This was a theme shared by Eliza Niewiadomska and others during a convening of procurement technology experts at a recent Public Spend Forum webinar. “Overly prescribed technical solutions make the procurement process so long that requirements are outdated by the time selection is made.” Niewiadomska said.
Her comments were supported by panelists Andy Malay of Coupa Software and Colin Jones of Ivalua. “Have you articulated a vision to solve your problems?” asked Malay rhetorically when describing a key factor Coupa considers when an RFP drops. Jones spoke of how Ivalua won’t post for solicitations that request unambitious or narrowly defined “point solutions.”
All panelists agreed that bad RFPs share many of the same characteristics: too specific, poorly defined, or not open enough to excite suppliers into writing a creative proposal. Measurable goals and objectives are also key. Be explicit with service agreements, milestones, or metrics the contractor must meet to help your customer succeed. But remember that technology solutions aren’t magic wands. “Its really hard to automate a process that hasn’t been standardized,” and if you don’t build in modular components you won’t be able to correct mistakes you’ll learn in retrospective sessions, according to Niewiadomska.
Public officials will benefit from procurement technology solutions when they understand the market and learn from practitioners in the field. That’s why we convened our latest webinar, How to Buy Procurement Technology – Advice from Suppliers. Take some time to hear from our expert panel and grab your copy of our free report on the marketplace to get maximum competition on your next RFP.