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Electronic Imaging Request for Proposal (RFP) Guidelines.

TITLE: Electronic imaging Request for Proposal (RFP) Guidelines

PUBLISHER: AIIM

PUBLICATION DATE: 1996

LENGTH: 47 pages

PRICE: $40 AIIM members, $52 non-members

AVAILABLE FROM: AIIM International, (888) 839-3165

The expansion of the electronic imaging market continues to complicate decision making. While the imaging systems marketed by different vendors increasingly offer similar components -- NT servers, scanners and video displays from a handful of suppliers, hard drive arrays or magneto-optical disks, Windows-based user interfaces -- they can differ considerably in price. Hence the value of competitive solicitations based on requests for proposals (RFP) that contain detailed specifications and instructions to bidders.

A good source to assist with the RFP process for electronic imaging is AIIM's Electronic Imaging Request for Proposal (RFP) Guidelines. This technical report is a revised version of one of AIIM's most useful publications. Written by Bud Porter-Roth for the AIIM C15 Electronic Imaging/RFP Committee, it provides highly practical, step-by-step instructions for developing requests for proposals for electronic imaging systems, including analysis of system requirements, preparation of functional specifications, and evaluation of alternative configurations.

A well-prepared RFP will clearly state required and desirable functionality for the system to be purchased. It will also specify system characteristics that are unacceptable. Further, an RFP will solicit information about a given vendor's ability to deliver and implement an electronic document imaging system, as well as support it throughout its anticipated operating life.

Competitive procurements based on requests for proposals are typically mandated for government agencies when the value of the system to be purchased exceeds some threshold amount. While corporations and other organizations may have greater freedom in imaging procurements, the RFP process is often advisable. Properly undertaken, it can force an organization to clarify specifications and expectations for the imaging system to be purchased. It also encourages vendors to clearly describe their products and sharpen their prices, while giving the customer greater control over system evaluation and selection.

Electronic Imaging Request for Proposal (RFP) Guidelines is strongly recommended for records managers and other information specialists who must prepare competitive solicitations for electronic document imaging implementations. Some portions of the report are also relevant for other types of automated system procurements, such as preparing competitive solicitations for document imaging systems.

The report begins with a review of the planning process in electronic document imaging implementations. It discusses the organization and responsibilities of the imaging project team, preparation of a project schedule, and the budgeting process for imaging procurements. It also considers the role of process reengineering in imaging project planning and reviews options for backfile conversion.

The longest and most important part of the report provides valuable, highly specific advice for RFP preparation. It presents a detailed outline for a model RFP with explanations of each section. The model RFP follows the familiar format used by many solicitations issued by U.S. government agencies. The RFP opens with a project overview followed by administrative information and proposal preparation guidelines. A technical section presents proposed system requirements. A management section addresses vendor qualifications and project management issues. The RFP outline is well conceived and comprehensive, the explanations clear and well informed.

Electronic Imaging Request for Proposal (RFP) Guidelines includes a good discussion of the differences between mandatory, desirable, and optional requirements, which are often confused in competitive procurements. The report also provides an excellent review of procedures and criteria for evaluating vendor proposals, together with a model explanation of evaluation criteria that can be adapted for insertion into an RFP.

Appendices contain pre-written text for the administration section of an RFP as well as instructions to vendors for proposal preparation. These can be edited to meet specific organizational requirements and the edited versions inserted into an RFP.

The report concludes with a brief bibliography that does not hold up to the quality of the rest of the report. It appears to have been carried over from the previous edition without updating. None of the cited works were published after 1990, and several of the cited publications are difficult to locate or are defunct. Aside from the bibliography, this technical report offers much for those interested in developing an RFP for the purchase of an electronic imaging system.

William Saffady is a professor at Palmer School of Library and Information Science, Long Island University. He is the author of over 30 books and many articles on information management topics. The author may be contacted at wsaffady@aol.com.
COPYRIGHT 2000 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:SAFFADY, WILLIAM
Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Jan 1, 2000
Words:733
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