RFI stands for “Request for Information” and is used to ask which products and services are available to meet your file transfer needs and to get information about the firms behind the offerings. The utility of RFIs in the acquisition of technology declined significantly with the rise of the world wide web, as much of the information typically requested in an RFI is freely available on vendor web sites.
While an RFI is not technically an invitation to bid, many companies nonetheless use them as such. The correct instrument to use to solicit bids is the RFP (“Request for Proposal”). The correct role of a file transfer RFI process is to determine which, if any, file transfer vendors could potentially serve the needs of a file transfer project or strategic file transfer consolidation.
BEST PRACTICE: Send file transfer RFPs to potential vendors instead of file transfer RFIs unless corporate/government policy forces you to send RFIs. Use of the RFP format will allow you to get a better answer back faster from potential vendors by forcing you to describe your specific challenges up front and signaling to vendors that you probably have the focus and funding to proceed.