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ISG White Paper

The RFP Will Never Be the Same: Emerging Approaches to Innovative Sourcing

Clients today clamor for “innovation” from their service providers, yet frequently complain that they don’t get the fresh ideas and new approaches needed to drive ambitious transformative business agendas.

One fundamental obstacle to innovation may be what clients are asking for and the manner in which they ask for it. Specifically, the highly prescriptive nature of the traditional Request for Proposal is by definition anathema to true innovation and ill-suited to address the complex requirements faced by many clients today. Increasingly, ISG sees clients turning to a more open-ended and flexible approach that gives sourcing organizations leeway to focus on the what of the desired end state, rather than on the how of service delivery.

This ISG white paper examines traditional approaches to outsourcing negotiation and their limitations in the context of current business challenges, as well as emerging solution-based strategies characterized by general objectives rather than specific requirements. A case study of an ongoing client engagement is included to illustrate key success factors in implementing such strategies.