Techniques for sourcing the right solution provider

Devising invitations for large tenders requires broad domain expertise, practical experience and a thorough knowledge of business analysis. Therefore, every procurement project needs a professional tender submission with clearly defined requirements. Failure to do this may mean overall objectives cannot be wholly achieved, as well as a loss of resources and time. This also applies to the public sector.

During the evaluation process, particular attention must be paid to legal regulations. This is especially important in tenders that are subject to WTO regulations. Here, incomplete or poorly formulated terms of reference can lead to an inaccurate evaluation and costly delays due to legal proceedings involving violations. A minimum of six months is usually needed to prepare the required documents and meet deadlines for WTO tenders.

Resources pose a major challenge for many public sector organisations. Even if the expertise is available internally, daily business rarely allows employees to dedicate themselves fully to the extensive task of preparing a tender. External specialists can provide valuable support: these consultants have profound know-how in business analysis for methodical and structured preparation of specifications. They also possess extensive domain knowledge in the public sector and expertise in the various tendering procedures.

Choosing the right provider

The assessment process is crucial to success and involves a thorough and transparent evaluation of requirements (See Fig. 1). Additionally, costs must be considered in order to determine the right tendering procedure. External specialists from private sectors can provide additional insights - they know the tender procedure from the perspective of the other side and can therefore identify “loopholes” that may be advantageous. When establishing requirements, external specialists can often provide a more balanced standpoint. They can also identify more easily when something is incomplete or ambiguous and provide solutions for these issues through their tactical know-how.

Schematic represantation of the tendering procedure

Fig. 1: Schematic representation of the tendering procedure

Real-world example: Pragmatic evaluation of a standard solution

A federal office plans to introduce a new communication solution. The invitation to tender for this project is handled by an external service provider. He has broad experience both in the evaluation of ICT solutions, as well as in public sector tendering processes .The consultant quickly recognizes that the task can be conducted using standard solutions, which means there is no need for costly WTO procedures. Thus he pursues a pragmatic standard procedure for the procurement. This quick decision saves the office a great deal of unnecessary work.

The consultant uses an evaluation tool to compile a list of all possible providers in the area. The detailed requirements are then agreed with key stakeholders at the federal office. With his comprehensive understanding of the critical questions to be addressed, the consultant can ensure that unnecessary factors do not increase the price. The list of requirements is then used to make contact with qualified candidates. A structured process is then used to evaluate and compare these candidates.

Before a final decision is made, a reference visit is conducted at a related organisation within the public sector. The expert’s pragmatic approach and technical know-how means the system evaluation can be successfully completed in a very short time.