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Request for Proposal (Example) {Nov. 18, 1999}


Overview
The following request for proposal is real. Many of the essential details have been omitted in order to protect both the propriety and identity of our client. As is our general practice, we have restated their request for proposal in more precise wording in order that we may confirm our basic understanding of their requirements. Both the request for proposal and our response are consistent with those received and submitted by Gordian Solutions, Inc.

Request for Proposal
Please submit a proposal for the development of an e-commerce web site that would present an attractive, easily navigatable web presence to the users and would:

  • operate and run on a Windows-NT servers,
  • maintain a collection of documents in a relational database
    (namely SQL Server),
  • include a search form that would permit users to search the document collection for indexed terms on a dozen or so fixed fields,
  • accept multiple simultaneous requests for document searches,
  • present to searching users lists of matching documents,
  • permit users to select from matching documents a subset of documents to include in a download order,
  • maintain a master list of documents added to a download order,
  • accept a request from users to download all selected documents
    in an order,
  • retrieve and compress all selected documents into a single Zip archive tied to the user requesting the documents,
  • display a download page to the user for the Zip file that would also include selected advertisements relevant to both the user and
    documents selected,
  • delete old Zips after they have been downloaded.

Proposal Assumptions
In preparing this proposal, Gordian Solutions has made some basic assumptions. These simplify both our response and your evaluation of our response. Our basic intent, as always, is to open and maintain an ongoing dialogue related to professional services that we would be pleased to provide on your behalf. Our assumptions for this proposal include:

  • The web presence described, albeit intended to be part of a much larger web presence, simply provides a means for navigating and gaining access to the additional functionality described in your Request For Proposal (RFP). (NOTE: the RFP is sufficiently unclear about additional functionality for the web site. As such it is not possible to propose non-obvious additional functionality beyond that suggested by the features which are described in the RFP.).
  • The index search fields are entered in free text format and index terms may include wildcards that permit inexact word searches.
  • The documents themselves are not stored in the database. Although it is certainly possible to store the documents in the database (doing so would not significantly affect the proposed price), retrieving the documents and moving the retrieved documents to a holding area during archival would add significantly to the time required to archive each set. It is much more efficient to maintain a single copy of each document outside the database for retrieval and archival purposes. The database will be used for indexing.
  • The system in its intial release will be limited to a single web server that hosts the database, documents and web site. The architecture will permit scaling to a server farm (this will require additional development).
  • The system will limit the size of document orders to a reasonable number, say 25 documents, so as to avoid lengthy user delays or otherwise impede multi-user use of the server.
  • A mapping of either documents or document index terms or both to advertisements exists that would make it possible for the system to determine and select relevant advertisements for a given query.
  • The format, size and positioning of advertisements are fixed.
  • Zips are aged quickly and expire within one hour of preparation.
  • Hardware, licensed software and Internet service is excluded from the proposal response. (These include the NT Server, Windows-NT, the IIS web server software, SQL Server, and the Internet Service Provider support).
  • Although a fixed price and time estimate have been included in this response, the actual engagement, unless negotiated otherwise, would be delivered under time and materials terms. Gordian Solutions would be pleased to complete the requirements provided in the RFP so that a fixed price can be provided under a separate time and materials
    contract.

Proposal
The following diagrams illustrate the architecture that Gordian Solutions proposes to solve this particular business problem.

High level web site architecture
Server-side architecture for web site
Client-side architecture of web site

The following diagram illustrates our suggested timeframe for completion of the project.

Preliminary project schedule for web site development and deployment

The following diagram illustrates our billing schedule.

Billing milestones for web site development

Gordian Solutions, Inc. would be pleased to work with you to launch this web site. Copyright © 1999 by Gordian Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.


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