RFI vs. RFP for a CMS…What’s the difference?

Shopping for a content management system (CMS) can be an intimidating task, given the many types of CMSs and all the decisions that must be made to choose the right one. RFIs (requests for information) and RFPs (requests for proposal) can help make the right choice. But what’s the difference between RFIs and RFPs? Should you do one or the other, or both? Here are tips for navigating through the buying process:

Do some weeding with a content management RFI.

You probably weed your lawn or garden as a way to get rid of unwanted plants. The same concept can be applied when selecting your CMS. Use an RFI to collect general information about the capabilities of various CMSs. Evaluate the responses against your basic requirements and “weed out” the ones that don’t serve your purposes. Narrow your choices to the top three to five products that best meet your needs.

Don’t get too detailed on your RFI; you may have a lot of vendors to compare, and the details may bog you down and create unnecessary confusion. Stick to the basics. Think about what really matters to your users and your organization. Things as simple as the client support that a vendor provides or successful experiences with other companies in your industry could make break them from your finalists quickly.

Get down to the nitty gritty.

Now that you’ve selected the tools that fit your basic requirements, it’s time to make your final decision. Provide a content management RFP to the finalists to elicit bids and gather detailed information on how the products will meet your specific needs. At this point, you don’t want to cut corners or skimp on the details. Thoroughly define your project with use cases and prioritize your requirements for the vendors so they can respond to your RFP with the right information and accurate pricing. Choose the vendor that best meets your requirements from both a functional and financial perspective.

Short on time? Go informal.

Time is a precious commodity that is often in short supply. However, you can still select an effective, user-friendly CMS even if you have to move quickly. If you are on an accelerated schedule and don’t have time to do both a formal RFI and RFP, do a verbal, basic RFI over the phone to quickly select your short list of vendors. Then do a formal content management RFP to get the details you need to make an intelligent decision.

Vasont Systems can help make the CMS selection process easier.

Vasont Systems provides a state-of-the-art CMS that can help you manage your organization’s content with greater efficiency. We can also serve as a valuable resource for determining what type of CMS is the best fit for your operation. Call us at 717-764-9720 or visit our website for help in getting started with your content management strategy.