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Resources  /  Blog  /  40 Business Requirements For Your Strategic Sourcing Software
Sourcing Education

40 Business Requirements For Your Strategic Sourcing Software

December 28, 2019

Constructing an RFI (Request for Information) for an RFQ Software platform presents numerous challenges. Based on a survey of strategic sourcing leaders, here are 40 business requirements for your RFQ software – with no BS – organized around the four key sourcing personas: Procurement Leader, Buyer/Category Manager, Supplier, and Stakeholder.

Before you implement predictive sourcing software or supply chain management software, you must first think about requirements. Traditionally, the best way to brainstorm a business requirement is to complete the sentence: “As a ________, I want to _________. What should a system have to help me do _______?.” 

After you have a list of brainstormed requirements, you should remove as many requirements as possible from the final RFI document before sending it out to solution providers.

The goal of a business requirements document should be to have as few requirements as possible, all of which have a significant impact on your core business case objectives.

For this reason, first, we’ll state the business case objectives for each persona above the requirements for strategic sourcing software.


What Sourcing Leaders/CPOs/CFOs Need to Consider When Implementing RFQ Software

Sourcing Leader/CPO/CFO Business Case Objectives:

      • Run more sourcing platform projects
      • Drive greater savings per project
      • Drive greater overall savings
      • Decrease project cycle time
      • Increase % of on-calendar sourcing projects

Sourcing Leader/CPO/CFO Business Requirements:

  1. Bid calendar – Does your system show a calendar of all steps in my sourcing process?
  2. Agent identification – Does your system show which person on my team does what step in my sourcing process?
  3. Completion indicator – Does your sourcing platform show each sourcing process’s % of completion?
  4. Stage indicator – Does your system show each sourcing process stage from Draft to Award?
  5. Role-based access – Does your system allow me to add and remove stakeholders and suppliers from a sourcing process?
  6. Self-Service supplier onboarding and portal – Does your system allow an invited supplier to self-register and self-onboard by reviewing a set of automated training materials?
  7. Iterative process – Does your system allow me to amend or modify a strategic sourcing process without starting over?
  8. In-app live help via chat – Does your system offer all user types (including suppliers) live in-app support via chat?
  9. Savings reporting – Does your system generate reports on savings for each sourcing process?
  10. Historical reporting – Does your system allow me to see changes over time between each time this event has been run?
  11. Repeatable templating – Does your system allow me to easily configure templates for my own organization’s approval process and predictive sourcing needs?
  12. Data export and APIs – Does your system allow me to fully export all my tabulation and audit data, and does it provide a secure API for me to connect to other systems and business data warehouses?


What Buyers Need to Consider When Implementing RFQ Software

Buyer Business Case Objectives:

      • Create more sourcing processes
      • Run more competitive sourcing processes
      • Engage suppliers and stakeholder/customers in process
      • Honor stakeholder/customer’s award intent


Buyer Business Requirements

  1. Sourcing activity triggers – Does your system remind me to complete a sourcing process that I have scheduled in advance?
  2. Baseline data and bid model ingestion – Does your system allow me to mass ingest my baseline spend data into a secure relational database with zero manual data entry or does it require me to either do manual data entry or upload/download a static spreadsheet?
  3. Supplier database ingestion – Does your system allow me to mass upload my supplier contact data with zero manual data entry or one-by-one profile creation?
  4. Weighted criteria and requirement creation – Does your system allow me to create weighted criteria and business requirements for suppliers to respond to?
  5. Supplier shortlisting – Does your system allow me to shortlist suppliers to a sourcing process before inviting them, and then show me when they have confirmed
  6. Custom email invitations – Does your system invite stakeholder and suppliers to join a sourcing process using automatic email notifications?
  7. Custom email notifications – Does your system remind users when they have an incomplete task and also give them a method of opting out of notifications?
  8. In-app messaging with in-thread file uploads – Does your system enable internal messaging between buyers and stakeholders and suppliers with distinct channels for each specific type of communication?
  9. Automated quote comparison – Does your system enable a fully automated quote comparison that factors in disparate coverage (e.g. when a supplier No Bids on a specific line item)?
  10. Multi-criteria value analysis – Does your system clearly allow me to communicate the financial costs of specific requirements to make apples-to-apples comparisons?
  11. Multi-supplier optimized awards – Does your system enable different suppliers to be awarded different lots to select a multi-supplier best and final award outcome?
  12. Live bidding events – Does your system allow buyers to run fully automated live bidding events with dynamic feedback, such as reverse-auctions and anchor price negotiations?
  13. Manage by exception rules models – Does your system automatically identify exceptions in bid models or supplier quotes that flag when a quote is unrealistic?
  14. Self-learning bidding models – Does your system model the behavior of suppliers to give them more targeted feedback that helps them make competitive offers over time?
  15. Historical category benchmarking – Does your system benchmark quotes against other quotes received by similar suppliers in the same category to determine its competitiveness?


What Suppliers Need to Consider When Implementing RFQ Software 

Supplier Business Case Objectives:

      • Create more quoting opportunities
      • Make quotes more likely to win
      • Enable supplier feedback to improve award value

Supplier RFQ Business Requirements 

  1. Supplier rep and organization database – Does your system offer a searchable database that clearly distinguishes from supplier organization and sales rep
  2. Automated supplier training sandbox –  Does your system offer an automated training experience in which a supplier can practice submitting a quote?
  3. Next steps notifications in-app –  Does your system notify a supplier about the next step they need to take and provide a button that directs them to the most relevant part of their screen?
  4. Supplier – stakeholder communication channel – Does your system provide an in-app communication channel for suppliers and stakeholders to directly communicate while remaining visible to a buyer?
  5. Price recommendations – Does your system provide price recommendations that are unique to each supplier and unique to each line item, and will change depending on the supplier’s responses to weighted criteria and business requirement questions?
  6. Dynamic feedback – Does your system provide the option of deploying dynamic feedback to suppliers while they are creating and submitting a quote?
  7. Automate promotion of successful awards to stakeholders —  Does your system help competitive suppliers receive more purchases by promoting their pricing to internal stakeholders within a searchable database?
  8. Supplier document repository – Does your system provide suppliers a place to securely repository relevant documents, such as financial and tax information?


What Stakeholders Need to Consider When Implementing RFQ Software 

Stakeholder Business Case Objectives:

      •       Meet business needs in a timely fashion
      •       Include multiple/cross-functional stakeholder perspectives
      •       Discover trusted partners who deliver excellent value


Stakeholder Business Requirements 

  1. Multiple levels of stakeholder access – Does your system provide stakeholders the option to be either active or passive participants in the construction of the sourcing process (e.g. “view-only” versus “edit” privileges)
  2. Stakeholders can create templates with technical requirements – Does your system provide a template-based system for stakeholders to submit a requisition to buyer?
  3. Stakeholder-Buyer messaging channel – Does your system have a distinct channel to facilitate stakeholder-buyer communication?
  4. Stakeholder can modify weighted criteria to reflect total cost of ownership – Does your system have a workflow to allow stakeholders to modify weighted criteria to reflect the true costs to the business?
  5. Stakeholder can participate in the supplier evaluation and award experience – Does your system enable a stakeholder to create an award scenario by selecting and de-selecting pre-designated weighted criteria?

We know that there is often pressure for procurement software to contain so many features that it cannot be easily used by any persona. That’s why in a future dominated by user-friendly, purpose-built sourcing enablement platforms, being intentional about what truly matters for your core user personas is vital. After reviewing the requirements above, what business requirements is your existing RFQ software missing?

Arkestro can help your business stay ahead of the market. To learn more about Arkestro and how you can ensure all of your RFQ requirements are met, visit