SupplierSelect has been working very closely with RFP respondent organisations for 10 years. We first designed a web based RFP system for the banking sector. Initially there were concerns from the banks about security and robustness, so we engaged in IT security and user reviews with a number of global banks. We designed the user interface for respondents based on feedback from these sessions and have continued to evolve the interface since then.
Both very big organisations (200+ registered users) and smaller suppliers (e.g. sole traders) have reported that using SupplierSelect is easier than both other online RFP tools and traditional document based RFPs.
For most respondents, the key feature is ease of use and simplicity. You can just login and start answering RFP questions. For more advanced cases, there are features which, from the respondent's perspective, distinguish SupplierSelect from other RFP systems.
There are two views of an RFP. One is a traditional document view. The other is a "Workflow" view which enables the respondent to treat each question as a task which can be allocated, reviewed and approved by different staff. This feature is so popular with the banks that we know of some that use SupplierSelect as their primary repository of RFP answers - i.e. if they get an RFP in a Word doc. format, they pull their answers to this from SupplierSelect. This even applies to sales teams that have invested is specific RFP management tools.
This is the announcement of the feature:
This feature enables respondents to reuse answers that they have submitted to previous RFPs. It only works for questions that appear in multiple RFPs. This occurs in two cases
Answer importing also saves time for the evaluator. If answers are unchanged, then scores previously issued are copied across.
Using SupplierSelect's scoring export facility it is easy to create feedback reports for respondents - showing how a vendor scored against the average for each section of the RFP.
For a respondent, the alternative to SupplierSelect is receiving a combination of Word documents or Excel spreadsheets to fill in. For any serious RFP the response will be worked on by multiple people. It's actually much easier to collaborate on a proposal online in SupplierSelect than it is to trying to coordinate work on traditional documents.