventura Blvd, Los Angeles, California 91364, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $34/hr
- Expertise: IT Outsourcing, Staff Augmentation, HR Outsourcing, IT Staffing
micro1 is the agency of choice for companies looking to hire the best remote developers who belong in the top 1% of the workforce.
Partnering with micro1 allows businesses to not only cut through the long process of hiring developers but also save on costs. Out of thousands of applications, they will hand-pick the best recommendations according to your requirements, and all you have to do is to interview and choose the best fit for your company.
What sets micro1 apart is its emphasis not only on technical competencies but also on soft skills when hiring developers.
- Location: 2 Plac Jana Kilińskiego, Rzeszów, 35-005, Poland
- Average Hourly Rate: $40/hr
- Expertise: IT Staffing, Staff Augmentation, Staffing, Recruiting
Talentica is an IT staffing agency that highlights high-quality human mediation to help achieve synergic collaborations in broad-minded projects.
Talentica helps businesses find the best front-end, back-end, full-stack and mobile developers who can work with different technologies. They do this in the most time- and cost-efficient way, working with your budget and needs to build a team that can help reach your goals.
To date, Talentica has helped over 650 IT companies get matched with 20,000 talents.
- Location: Saryarka district 187/4, Nur Sultan, 050000, Kazakhstan
- Average Hourly Rate: $25/hr
- Expertise: IT Outsourcing, WordPress Development, Outsourcing Software Development, Website Development, Mobile App Development…
Plavno provides staffing and outsourcing services that allow businesses to scale more quickly and cost-effectively. The agency promises a 30-50% reduction in acquisition costs and 35-60% in labor costs.
Plavno has a troop of remote senior IT experts who can seamlessly integrate with your teams. They also offer full-cycle software development services in different frameworks and technologies — whether you need a mobile app, website, or eCommerce.
Their expertise is backed by numbers — throughout 13 years, Plavno has launched 300 successful projects for 250 clients worldwide.
- Location: 112 West 34th Street, 18th Floor, New York, New York 10120, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $225/hr
- Expertise: IT, IT Outsourcing, Penetration Testing, Managed Services
For Mac-based firms, Virtua Computers exists to solve problems related to Apple technology and help the business flourish in the ecosystem. The agency boasts multiple Apple certifications as well as other accreditations like Addigy Certified Expert and JumpCloud Core Certification.
Their Mac IT support covers several issues such as server setup, data recovery, network security, iOS device management, external backup and more. They also offer managed IT, strategy planning, and fast customer support with 24/7 emergency service.
Virtua Computers has worked with clients in retail, graphic design, retail and non-profit.
- Location: 2150 Illini Road, Springfield, Illinois 62704, United States
- Average Hourly Rate: $100/hr
- Expertise: Accounting, IT, Business Consulting
ZG Worldwide provides a single source for solutions in technology, business, marketing, communications and healthcare. Their choice of services makes forming a multidisciplinary team less difficult.
Hundreds of businesses across the US and globally have connected with their broad range of associates. They provide short to long-term interim staffing, managed IT services and marketing/communications as well as permanent placement. Former Fortune 500 C-suite IT executives comprise the agency's group of the world's foremost technology leaders.
Clients include Health Best International, Linder Family Farms, Lion Lake International Tourism Resort.
- Location: Office # 25, First Floor, Aim Arcade, D-12 Markaz, Islamabad, 44000, Pakistan
- Average Hourly Rate: $25/hr
- Expertise: Digital Marketing, Graphic Design, Branding
The SquarePeg is a digital marketing agency with web development and team training services. Their team consists of professionals in front-end and back-end development.
In growing your website and building your online presence, The SquarePeg can assist you with domain registration/transfer, landing page creation, wireframing and website security. These are in addition to SEO, SEM, PPC and everything else that helps you build and maintain an audience.
Their clients include WooStudy, LocateMotion, Your Doctors Online and Zippy.
Key IT RFP Takeaways
Writing an IT RFP requires time but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Your IT RFP should include:
- Project Overview
- Company Background
- Goals and Priorities
- Project Requirements
- Selection Criteria
The key is to focus on the goals you are looking to achieve and to include vital information that will attract the right suppliers with the right capabilities.
Don’t be afraid to be as detailed as possible in your IT RFP and be transparent. Include questions for potential vendors to help you find the perfect service provider for your needs.