What is RFP Automation & 3 Reasons Why It’s Essential to Your Org

Creating Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be a laborious part of the procurement process. When you need to administer complex projects with tight deadlines, there’s no time to waste. That’s when RFP automation saves the day.

1. What is RFP Automation?

2. 3 Tremendous RFP Automation Benefits Invaluable to Your Business

3. 3 Bogus RFP Automation Myths That Mislead Proposal Professionals 

4. How DeepStream Automates RFPs to Simplify Your Life: 3 Use Cases

5. 6 Ways Our Software Helps You Perfect Your RFP Process

Creating Requests for Proposals (RFPs) can be a laborious part of the procurement process. When you need to administer complex projects with tight deadlines, there’s no time to waste. That’s when RFP automation saves the day.

Leveraging RFP software to automate processes has become a key requirement for organizations to stay efficient and effective in an increasingly competitive digital marketplace.

“... the future will belong to companies that put technology at the center of their outlook, capabilities, and leadership mandate.” ~ McKinsey Survey, May 2021

The goal of automation is typically to help us save time. Recent surveys by McKinsey suggest that the embedding of AI (artificial intelligence), software automation and other digital technologies within organizational systems and processes has significant benefits for companies. Most importantly, it will help them to maintain economic viability in the future.

To understand how and why RFP automation is integral for your company, let’s define what it is, examine the key benefits and capabilities of proposal automation, and dispel some unfounded myths that may confuse matters.

What is RFP Automation?

View of two laptops with printed spreadsheets and a notepad.
RFP Automation relates to the software technology that automates elements of the Request for Proposal process. RFP software leverages AI, machine learning, and cloud technologies to support procurement teams in their strategic sourcing activities.

Both the buyer and sellers (aka suppliers and vendors) can use automated sourcing software during the RFP process. This automation supports the tactical activities associated with the process. It also provides the foundation for more strategic activities, such as business partnering and supplier relationship management.

Paper-based and overtly manual RFP processes, such as sending emails, can create immense challenges.

  • They make it tricky to keep data and proposal information up to date. 
  • They add a layer of complexity when trying to collaborate with suppliers and buyers. 
  • Laborious manual processes take more time, adding pressure to your ability to stay on top of timelines and meet deadlines. 

3 Tremendous RFP Automation Benefits Invaluable to Your Business

There are certainly benefits to automating processes in your business in general. But the benefits of using RFP automation specifically are invaluable. 

From time efficiencies and data gathering opportunities to consistency, compliance and collaboration prospects, they can help you stay relevant in this highly competitive world of procurement. 

Let’s look at the three top benefits of automating your RFP process:

1. Automated Processes Boost Efficiencies

Top view of two people’s hands holding spreadsheet paperwork.

For proposal professionals, automation helps to reduce the repetitive tasks, tedious paperwork and onerous email elements, saving time and freeing them up to focus on the creative parts of contributing to the RFP response process. 

Automation not only boosts individual productivity, it also supports more efficient proposal management. It speeds up the overall turnaround time for proposal submissions, enhances the quality of submissions, improves outcomes, and saves time and money. 

According to this Benchmark Report:

  • Proposal teams using RFP automated tools submit 43% more proposals.
  • And are 25% more likely to have more time to personalize their proposals.

Using software automation can extend to other RFx content too, helping you track the progress of your procurement project from Request for Information (RFI) stage to quote, bid and project award stages.

2. Collaborating With Software Builds Trust & Creates Transparency

Five female coworkers having a meeting around a white table.

Proposal teams can work across departments and organizations. When using a manual RFP process, documentation and project knowledge are in danger of getting siloed in someone’s inbox, spreadsheet or notebook. This increases the risk of inaccuracies and lost information.

  • Automated processes facilitate more consistent approaches to how we create and store RFP information. 
  • Automation enables transparency, ensuring that all participants remain compliant in their practices.
  • It also supports collaboration and knowledge sharing, as contributors can work together to create, comment on, and respond to shared documents.

These elements help to promote alignment across buyer and supplier procurement teams, reducing scope creep, ambiguity and confusion, and building stronger, trusting relationships.

3. Proposal Automation Authenticates & Validates RFP ROI

DeepStream software automation comparison example.

Data gathering plays a crucial role across business spheres, and according to this Deloitte report, the use of predictive analytics is going to play an even bigger role in the future of how we do business.

Proposal managers need to understand and demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) they are getting from their RFP workflows and evaluate the submission data for their procurement projects. 

Manual processes are inefficient at helping us gather, store and analyze this data accurately in a way that is easy to access, understand, and cross reference.

The bonus of using proposal automation is that accurate data capture and analytics’ functionality can be set and automatically gathered via the software.

This allows you to analyze proposal-related information at any point and gain valuable insights to make more informed current and future business decisions.

3 Bogus RFP Automation Myths That Mislead Proposal Professionals 

Office worker looking perplexed as he reviews paperwork at his desk.

Subscribing to common automation fallacies limits the performance of proposal teams. It’s important to revise our understanding by busting those myths.

1. ‘The Robots’ Will Take My Job!

In the future of work, some roles may become obsolete as requirements change. But for many procurement teams, what will become standard operating procedure is for us to work alongside collaborative technology.

RFP software is a tool built to support humans in their work, and it won’t supercede the human element of doing business. It cannot analyze supplier suitability, verify the validity of inputted information or judge the accuracy of your templates. It can only capture this information and it requires a human mind to oversee the process. 

While automatic processes have many advantages, such as saving time and improving systems, RFP automation is not a substitute for the human touch. Learning how to leverage this software to help you operate more effectively will elevate your value as a human resource in your organization.

2. Automation Software Is Too Costly!

To avoid customer churn, high-caliber SaaS (Software as a Service) tools are purposefully designed to deliver value quickly. Speedy onboarding, adoption and ease of use are key requirements for their customers’ need for a rapid return on investment (ROI).

They continue to provide ongoing value, opportunities and support for users, via regular updates, new features and bonus enhancements. 

Delaying automation will cost your business in other ways, as tedious, repetitive activities and complicated, inefficient manual processes impact productivity negatively.

When we consider the time efficiencies we gain from automating, it’s clear that automation will save your company more than just money in the long run.

3. RFPs Are Complicated & So Is RFP Software!

RFP automation is ideal for complex RFP projects as they help collate and store all the proposal submissions and related data in a central content location. 

This not only improves accessibility for your current project, allowing you to replicate data entry at the push of a button, but also for any future projects where you may need to cross reference or reuse content.

Having a centralized space for communications, scoring and evaluations, means that suppliers submitting RFPs for your project can easily access your reference resources to compile their submissions. And they can submit questions directly via the dashboard.

A common misconception is that RFP software is only used for RFPs. 

In fact, it’s very often just one element of a much larger offering, which can typically include automation capabilities for producing Requests for Information (RFIs), Requests for Quotes (RFQs), security questionnaires, pricing comparisons, vendor evaluations, supply chain management databases, and so much more.

This may make complex, multi-layered software sound complicated, but having access to all of these resources in one, central place actually simplifies your life and saves you time in the long run.

How DeepStream Automates RFPs to Simplify Your Life: 3 Use Cases

DeepStream dashboard example.

DeepStream is procurement software that empowers your business to save time and reduce costs while staying compliant. 

It automates your RFP proposals as part of a larger, comprehensive cloud-based product offering. 

So when is it best to automate? And how can DeepStream help you do that?

If you don’t yet use RFP software, here are three scenarios where proposal automation will make your life easier:

1. You have issues with compliance. 

DeepStream’s RFP automation capabilities help you build a transparent audit trail. This ensures all participants remain procurement compliant and they adhere to standards, with cyber-secure data storage for additional peace of mind.

2. Your RFP needs are becoming more complex. 

With our template builder, users can easily create and recycle workflows that help you store data intelligence such as questions, answers and templates for future use, keeping things simple and more efficient, and helping you to follow best practice across teams. You can easily cross reference past data, so you don’t waste time recreating the same information in multiple places.

3. Your number of RFPs and responses increases.

With DeepStream, buyers and suppliers can collaborate in real time, quickly building, formatting, submitting or revising online content. We also have a joint iterative approach to building our software, and we are continually customizing elements of the platform based on your changing needs.

6 Ways Our Software Helps You Perfect Your RFP Process

Check out these 6 ways our RFP automation capabilities can help you create RFPs more quickly and easily:

1. Seamless Communication: 

Send RFPs, instructions, updates, amendments and vendor requests with no requirement for emails and attachments. The platform also supports centralized vendor and buyer interaction. You can field queries, handle submissions and control access at any time.


2. Dynamic RFx Templates: 

Create new projects faster by accessing, referencing and reusing existing content without having to input it manually every time.

3. Easy Proposal Progress Tracking: 

Manage timelines, check the status of responses, and send bulletin reminders from a central dashboard without having to follow up manually.

4. Simple Proposal Scoring Management: 

Automating the scoring process helps you evaluate information in real time and simplifies data collation so you can clarify inconsistencies quickly.

5. Accessible Profile Management: 

Vendors can update their profiles directly so that the next time you need to call on them, you have their current contact info without needing to hunt for it in an old proposal document or email.

6. Clear Cost / Product / Service Comparisons: 

Pricing tables with automatic calculations and stipulated factors enable you to compare supplier offerings on an even keel.

For more tips, read this article on how to automate like a pro, creating technology RFPs.

Our cloud-based platform provides extensive opportunities to help you reduce manual, repetitive, and time-consuming RFP activities, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

The reward is that you gain more time for strategic thinking, planning and decision-making, which improves the quality and outcomes of both your RFPs and the procurement projects they relate to.

Procurement software teams want to use.

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