Welcome!

Government Cloud Authors: Charlotte Spencer-Smith, Kevin Jackson, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Flint Brenton

Blog Feed Post

Don’t respond to RFP’s? It depends…

All I can think as I read through this Inc.com Article on “Why not to respond to RFP’s” is…

“Man, I really hope our competition is reading this and decides to follow their advice, ha!”

Although the author makes a couple of good points about the negatives of responding… RFP’s are so engrained in the culture of corporate and government procurement that I think responding will always be a large piece to the success of any business development team.

However, I do think we are seeing a permanent shift in the scope of RFP’s, especially on the government-side. They are moving more toward pre-approving smart and qualified vendors that provide long-term strategic guidance in an “on-call services” manner, rather than releasing RFP’s for each individual project.

Obviously this isn’t new, as the practice of Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts have been used to pre-qualify vendors for quite sometime. But, what is new is the broadening scope that these on-call vendors can provide once approved as a vendor.

For example, the company I work for, Dewberry, was awarded an IDIQ-like contract by the Western States Contracting Alliance (WSCA) last year to provide Cloud Computing, Cloud Consulting, and Cloud Architecture Design for a three year period with two following option years.

No dollars whatsoever were promised to Dewberry during the entire bidding process, which included an approximately 18 month long RFI, RFP, and Award negotiation process. Meaning, we dedicated hundreds of business development and proposal writing hours, over an 18-month period, to a client that promised us nothing in return except for the opportunity to perhaps supply Cloud infrastructure and services to them if they so chose.

So why did we continue to pursue this RFP?

I mean, we’re not bad business people. We understood this process wasn’t ideal in terms of what IT sales textbooks tell you to do like “control the deal” and make sure with “every concession, you get something in return”.

So why did we keep pouring hours into it?

“It comes down to the confidence you have in your solution and building a long-term strategy.”

As I mentioned earlier, although IDIQ contracts have long been used, the breadth of scope that pre-approved vendors can now provide a customer is broadening due to technology like cloud computing. For example, now that Dewberry has been awarded a long-term contract with WSCA, we can focus on becoming their strategic trusted adviser more than a silo’ed project poacher.

This means we get to understand our customer as people, personalities, and an organizational culture; not just as project requirements on paper. Based on this deeper level understanding, we can recommend solutions that reach an entirely different level of customer satisfaction; including, solving organizational, cultural, and interdepartmental issues that may have existed since the absolute beginning of their days.

In addition to this promise of long-term strategic engagement with our customers upon award, we responded because we knew we had the absolute best, most innovative, and lowest cost solution the customer could buy (in large part to a successful partnership with Amazon Web Services) and therefore we could easily become the one-stop IT shop for every State, Local, and even Federal Government entity (WSCA allows any U.S. based government entity to purchase from the contract with approval).

My purposeful use of my phrase “one-stop IT shop” and not just “Cloud provider” shows that we obviously thought well ahead of the written words in the original RFP, which was titled simply “Public Cloud Contract.”

We knew that cloud technology had changed the landscape of IT procurement so much that these future customers would end up bypassing other legacy RFP procurement cycles like software license buys and system integration projects, because having access to this contract vehicle would enable them to hop online and within a few clicks, buy a pre-installed, pre-licensed hosted cloud server instances with powerhouse software like Oracle, SAP and Microsoft… All without ever talking to a software, hardware, networking, or consulting vendor

“Man, it feels great to empower customers to buy on their own terms!”

So, is it worth chasing RFP’s? Damn betcha!  But, only if you have a strategy where an award will set you up to be a long term trusted adviser and, most importantly, you are confident that your solution is in the absolute best interest of your customer.

If “no” to any of those points, then you are better off saving your business development hours for relationship-based selling like golfing with a CIO and praying he likes to watch you slice it into the woods, again.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes, blogging at www.RyHug.com, is the Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) of Skygone (www.skygoneinc.com), a Cloud Computing solution provider to SI's, ISV's, Commercial, and Government. Education: MBA in Project Management from Penn State University; BS in GIS from Bowling Green State University Ryan currently has 10 years in Enterprise-level IT Program Management and Operations Management, as well as vast experience in Enterprise System Design and Cloud implementation methodology.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...