RIP the Traditional RFP

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“When you stop to think about it, doing business FOR customers instead of TO customers makes all the sense in the world. Simple. Powerful. Full of promise and potential!”

iStock_RFPAh, the request for proposal­—or RFP, for short. Whether you love them or hate them, they’re still the preferred vendor screening tool of choice for technology buyers and purchasing department gatekeepers. After decades of practice, sales teams are highly adept at responding to RFPs that have asked the same set of standardized questions for years. Questions such as: 

  • Does your software have X, Y, and Z features?
  • What is your mission-critical support offer?
  • What are your standard support coverage hours?
  • What are the technical requirements of your product?
  • Do you have documented APIs for integration?
  • What types of integration and implementation services do you offer?


But all of this is about to change as customers begin to apply a completely different set of measures to the suppliers they evaluate. As more business and technical buyers begin to seek an outcomes-based relationship with their technology providers, you need to be ready to respond to questions such as: 

  • What is your Success Science capability?
  • How will you help me adopt the features that would be most useful to achieving my targeted business outcomes?
  • What is your approach to consumption analytics?
  • Can you tell me about your portfolio of Outcome Services?
  • What forms of protection and security will you wrap around our Data Handshake relationship?
  • What happens if I don't achieve my desired ROI from your technology?

Do we have your attention now?

In the new book launching on October 21, B4B: How Technology and Big Data Are Transforming Customer-Supplier Relationships, TSIA defines the new set of buyer expectations that tech companies will soon be facing as reflected in this question set full of foreign-sounding concepts.

Here’s what a technology infrastructure executive from a Fortune 50 financial company has to say about his changing expectations from his technology providers:

B4B modernizes the customer-supplier partnership conversation for the age of the cloud. I want these options from my tech suppliers.”

And lest you think this isn’t a services problem, we strongly urge you to reconsider. A disproportionate amount of the transformation described in B4B is going to fall to the service organizations that will be the hub of activity for delivering business outcomes for customers. And this requires new ways of thinking, new internal processes, and new capabilities, just to name a few.

The consumption economy is here to stay, and it requires a fundamental rethinking of customer-supplier relationships and the rules for conducting business. Join us at Technology Services World (TSW) Service Transformations October 21-23 in Las Vegas, where we’ll show you how to be successful in the brave, new world that TSIA calls B4B—Business FOR Business.

When you stop to think about it, doing business FOR customers instead of TO customers makes all the sense in the world. Simple. Powerful. Full of promise and potential!

About the Author…
john_ragsdale John Ragsdale is vice president of technology and social research for  TSIA. His area of expertise is in creating strategies for improving the  service operations and overall customer experience by leveraging  innovative technology. Ragsdale drives TSIA's highly regarded  technology research agenda, delivering insightful, thought-leadership research and analysis on the most pressing business issues facing services leaders to enable them to better plan and execute their service strategies. He may be reached at

Meet Ragsdale, along with the authors of B4B—J.B. Wood, Todd Hewlin, and Thomas Lah, at TSW Service Transformations!

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Topics: outcome-based services, customer success, B4B, technology services


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