Recently we decided that we wouldn’t take on any prospect projects. Sounds a little crazy, right? Many MSPs generate the majority of their income from IT projects. In addition, some of the best types of prospects still operate on an RFP basis. What the organizations requesting RFP don’t realize is that the process surrounding the RFP is broken.

Here’s how it starts:

  • The company engages a third party consultant.
  • That third party consultant brings in an Engineer who is tasked with assessing the state of the network and making recommendations for improvements.
  • The consultant provides a list of required materials and services based on this one-time assessment and the company requests the same quote from multiple companies, often opting for the most inexpensive solution.

Here’s why technology RFPs are pointless, and why we’ve stopped taking exclusive project work from new prospects:

  1. Most companies don’t have a full understanding of exactly what it is they need. If they have a consultant they may have a better idea of their needs, but often the person making the recommendations doesn’t have intimate knowledge of their business processes, budget, growth plans and workflow issues or user problems.
  2. A long term partnership is much more successful. Sometimes you want to break out projects based on your needs and budget. You’re not always going to have a budget that aligns perfectly with the solutions that make sense for you. Partnering with a Managed Services Provider will not only ensure that your project is completed at a pace that makes the most sense to you and your budget, but that your new technology is supported properly by the people that started the process with you from the beginning.
  3. RFPs set the wrong tone for the relationship. You get what you pay for. If you choose a vendor because they bid the lowest, that’s not the best way to choose who should be your ongoing provider. Small organizations that don’t have the appropriate tools, expertise, staff and resources to help you innovate will often have the lowest costs because of their low overhead. This doesn’t always translate to actual value or money saved in the long term. RFPs just aren’t a way to start a relationship, because they focus on straight costs rather than value to the organization and its clients.

We understand that everyone needs a process for assessing new technology vendors, but RFPs are typically run through a process that doesn’t allow the organization to look to the long term. The real value in having a Managed Services Partner isn’t just in the projects and replacement, it’s in the scalability and strategy that they’re able to assist with, since they’re so intimately familiar with your business. Start out in seeking a technology partner rather than a proposal and you’ll end up in a much better situation with your technology innovation in the long term.