Friday, January 26, 2007
Playing fair with software vendors
An RFI is issued then a competitive RFP process - 3 or more vendors invest time and money to work their way though long processes and presentations.
But in fact the buyer was only getting the vendors to jump through these expensive hoops, to keep the procurement or legal team happy. The buyer had already decided at the get go who they were buying from. It's so common that it's now expected - so increasingly many vendors refuse to go along for the charade and won't bid as they know full well they have no hope of winning, regardless of how good their solution. It's a rotten situation - unethical and damaging to the industry as a whole.
Smarter buyers recognize the value of standardization, but keep the incumbent on their feet by regularly awarding contracts to competing vendors. They also don't issue long check lists of pointless RFP questions, instead they ask vendors how they would solve their particular problems, and make full use of bake off sessions, where finalists come into demo on a pre-identified area. Result? More innovation, more chance of choosing the best fit, and healthier more ethical business relationships all round.