Pairwise Comparison for RFP Analysis

Pairwise Comparison is a technique for assigning weights (priorities) to a number of different factors. Instead of considering all factors, and attempting to prioritize them all, Pairwise Comparison breaks the task down into discrete chunks. Each combination of factors is considered in turn, and a result of each comparison is recorded as a value. These values are then combined to calculate relative weights for each factor.

SupplierSelect provides an easy to use tool for applying pairwise comparion techniques to RFP analysis.

For example, a company may be evaluating help desk software systems. The top levels sections of their RFP are:

Each of these sections needs to be assigned a weight to indicate its relative importance. However, different people in the organization have different opinions as to which topic more important. To arrive at a consensus, they decide to use pairwise comparisons. With all stakeholders in a meeting room, they step through each combination of sections, assigning a relative importance value to each pair. There are six combinations of the four sections, a comparison is made of each:

  1. Accessibility vs. Alerts
  2. Accessibility vs. Company Background
  3. Accessibility vs. Support & Maintenance
  4. Alerts vs. Company Background
  5. Alerts vs. Support & Maintenance
  6. Company Background vs. Support & Maintenance

The results of each comparison is captured as a numeric value which is saved in a matrix. Eigenvalues are then used to calculate a weighting for each section based on the aggregate of these six comparisons. This technique for RFP analysis is an adaptation of .


Consultants that assist clients with RFP analysis use the pairwise analysis to help structure and clarify the client's real priorities. Either sitting one on one with a client, or used via an overhead projector, the pairwise tools can helping with breaking down a big daunting decision into manageable chunks.

General Features

Creating the RFP

Invite & Publish

Respond & Monitor