Author archives: Patrick Dobbs

System Upgrade - Classified Organizations

Last update on April 3, 2014.

An upgrade is being rolled out across SupplierSelect services with significant changes to organization management and respondent registration.

Organization Types

Organizations in SupplierSelect are now classified as one of the following "Types"

  • Respondent
  • Buyer
  • Consultant

There is a single login form which routes users to the appropriate section of the site after authentication.


When we first designed SupplierSelect we imagined a unified system where any organization could act as either a Buyer or Respondent. It soon became clear that this universality made the user interface more complex, so we introduced the "I'm a Respondent / I'm an Evaluator ...

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Web Content Management (WCM) RFP and the Mystery of White Papers

Last update on April 14, 2014.

There's a useful article (white paper) published today on Computer Weekly: " Best Practices for Web Content Management System Selection".

At SupplierSelect we concentrate on building tools that help buyers to make good decisions. Maybe because of that we don't know anything about marketing or sales. In fact, if you're reading this it's a miracle, because we don't get much traffic! "White Papers" have always confused me. At first I thought they represented some bleeding of academic rigor into the world of commerce. I assumed the authors would be learned professors shuffling out of an ivory ...

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Finding Key Differentiators when Scoring RFP Questions

Last update on March 12, 2014.

When running a big RFP, it's very easy to become lost in the vendor and scoring information that is accumulated. SupplierSelect works to develop new tools to help manage this information. A recently developed report helps to drill down to the questions that most differentiate vendors responses.

A strong RFP should ask enough questions to permit the buyer to identify the best vendor for their requirements. How many questions this is depends on the complexity of the good or service being sourced. Many of SupplierSelect's customers issue RFPs with over 500 questions. Answers from all vendors are scored ...

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RFP Answers Comparison Reports

Last update on March 12, 2014.

Answer Reports enable RFP authors to create reports which collate vendor data. Individual data points can be picked from RFP questions to create a compact report for side by side comparison of vendor responses.

Document vs Data Perspectives

SupplierSelect questionnaires are designed as a document which organizes questions into a hierarchy of sections and sub sections. Questions can be richly structured with multiple fields - text, multiple choice, grids etc. This perspective is convenient for working with the resulting RFP as a single cohesive document - delivered in web, MS Word or PDF formats. However, RFP responses often contain data which is ...

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RFP Scoring Analysis with Excel Pivot Tables

Last update on March 12, 2014.

Scoring data from RFP / RFx projects is used in different ways by different organizations. It can be statistically manipulated, analyzed or used to produce charts and reports. To facilitate these activities SupplierSelect provides a way of exporting scoring data for maximum flexibility. This is the "Raw Data Export" report reached under Project -> Reports using the "Raw Data" link under "Analysis". This article describes using Excel's Pivot Table functionality to analyze data thus exported. The screenshot below shows how the  sample dataset appears when it is first loaded in Excel:

Screenshot of CVS Raw Data in Excel

Note that to follow the steps in this article you ...

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Writing Good RFP Questions

Last update on Nov. 10, 2015.


  1. The "best" vendor is the one most suited to your requirements
  2. The only "expert" is yourself - the buyer. Stay focused on your requirements
  3. Don't be afraid to let the vendors educate you about their products or services
  4. Closed questions (multiple choice) are better than open questions
  5. Fewer good questions are better than many questions of variable quality

Objective Bid Comparison

An RFP (Request For Proposal) doesn't have to involve questionnaires and surveys. At its most simple, an RFP can be just a letter or email to potential suppliers: "We intend to buy product/service X, please send ...

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SupplierSelect for Electronic Medical Record (EMR) RFPs

Last update on March 12, 2014.

EMR Match has partnered with SupplierSelect to launch a service for the evaluation and selection of Electronic Medical Record (EMR) vendors. EMR Match formed a committee of over 20 industry experts to build a set of requirements for evaluating EMR systems. These requirements are expressed as a SupplierSelect questionnaire with over 250 questions. Over 50 EMR vendors are now registered in the system, with pre-screening data available for a majority of those. This enables EMR buyers to manage a rigorous EMR RFP entirely through their browser using predefined criteria and issuing to pre-registered vendors.

Electronic Medical Records system adoption has ...

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Student Information System RFP managed with SupplierSelect

Last update on March 12, 2014.

Auckland University of Technology ( has successfully used SupplierSelect for evaluating and selecting a Student Information System for managing 25,000 students. 33 university staff collaborated through SupplierSelect on defining requirements and evaluating vendors' bids.

Student Information Systems (SIS) are crucial to the running of a modern university. Such systems provide a single view of a students data - billing, housing, academic performance etc. In some ways they are the analog of ERP systems for manufacturing or distribution companies.

Auckland University's RFP project faced a number of challenges. Firstly, a Student Information System is intensively used ...

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Embed Images in RFP Questionnaires

Last update on Oct. 14, 2013.

SupplierSelect now enables you to embed images within your RFP questions.

It's always been possible to associate an attachment with a question in SupplierSelect. For example, a typical question is:

"2.4.2. Please download, complete, and upload the attached spreadsheet 'pricingMatrix.xls'".

It's also been possible to attach images which are then referred to in the question:

"3.5.2. The attached file 'specification.gif' is a technical drawing of the solution we require. Please indicate timings and costs for the implementation of this specification"

It is now possible to embed an image inline with the question ...

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RFP Answer Input Validation

Last update on March 12, 2014.

Sometimes you want to restrict the type of information that can be input in response to your RFP questions. For example, you may wish to perform further analysis on answers input by respondents to your RFP:

  • Price information, and you wish to compare prices between respondents
  • Financial background information
  • Technical details about the product or service being sourced

Previously SupplierSelect text boxes were entirely free from - the user could input any information. A new feature recently added is Input Validation. When applied to a text input field, this checks the data input by a respondent conforms to a given "validation ...

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