“I’m a subject matter expert on HOW to buy… department staff are subject matter experts on WHAT to buy. Vendors are subject matter experts on what THEY HAVE to offer. We don’t have the right tools to help bring those 3 worlds together in an effective way. “
Govlist visited with Florida Public Procurement Officials last week, and this was the mantra we heard over and over. Govlist accepts the challenge!
When it comes to building a high quality RFP or any other kind of solicitation, public procurement staff must be able to effectively research and collaborate in order to find the right vendor to deliver successfully. Thus far, the tools given to procurement teams are emails, forms, and Microsoft Word and Excel.. or even worse an ERP system designed for something else. Finally, they spit out a PDF document.
Purchasing is one of the most collaborative processes in government, but the tools are antiquated… so the results are too often solutions that are also antiquated. Here’s some of the top frustrations we’ve been hearing – and how Govlist helps.
1. “I spend alot of time researching other agencies that have purchased something similar”
Govlist: We’ve built researching other successful procurements right into the software with access to a community library that shares successfully implemented solutions and the RFPs that drove them.
2. “Customers send me a half-baked scope and want the RFP to go out tomorrow”
Govlist: Any department staffperson can submit a solicitation request through Govlist, where the trainings you’d normally have to repeat about how to write a good summary, background statement, scope of work, etc. are built into the request page. By encouraging them to input requests earlier and follow self guided training, you’ll be able to follow up with them proactively, and guide them more elegantly… and more importantly on your suggested timeline.
3. “They always want everything ASAP… yesterday!”
Govlist: See previous answer :). The goal is to empower them as much as possible upfront, proactively, on demand – and then you step in when the time is right, and hopefully after they’ve given it their best shot based on your guidance and collaborative efforts through Govlist!
4. “I’m a subject matter expert on HOW to buy… department staff are subject matter experts on WHAT to buy. Vendors are subject matter experts on what THEY HAVE to offer”
Govlist: This is what Govlist does best. Working inside a document or a PDF is too “flat” and limiting. Rather, bring all the subject matter experts together into an online research and collaboration space to build your solicitation portal.
5. “I spend most of my time going back and forth with customers, answering basic questions”
Govlist: Because department staff aren’t always building solicitations… because it’s critical to the business of government…and because it’s not the most straight forward process to follow – that’s a recipe for frustration. This is why a “TurboTax for RFP” environment works best. Build best practices and training into the software that’s used to build the solicitation project – and get rid of the actual forms and documents altogether – replacing it with a guided experience.
6. “Customers make incorrect changes to terms and conditions or other required language.”
Govlist: “Legalese” is dangerous when in the hands of those that don’t understand exactly why it’s there and necessary. For many reasons, Govlist offers the option to ask the requester some questions about the project, and then generates the terms and conditions appropriate for them.
The bottom line is that public procurement officials are important to help government keep with the speed of innovation, but if we don’t arm them with modern tools to build creative, accurate, and compliant RFPs – government loses pace with the rest of the world. Govlist is here to promote the importance of the work procurement pros do to help our communities offer services that are critical and future proof. The 40 minute video webinar above takes you further into these challenges and how Govlist responds to your needs. We hope you find it educational!