About those spreadsheet-based, chock-full-of-check-box RFPs and Tenders: vendors have seen them all and have figured out how to check all the boxes.
Yes, in any RFP you still need to outline some canonical requirements (e.g., "must run on Linux server"), but try to keep these to a minimum and instead describe more use cases to illuminate the breadth of your needs.
Remember the differentiating power of "how." Rather than ask a vendor, "Do you support deployment within Amazon E3" Ask: "How do you support deployment within Amazon E3?"
Instead of check-boxes, develop use cases, sometimes called scenarios, journeys, or stories. The name is less important than the concept.
Use cases provide a much richer way of describing your needs and connecting them to business benefits. Use cases can also vastly simplify and speed up the vendor selection process by giving everyone a target to shoot for. Finally, selection team members can understand vendor offerings much better if they discussed and demonstrated using scenarios that team members face every day.
The more detailed your use cases are, the more you will be able to differentiate solutions.
For more selection tips and detailed vendor evaluations that will help ensure you select the best-fitting technology, start by checking out RSG's research from one of our seven coverage areas.