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Spiceworks is broadening its reach again today with a new service that
will put it squarely in the middle of the tech purchasing process as an
intermediary between SMBs and their channel partners and service providers.
Called Request for Quote (RFQ), the service will offer small businesses the
ability to anonymously ask for and receive bids from technology vendors or
resellers on purchase requests. Everything from cloud and hosted services to
commodity items such as laptops and servers would be fair game in the RFQ system.

“For businesses like mine, technology is not an impulse buy but rather,
a considered purchase,” said Kevin Burns, Systems Administrator, United Health
Centers. “By integrating the automated RFQ feature into my daily workflow,
Spiceworks is making the technology purchasing process much simpler, while also
directly connecting me with vendors and peers so I can buy in a social way.”

Spiceworks users will not only be able to put requests out through RFQ
to multiple vendors at the same time, but once a bid is accepted they can order
and complete purchases through the Spiceworks system. Spiceworks is currently
working to recruit vendors to integrate their product catalogs with the system
to streamline the ordering process for simple orders. The firm is also planning
on offering templates to help SMBs ease the pain of frequent orders through
RFQ.

Most notable, though, may be the social sharing aspects of RFQ. Users
will be able to share RFQs with co-workers for buying collaboration during the
purchasing process. And users will also be able to share RFQs with the
Spiceworks community at large to gain advice and feedback from those who may
have gone through the same process recently.

“Social commerce has changed consumer buying habits, but the approach
has yet to take hold among businesses,” said Scott Abel, co-founder and CEO of
Spiceworks. “With 1.5 million business professionals in Spiceworks, our
community spends more than $260 billion a year on technology products and
services. The new RFQ feature is the latest of several capabilities we will
unveil that aim to harness the collective-buying power of the Spiceworks
network, while also providing technology vendors a way to benefit from the
growing wave of social commerce.”

According to Spiceworks, the company plans to unveil more ‘social
business’ tools in the future to complement RFQ and its free network management
and monitoring services, help desk software and community message boards.