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Looking for Advice on organizing RFPs

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  • Looking for Advice on organizing RFPs

    I've seemingly been charged with managing the meta data around my company's RFP responses, which is starting to amount a lot of data. Initially, I was just tracking this information through an excel spreadsheet, but ultimately I believe this will become rather unwieldy as time goes on, and trend analysis becomes a priority (which is truly already happening). Additionally, I've noticed that as the responses get older, the surrounding details become impossible to retrieve as employees move on, or documents are lost/misplaced.

    What I would like advice on is a technology solution/system which I can utilize to help manage this process (if there even is such a thing) and being rather new to the GTD mentality, I thought a little group think might be in order. Being an avid RSS'er with the likes of lifehacker and freewaregenius I've tried out a couple solutions including Chandler and Incollector to try and put a handle on all this, but have not been satisfied with all the results as of yet.

    Essentially I want to track stuff like products involved, parties involved, money proposed, but then after an RFP has been completed and a winner has been selected, I need to maintain a dialogue with the purchasing agents to try and obtain the competitive bids, and they can be reluctant/stingy at times so there is a bit of persistence required on my part. All of this, then a bit of reporting based on that meta data. Can anyone point me in an appropriate direction to get the ball rolling?

    My thanks to you lot in advance.


  • #2
    I like to start with the simplest thing that could possibly work. It's one of my favorite attributes of GTD: You don't need a $50 day planner; you need a sheet of paper or a plain-text computer file.

    Looks like you have three major sets of information per client: RFP attributes (products involved, money proposed, etc.), a record of the dialogue between you and the client, and reporting on the final RFP attributes.

    I think the attributes, and reporting of those attributes, are actually best handled in Excel. That's exactly what it's good for.

    A freeform record of dialogue between you and a client (e.g., "Left voicemail 7 July 08") is best kept in a freeform system. I'd create text files (in .RTF format), one per RFP, and record that freeform information in each text file. If you see a pattern in the text files, you can always pull that patterned data into the Excel file.


    • #3

      Wow, 661 people viewed this topic? That's unreal. I don't think I know 660 people.

      Anyhow, I wanted thank Brent for his advice on the paper route and the freeform method/approach.

      Ultimately, Lifehacker/Microsoft provided the answer I needed, and I thought I would come back to share the results.

      The other day Lifehacker recommended new students check out MS One Note which was a program apparently released in the 2003 version of office, and while my company did not install it with the defacto laptop image; I was able to download the demo. After playing with the program, I will not be going back to any old ways of trying to manage this process because not only does it allow me to track free form information about a given RFP process, and organize that in any way I see fit, and to post links to the document storage location on our company's intranet, but it allows me to tag information in any customized way I see fit, and then globally report on that information by creating a summary sheet about all of our sales people. In addition, it integrates with MS office so I can set task reminders which automatically get added to my to do list, and I can transfer emails from one system to the other seamlessly allowing me to track all communications.

      Then, the rest of the information for metrics and such can just live in excel, which is where they were meant to reside so that I can create pivot tables and such.

      Well I hope this helps some other folks besides myself. I'm really not a MS fanboy (way more like Google), but this has really gotten me excited about the process and what kinds of things I can accomplish again.

      Feel free to email me if you have questions.

      Thanks again!