Why the RFP Is the Enemy of Innovation

Categories : Procurement Stages | Conduct RFP Strategy Published on : Jan 26 2017

By: Chris Maddox, Co-founder and CEO of Seneca Systems

Traditional public procurement processes don't work in an era of startups and rapid technological change.

For decades, the private sector has been forced to jump through increasingly challenging hoops to do business with government. At the heart of this problem is the familiar request for proposal, a solicitation document intended to enable efficient evaluation of bids from potential vendors. The RFP process is meant to bring structure and transparency to the procurement process, while reducing risk through open requirements and discussion. For decades this has made sense, particularly for larger government organizations whose contracts can be very large and typically are open to negotiation.

But with the rise of cloud-based technologies -- which have democratized technology of all kinds in both the public and private sectors -- and the ever-accelerating rate of technological innovation, the traditional RFP process is increasingly proving to be a poor tool for procurement, leaving public servants and citizens with few options, locked into predatory contracts and languishing years behind private-sector counterparts.

How did the RFP process, meant to encourage competition, end up undermining it?

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