Choosing the wrong software development vendor can damage your brand and waste your time, let alone have disastrous financial consequences for your company. While the market of distributed development grows, it’s become common for organizations to prefer outsourcing vendors for programming solutions.
IT vendor selection (which is an essential part of IT vendor management) is a meticulous process, requiring careful evaluation of a vast number of candidates. That said, you’ll save a lot of time and resources if you streamline the selection process by sending Requests for Information (RFI) for software development to several firms at once.
RFI (request for information) is a document that organizations send to potential vendors to gather data about their skills, size, experience, pricing, as well as products and services that they offer. Companies then use obtained information to decide which vendor suits them the most. RFI makes it much easier to compare different firms because it filters out those that don’t fit your needs from the get-go and encourages competition among the remaining ones.
There is no multi-tool RFI format to fit every company. However, understanding the essentials can help you create a well-structured software RFI template. You can download ready-made RFI template from ProjectManager.com.
We suggest dividing your request into two sections:
1. Introduction that contains information about your company and its goals, and sets a deadline for the response.
2. List of specific questions to ask vendors, including inquiries about their skills, size, resources, and pricing.
Table of Contents
This segment tells about your company, its background, the purpose of the RFI, required products, and a deadline for a response. It usually consists of six parts.
Describe your organization:
Explain your confidentiality policies, intellectual, and proprietary rights. You can put them at the start of the RFI template if it’s vital for further collaboration.
What are you aiming for with the RFI? You should state your purpose here. For example, the goal of the request could be to see which remote development company might solve your problems most quickly and cost-effectively.
You need to clarify as much information as possible if you want potential vendors to have a clear picture of your goals.
Ideally, you can supply this section with visual content to make sure that outsourcing companies have a better understanding of your requests.
Before submitting an RFI for software development, we advise you to develop an outline of the skills, resources, programming languages, or platforms required for your project.
This section includes information about:
Define the guidelines about the response format. If you want vendors to send you answers according to the structure of the template provided, you should state so here.
You must set the time frame to get a reply from vendors. Additionally, point out if your partner selection process has the following phases, like RFQ (Request for Quotation) or RFP (Request for Proposal).
At the end of the introduction section, provide the contact information and the person representing your company in further communications with vendors.
This section contains specific questions to ask vendors, including inquiries about the vendor’s experience, references, technical skills, working methods, as well as pricing.
We advise adhering to the norms of business writing, which means that your text must have a neutral tone and it should be written with an appropriate level of difficulty.
Please note, that you shouldn’t include every question in your RFI template. List only those that are relevant to your project.
If you followed our RFI template for software development, then you’re going to receive thorough and relevant data that makes it easier to compare vendors. Although, your job is still far from over if you want to pick the company that’ll suit your project the most.
To streamline your selection process further, we compiled a list of things you should pay attention to when selecting an outsourcing company.
Let’s suppose your firm is looking for a remote developer with particular skillsets. Then, among the first things to consider would be his tech expertise and experience with similar projects.
Also, in case your organization is working on a massive project that requires the cooperation of multiple dev teams, you better note companies that successfully collaborated with other distributed teams before.
Remember the “Experience and Credibility” subsection in the RFI template? The vendors you contacted should list customer references. The client’s feedback is an excellent tool for helping you choose the right software developer. You can also double-check the customers’ feedback using Clutch or other review platforms.
The brand represents its performance. Vendors with industry recognition are prone to attract talent and have fewer problems with employee retention.
In fact, Relevant Software is regularly featured in lists of Top software organizations as a company, dedicated to engineering perfect software solutions.
You won’t find your best match just by looking for a vendor that has the most attractive price for his services. However, the payment rate must be optimal for the scope and size of your project. Look out for the price model that suits you best. With distributed development, you’ll save money either way. For example, Ukrainian software firms tend to have much lower rates than those that work in the US or other parts of Europe.
If you are looking for a long-term collaboration, make sure that software developer can provide you with a stable team of professionals that can work for your firm as long as you want. Recurring clients are a good sign of a company’s stability. Over the past 6 years, Relevant Software provided its services to more than 150 clients and some customers benefit from our services for more than 4 years.
The vendor must have a well-protected IT infrastructure and convenient location. Great workplaces contribute to creating a comfortable atmosphere at the office, which in turn boosts productivity of employees.
It’s true that strong outsourcing vendors can scale its dev teams to accommodate the needs of every client. Nevertheless, if the sizes of your firm are similar, it can enhance your collaboration. To be treated as a very important customer (VIC), you should go for a vendor who suits your size.
Pay attention to the answers about employee staffing and vetting. Due to the access to a global talent pool, it’s essential to inquire about how offshore development companies screen the candidates before taking them on board.
Choosing a remote development team is a meticulous process that requires a lot of research and assessment. However, using our RFI format, you’ll obtain a fuller picture that will help you pick the right company.
Since 2013, more than 150 clients from the US, UK, Europe, and the Middle East trusted us with developing their web and mobile projects, and the number of recurring and satisfied customers continues to grow. If you are interested in building a remote development team, we’ll gladly receive your RFI and especially so if it’s crafted according to our template.