Spiceworks Launches Request for Quote Service

By Ericka Chickowski

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.



This article was originally published on 2011-07-14