ChatGPT and DALL-E – what bidders need to know

This is what a Bid Queen looks like to AI, and it's also written a song about what it's like to work in a bid team (read further...). The tech and business world is currently obsessed with ChatGPT, a ‘Generative AI’ program created by OpenAI, that can mimic human...

Bidding trends in 2023: What’s here, what’s next and what’s coming (and it’s sooner than the Jetsons predicted)

Meet George and Judy Jetson. They're fictional characters who featured in the cartoon series The Jetsons, which aired on TV from 1962. It was set 100 years into the future. The family lives in a SkyPad Apartment, with a robot maid, and they drive to work and school in...

6 strategies for winning government tenders

If you're in the business of selling to the government, then you know that the tender process can be long, complicated, and frustrating. But the good news is that there are some strategies you can adopt to increase your chances of success. Here are six tips for...

Bidhive awarded Crown Commercial service G-Cloud 13 contract

Bidhive, an award winning bid management platform for supplier tendering, today announced that it has been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service's (CCS) G-Cloud 13 agreement which went live on 9th November 2022. This contract follows Bidhive's prior...

What makes a good Bid Manager?

For organisations where bidding plays a large part of how they secure and maintain customers and contracts, Bidhive helps them quickly compile their bid teams, allocate tasks, set decision gates and build on the success of their previous bids.

How to win a government contract

Doing business with government. Where to begin? Government contracts offer businesses a lucrative opportunity, but there's a lot to learn about how to win a bid through the tender process. For many small to medium sized businesses this process is perceived as being...

The Importance of Non-Price Criteria in a Tender

When submitting a bid, it can be tempting to focus solely on price. Non-price criteria – or quality requirements – are increasingly taken into consideration when contracts are awarded.

Whitepaper #2: Go Digital or Die – Bid Management Doesn’t Have a Choice

In the very near future bid management will combine robotic process automation (RPA) with cognitive technologies such as machine learning technologies such as machine learning, speech recognition, and natural language processing. These technologies will help to automate higher-order tasks wtih AI assist that in the past required the perceptual and judgement capabilities of humans. These are just some of the ideas that we at Bidhive dream of for our industry. Read about them in our whitepaper.

Data driven bid management: how technology is reshaping the profession

Are you tracking win rates, team performance and analysing the market? Bid-related data is increasingly being used by companies to improve and enhance all bidding and tender related activities. We discuss why bid data is being increasingly being captured and analysed,...

What’s the difference between a non-compliant and non-conforming tender?

Non-compliance vs non-conformance in tendering Knowing the difference between a non-compliant and non-conforming tender can be make or break for bidding success. Tenders provide businesses of all sizes with access to various opportunities to sell to the government,...

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ChatGPT and DALL-E – what bidders need to know

This is what a Bid Queen looks like to AI, and it’s also written a song about what it’s like to work in a bid team (read further…).
The tech and business world is currently obsessed with ChatGPT, a ‘Generative AI’ program created by OpenAI, that can mimic human writing.  Recently, Microsoft announced a multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI, with plans to integrate ChatGPT into existing software such as Word, Outlook, and Bing.  It’s brother product, DALL-E, creates realistic images and art from a description in natural language and Microsoft is planning to launch a graphic design app called Designer, and integrate this technology into Bing and Microsoft Edge to allow users to create images if web results don’t return what they’re looking for.
As with any technological advancement, this has led to people in specific industries to wonder how this latest development can help them. Can ChatGPT and DALL-E help businesses with bid responses?
Humans give ChatGTP-3 and DALL-E the instructions
Firstly, it’s important to stress that this is very much early days for the text and image generation technologies as they were only launched in November 2022.  However, as a bid manager, you should be aware of ChatGPT and DALL-E – and similar software – and how it could potentially help you now and in the future.
Both technologies were trained on internet data and work by allowing users to type in a question or request and receive either prose or an image on the topic that could have been written by a human. It can also be written in a style of the user’s choosing, from essays and recipes to songs and film scripts.
Let’s see what it can do.  In this example, I’ve entered a prompt into the easy-to-use interface.
EXAMPLE 1
Prompt: Create a funny hip hop chorus about bid teams doing all-nighters and burning the midnight oil in the style of the Australian musical group Hilltop Hoods.

After a bit of fine tuning ChatGTP3 was on a roll. It took 5 seconds to pen the lyrics.

Response (text generation):

The bid team beat 

Verse 1: Bid teams workin’ all night long Burnin’ the midnight oil, pushin’ on Got our eyes on the prize, the contract win Gotta submit that bid before the deadline spin
Chorus: We’re the bid team, workin’ like crazy All-nighters, makin’ us hazy But we won’t stop ’til we get the deal Burnin’ the midnight oil, makin’ it real
Verse 2: We’re the kings of the proposal scene Got the skills and the means to make it clean We’ll outbid the competition, no doubt Gotta get that contract, we’re in it to win it out
Chorus: We’re the bid team, workin’ like crazy All-nighters, makin’ us hazy But we won’t stop ’til we get the deal Burnin’ the midnight oil, makin’ it real
Verse 3: We’re the ones who seal the deal Got the paperwork and the numbers to appeal We’ll make sure the client chooses us Gotta win that contract, it’s a must
Chorus: We’re the bid team, workin’ like crazy All-nighters, makin’ us hazy But we won’t stop ’til we get the deal Burnin’ the midnight oil, makin’ it real
Outro: We’re the bid team, we’re the ones Burnin’ the midnight oil, gettin’ it done We’ll make sure we win that contract All-nighters, worth it, we’re the best.

 
I don’t know if Hilltop Hoods would lend their music to this, but if there’s a bid manager who likes to strum a guitar or rap acapella with vocal sounds and samples then bring it on. Our profession doesn’t have an anthem yet.
 

EXAMPLE 2

Prompt: Create a 3D punk style digital piece of a flying fox marrying a cat with their offspring in the wedding party.
First attempt and I’m happy. 5 seconds to generate.
Response (image generation):
DALL-E generated image of a bat marrying a cat.
Not bad!  It’s interpreted the brief ALMOST exactly as my warped brain imagined it. It’s gone a little cra cra and I can see what might possibly be a cockatoo pinned upside down on the shirtfront. That’s a tad weird, and disturbing  But ok.
Depending on how linguistly sophisticated you are, you might defend DALL-E and say that a bat marrying a cat is too vague.  Was the bat ”marrying” the cat (the bat being the celebrant), or was the bat and cat marrying eachother.  DALL-E challenged my thinking!!!   And what’s the cat at the back holding?  We could spend a long time analysing this piece.
Embedding the technology into your own data
The technology is moving and learning fast, and OpenAI has now granted access to developers to embed into business applications and provide feedback to their researchers. While it needs custom data training, there are many potential use cases that could be explored for bidding.
Research assistance
Use it as a research assistant – ChatGPT could be the ideal solution for bid managers who want a quick and easy way to find repeatable answers to questions that commonly arise (what’s our company number or insurance details again???). By integrating it into the bid management workflow, bid writers can find answers to responses without having to go back and forth to subject matter experts, saving everyone time and increasing company-wide efficiency. After all, being “on” 24/7 is a luxury most companies can’t afford.
Drafting
Draft the parts you can’t (or don’t want to) – As a bid writer or manager, you have many tasks to juggle. ChatGPT might make life easier for you when it comes to drafting menial parts of a response, such as biographies, track record summaries and case studies. Lacking inspiration? Struggling for a response to that draft that came back after the review? Need a draft introduction quickly? The tool can provide you with a framework for a thorough, well-written response, or even summarise a section into 200 words (to avoid the peril of being cut off int he portal), leaving you more time to focus on other important (high scoring) areas.  If you want it to magically write your response it might churn out boilerplate content for you to draft, but you’ll always need to tailor the response to the requirements and customer needs.
Brainstorming
Generate some ideas with the solutions team to kick off discussions (what could this futuristic stadium for the Brisbane Olympics look like?).  While it’s highly unlikely this will take away any jobs – it still needs technical and commercial expertise to take it further than a concept on a page –  there could be times when simply having something conceptual to show could be more powerful than a sea of words.

Above: DALL-E generated concepts for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics Stadium.
The future is what humans make of it
What this technology probably won’t do (at least for now), is create a strategic, differentiated bids that truly address customer pain points and discriminators. And fact checking is a must. At this early stage, ChatGPT and DALL-E is useful for generating ideas. Should bid writers and managers – even technical solutions people – be threatened?  Don’t be. If you approach bidding like you want to win a Pulizer prize, then yes, you might be threatened that it can write fairly creatively. But AI will not be able to replace evidence-based commercial and strategic thinking that persuades an evaluation committee.
It’s humans who are the masterminds behind the competitive bidding and the solutions we create, not machines. So don’t be too afraid of what’s coming. If used correctly, it can be a valuable tool to streamline eyour bid management processes and making your team more engaged and efficient.

Bidding trends in 2023: What’s here, what’s next and what’s coming (and it’s sooner than the Jetsons predicted)

Meet George and Judy Jetson.
They’re fictional characters who featured in the cartoon series The Jetsons, which aired on TV from 1962. It was set 100 years into the future. The family lives in a SkyPad Apartment, with a robot maid, and they drive to work and school in flying cars. They communicate via videoconference, and have smart watches. These are just some of technologies that the Jetsons predicted for 2062 that we have right now.
In the show, George complains of his heavy workload of pushing a single button on a computer as much as five times over three hours, three days a week.
Welcome to working in 2023
Fastforward (or rewind) to 2023, and technology acceleration and adoption has skyrocketed by the rapid diffusion of digitisation projects and AI models into everyday business applications.  With the early majority now accepting that technology has changed business forever, what benefits, challenges and limits will technology bring to the future of bidding?  In this article we’ll explore the use cases where technology is being applied, or has the potential to be applied, to revolutionise our profession.  Like it or fear it – it’s coming.
1. Open data
With technology adoption moving faster in the last two years than the two decades before, automation has helped to speed up processes. But just as the internet became democratised, so too is open data and the way humans are unlocking it to work faster and make better decisions. Data is the foundation of digital, the key element for making more efficient and impactful decisions. Without data, technology simply can’t support human endeavour.
If you’re not convinced just how powerful data can be, let’s look at the procurement process during the pandemic.
When Covid-19 hit, the world simply couldn’t wait for a tender process and emergency legislation was put in place to bypass procurement procedures. A single Tweet from the NY Governor in March 2020 highlighted the desperate plea for supplies, and a footnote offering a premium price.
 
Twitter post seeking urgent Covid-19 supplies which resulted in many dubious product offers.
However without any competitive bidding or access to supplier data, there was no accountability. This led to price gouging; as well as contracts being awarded to family and friends. Worse still, states competed with each other for supplies; counterfeit products made their way into hospitals and sadly, medical supplies didn’t make their way at all.
A NEMXIS Survey, 2020 across 58 countries found that COVID-19 related deaths in every third country were due poor supplier selection. But the pandemic didn’t really create new problems for procurement; it simply highlighted hidden vulnerabilities and where it was broken.
If we could rewind time, how could this have played out if the systems  were properly digitised, and what use cases could this have solved?

What if we had a global database of pre-qualified PPE suppliers whose credentials were linked to third party verifiers so that quality standards, and track records could be searchable?
What if suppliers were networked so that they could have collaborated and partnered to match supply to demand?
And what if procurement departments were networked to reduce duplication the pressure on suppliers to spread themselves thin or forego opportunities?

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” – William Gibson, author and originator of the term ‘cyberspace’
As we’ve learned, without the right systems in place, access to data, or human points of view – nothing better happens.
Ukraine as an example of data transparency and procurement reform
While the world was panicking over toilet paper, the Ukraine was able to source and despatch quality supplies in less than 48 hours.  This is remarkable given only a few years earlier the country was plagued by corruption.
Procurement reform led to an amazing collaboration between citizens, industry, the government and data scientists when they open sourced their procurement data via the Prozorro system  Using Prozorro, tender and contract award data would be openly published in a structured, standardised format using the Open Contracting Data Standards – another initiative that started with volunteers. This is significant because until now, not even the world bank or OECD has been able to get a consolidated accurate figure on global procurement spend.
Instead of it being just another portal, these standards provide a format that is machine readable. In the Ukraine, they’ve added business intelligence tools to their system so that data can also be analysed.
By having visibility of data and following the money there’s been real evidence of impact.

2.7 million dollars saved a day which they can channel back into essential services
Accessibility to tenders has grown from 4% to 100%
96% suppliers are SMEs
Based on the success of the model, private sector has now developed a B2B version.

Today, the Prozorro system is a great source of national pride and there’s incredible trust between the government and its people. Even in the midst of a war, Ukraine is quickly planning to rebuild.  With open data, they’re able to find prequalified suppliers and are introducing selection criteria that includes meeting sustainable development goals so they can innovate by using smarter, cleaner technologies. The country is also planning to open up implementation data so that international aid and donors can see how they are progressing with the use of funds.
By challenging the status quo and making procurement transparent, the open contracting data standards have now been adopted by 30 governments worldwide.
For bidders this data is gold and data science can now help us to get better insights into:

Buyer and supplier trends
Seasonal demand to make resourcing decisions
We can see contract prices and their duration; so we can keep an eye on expiry dates
And we can also detect red flags or patterns in behaviour where the tender window is unusually short or the same supplier keeps being awarded – so we might make a no bid decision, or we might approach them to partner.

And if we flip this to feature our own internal bidding data there’s incredible insights we can also gather for competitive intelligence.  If we can structure and classify our bidding data, we can codify it – and it can build a better picture of what’s happening over time.
We can extend this into risk assessments, and we can see correlations and the relational factors between our bids’ success and failure.  We can even dive deeper to analyse the spread of proposal time and what’s causing bottlenecks.
2. Blockchain
Opening up data and making it transparent might prove to be a promising foundation for a procurement and bidding blockchain. To explain how this might work, imagine the blockchain to be like a subway map that contains tracks – or ledgers – with transactions linked through blocks. These tracks can be permissioned, or permissionless meaning they can be public or private (for example, the tender being issued is public; but the clarification question and answer period might be private). If anything changes, a new block is created and everyone is notified.
Conceptual image of a procurement and bidding blockchain. Source: Bidhive
We’ve heard of blockchain being used in supply chain manufacturing – even artwork – to keep records to verify authenticity and ownership.  But anything that has a lifecycle like procurement and bidding is a promising use case. So far, there’s been early pilots of procurement blockchain implementations in Columbia, Spain, South Korea and the US using blockchain for vendor selection, evaluation scoring and contract spend. And even though the World Bank has identified blockchain’s great potential by using the Open Contracting Data Standards as a foundation, it’s implementation might be a fair way off.
While the technology is here, and the theoretical benefits seem valid, it is quite a quantum leap for procurement departments and the many other stakeholders involved in procurement to build a consensus based ecosystem.
3. Semantic Search
The real potential having lots of data and opening it up across our organisations is that we can start to use smarter technology to make it more relevant. We’re getting used to this experience now with search engines and apps such as Spotify and Netflix making recommendations. As bidders, we’re always searching for information but finding it and knowing whether it is useful is where we sink a lot of time.  Semantic search limitations (like Google) might help you to locate information, but it won’t necessarily give you the exact answer you need. This example could be likened to going to a doctor and asking for advice and being given a list of articles instead of a diagnosis.
Now, advances in semantic search combined with machine learning can give us a place to go to search for content, and behind the scenes allows the results to be more contextual. This kind of search or the reasoning behind it however, doesn’t ‘’magically’’ happen on its own. We need humans and domain knowledge to develop the data dictionary so that data can be mapped and the machine can read it and make sense of the relationship. We can apply this tech to bid management use cases like knowledge library search and Q&A pairing but from a strategic standpoint, it also holds potential for making recommendations around win/loss probability, bid/no bid decisions, and even risk based on previous outcomes using relational data to detect correlations. This is an exciting development.
4. Open AI GPT-3 / ChatGPT3
The tech world is currently going crazy over ChatGTP, an artificial intelligence program that can mimic human writing.  As well as helping us find content and make strategic decisions, AI in bidding can assist with research and writing using natural language, not just keywords.  This might make us feel both excited and threatened.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most people have heard of Open AI’s GTP-3 and ChatGPT3. Launched in November 2022, it is a conversational chatbot built on Open AI’s GPT-3 technology (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3), a state-of-the-art language processing AI model developed by the  research lab. The GPT-3 text-in text-out model was trained on internet text using Wikipedia and book content, giving it incredible creative capabilities.
Many of us unknowingly use it every day across hundreds of apps – from chatbots to predictive text and grammar checks. There are now hundreds of apps are being built on GTP-3 output, with Microsoft purchasing the exclusive license to its source code where it plans to incoporate it into its Bing search engine.
Now, GPT-3 has been opened up for developers to fine-tune on their own data, creating a custom version tailored to their application. Customizing makes GPT-3 reliable for a wider variety of use cases and makes running the model cheaper and faster. Two areas the model has proved to be strongest are its understanding of code and its ability to compress complicated matters.  The latter makes it potentially useful for compressing long-form content into summaries for bid writers who are imposed strict word counts for each response. As the data gets trained and fine-tuned, bidding use cases could extend to knowledge search and content curation.
Conversation with GPT-3
Where to from here?
As a bidding community, where can technology take us? That’s entirely a human decision, and the use cases we define and the boundaries we set. The danger of having machines reword our sentences is the allure of wanting it write the entire piece.
So instead of aiming for full automation, we should not put the technology first. Why not put humans first and aim for superhuman bidders? Technology that makes bid managers think better, become more aware, and makes the process of bidding more engaging?
Our digital future shouldn’t be to replace human intelligence, but to augment it by using tech to make us better at what we do.

6 strategies for winning government tenders

If you’re in the business of selling to the government, then you know that the tender process can be long, complicated, and frustrating. But the good news is that there are some strategies you can adopt to increase your chances of success. Here are six tips for winning government tenders.
1. Know the customer
The first step is to understand the needs and wants of your potential customer. What are their priorities? What are they looking for in a supplier? The better you know the customer, the better positioned you’ll be to win their business.
Even if you don’t already have a relationship with the customer, read the tender document thoroughly and ensure that you understand what is being asked – take the time to read the background, the objectives and purpose. This usually provides excellent insight into the key drivers and the possible problem, issues or challenges facing the agency.
2. Do your planning
Before you even start working on your bid, make sure you know everything there is to know about the tender process. What are the requirements? What is the timeline? Who is involved in the decision-making process? The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.
Creating and sticking to a bid plan is essential for meeting deadlines and reducing the risk of low evaluation scores or worse – non-compliance and disqualification. Effective bid plans should include the identification of tasks, the order they will be done in, required resources and review cycles. Time should also be set aside for regular bid plan reviews so any risks can be identified early on in the bid process, allowing a team more time to come up with contingencies or solutions if needed.
3. Make it personal
One mistake that companies make when bidding on government contracts is that they treat the process like a numbers game. They submit a generic proposal that could be used for any customer, without tailoring it to the specific needs of the government agency they’re trying to win over. But if you want to win, you need to make it personal. Your proposal should be tailored specifically to the agency’s needs and requirements.
Focus on the value proposition. This is what tells the story about what is unique and distinct about your company, and the goods or services it provides. It will give you stronger alignment to your brand personality.  By this we mean the tone and character you are conveying; your positioning, which is your differentiation in the marketplace; and your promise – which are the claims you make.
Another one is to have a stronger, demonstrated understanding of the customer’s needs or requirements versus your competitors. This extends to showing how you understand their business issues as well as those of strategic significance facing them, and their own customers or clients.
4. Think outside the box
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your proposal. The government is often looking for innovative solutions, so if you have something unique to offer, make sure you highlight it in your bid.
Help the customer by coming up with ideas – from alternative ways of doing things to how to tackle possible worries about future resourcing and staffing implications, or the impact of restructure on their business. Remember, people do the evaluating so reducing their perceptions of risk (whether this be resistence to change, or insecurity about their own job security) can sometimes come into play. By building trust this positions you more effectively as being a strategic adviser. Consider offering value-added services such as additional advice, training, products, or even unique partnerships that may benefit your customers in some way.
5. Support your claims
Whenever you make a claim in your proposal—for example, that your product is better than the competition—be sure to back it up with evidence. Whether it’s customer testimonials or independent research, supporting data will go a long way towards convincing evaluators that your bid is worth considering.
Differentiating through the use of evidence-based reporting. If you have statistics or Key Performance Indicators that demonstrate successful outcomes, use them to back up your claims. If you’re allowed to include graphs or charts, this can be a powerful visual to convey metrics very succinctly.
 6. Pay attention to detail
The devil is in the details when it comes to government tenders—if you’re not careful, small mistakes can cost you big time. So before you submit your proposal, take some time to proofread it and make sure all of your information is accurate, relevant, and in the correct format.
Read all of the documentation, including the background, scope of requirements, the conditions of contract and the selection criteria.  It is really quite amazing how easily a company can be disqualified from the evaluation process even if they’ve done so much work. All it takes is the wrong font, or a non-compliant or off topic response to lose marks or be eliminated altogether.
Make the document easy to navigate. Use the “follow the bouncing ball” principle. Follow the structure of the tender, and mirror the same headings and sub-headings back in your bid response. Don’t expect evaluators to have to dig around and make sense of your submission. When they evaluate it, they’ll carve up your submission question by question. Make sure you follow the same format of the tender to make this easy for them.
Bidhive simplifies complex bidding to reduce risk and increase win rates. Book a 1:1 demo to see the platform in action.

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ChatGPT and DALL-E – what bidders need to know

This is what a Bid Queen looks like to AI, and it’s also written a song about what it’s like to work in a bid team (read further…).
The tech and business world is currently obsessed with ChatGPT, a ‘Generative AI’ program created by OpenAI, that can mimic human writing.  Recently, Microsoft announced a multibillion dollar investment in OpenAI, with plans to integrate ChatGPT into existing software such as Word, Outlook, and Bing.  It’s brother product, DALL-E, creates realistic images and art from a description in natural language and Microsoft is planning to launch a graphic design app called Designer, and integrate this technology into Bing and Microsoft Edge to allow users to create images if web results don’t return what they’re looking for.
As with any technological advancement, this has led to people in specific industries to wonder how this latest development can help them. Can ChatGPT and DALL-E help businesses with bid responses?
Humans give ChatGTP-3 and DALL-E the instructions
Firstly, it’s important to stress that this is very much early days for the text and image generation technologies as they were only launched in November 2022.  However, as a bid manager, you should be aware of ChatGPT and DALL-E – and similar software – and how it could potentially help you now and in the future.
Both technologies were trained on internet data and work by allowing users to type in a question or request and receive either prose or an image on the topic that could have been written by a human. It can also be written in a style of the user’s choosing, from essays and recipes to songs and film scripts.
Let’s see what it can do.  In this example, I’ve entered a prompt into the easy-to-use interface.
EXAMPLE 1
Prompt: Create a funny hip hop chorus about bid teams doing all-nighters and burning the midnight oil in the style of the Australian musical group Hilltop Hoods.

After a bit of fine tuning ChatGTP3 was on a roll. It took 5 seconds to pen the lyrics.

Response (text generation):

The bid team beat 

Verse 1: Bid teams workin’ all night long Burnin’ the midnight oil, pushin’ on Got our eyes on the prize, the contract win Gotta submit that bid before the deadline spin
Chorus: We’re the bid team, workin’ like crazy All-nighters, makin’ us hazy But we won’t stop ’til we get the deal Burnin’ the midnight oil, makin’ it real
Verse 2: We’re the kings of the proposal scene Got the skills and the means to make it clean We’ll outbid the competition, no doubt Gotta get that contract, we’re in it to win it out
Chorus: We’re the bid team, workin’ like crazy All-nighters, makin’ us hazy But we won’t stop ’til we get the deal Burnin’ the midnight oil, makin’ it real
Verse 3: We’re the ones who seal the deal Got the paperwork and the numbers to appeal We’ll make sure the client chooses us Gotta win that contract, it’s a must
Chorus: We’re the bid team, workin’ like crazy All-nighters, makin’ us hazy But we won’t stop ’til we get the deal Burnin’ the midnight oil, makin’ it real
Outro: We’re the bid team, we’re the ones Burnin’ the midnight oil, gettin’ it done We’ll make sure we win that contract All-nighters, worth it, we’re the best.

 
I don’t know if Hilltop Hoods would lend their music to this, but if there’s a bid manager who likes to strum a guitar or rap acapella with vocal sounds and samples then bring it on. Our profession doesn’t have an anthem yet.
 

EXAMPLE 2

Prompt: Create a 3D punk style digital piece of a flying fox marrying a cat with their offspring in the wedding party.
First attempt and I’m happy. 5 seconds to generate.
Response (image generation):
DALL-E generated image of a bat marrying a cat.
Not bad!  It’s interpreted the brief ALMOST exactly as my warped brain imagined it. It’s gone a little cra cra and I can see what might possibly be a cockatoo pinned upside down on the shirtfront. That’s a tad weird, and disturbing  But ok.
Depending on how linguistly sophisticated you are, you might defend DALL-E and say that a bat marrying a cat is too vague.  Was the bat ”marrying” the cat (the bat being the celebrant), or was the bat and cat marrying eachother.  DALL-E challenged my thinking!!!   And what’s the cat at the back holding?  We could spend a long time analysing this piece.
Embedding the technology into your own data
The technology is moving and learning fast, and OpenAI has now granted access to developers to embed into business applications and provide feedback to their researchers. While it needs custom data training, there are many potential use cases that could be explored for bidding.
Research assistance
Use it as a research assistant – ChatGPT could be the ideal solution for bid managers who want a quick and easy way to find repeatable answers to questions that commonly arise (what’s our company number or insurance details again???). By integrating it into the bid management workflow, bid writers can find answers to responses without having to go back and forth to subject matter experts, saving everyone time and increasing company-wide efficiency. After all, being “on” 24/7 is a luxury most companies can’t afford.
Drafting
Draft the parts you can’t (or don’t want to) – As a bid writer or manager, you have many tasks to juggle. ChatGPT might make life easier for you when it comes to drafting menial parts of a response, such as biographies, track record summaries and case studies. Lacking inspiration? Struggling for a response to that draft that came back after the review? Need a draft introduction quickly? The tool can provide you with a framework for a thorough, well-written response, or even summarise a section into 200 words (to avoid the peril of being cut off int he portal), leaving you more time to focus on other important (high scoring) areas.  If you want it to magically write your response it might churn out boilerplate content for you to draft, but you’ll always need to tailor the response to the requirements and customer needs.
Brainstorming
Generate some ideas with the solutions team to kick off discussions (what could this futuristic stadium for the Brisbane Olympics look like?).  While it’s highly unlikely this will take away any jobs – it still needs technical and commercial expertise to take it further than a concept on a page –  there could be times when simply having something conceptual to show could be more powerful than a sea of words.

Above: DALL-E generated concepts for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics Stadium.
The future is what humans make of it
What this technology probably won’t do (at least for now), is create a strategic, differentiated bids that truly address customer pain points and discriminators. And fact checking is a must. At this early stage, ChatGPT and DALL-E is useful for generating ideas. Should bid writers and managers – even technical solutions people – be threatened?  Don’t be. If you approach bidding like you want to win a Pulizer prize, then yes, you might be threatened that it can write fairly creatively. But AI will not be able to replace evidence-based commercial and strategic thinking that persuades an evaluation committee.
It’s humans who are the masterminds behind the competitive bidding and the solutions we create, not machines. So don’t be too afraid of what’s coming. If used correctly, it can be a valuable tool to streamline eyour bid management processes and making your team more engaged and efficient.

Bidding trends in 2023: What’s here, what’s next and what’s coming (and it’s sooner than the Jetsons predicted)

Meet George and Judy Jetson.
They’re fictional characters who featured in the cartoon series The Jetsons, which aired on TV from 1962. It was set 100 years into the future. The family lives in a SkyPad Apartment, with a robot maid, and they drive to work and school in flying cars. They communicate via videoconference, and have smart watches. These are just some of technologies that the Jetsons predicted for 2062 that we have right now.
In the show, George complains of his heavy workload of pushing a single button on a computer as much as five times over three hours, three days a week.
Welcome to working in 2023
Fastforward (or rewind) to 2023, and technology acceleration and adoption has skyrocketed by the rapid diffusion of digitisation projects and AI models into everyday business applications.  With the early majority now accepting that technology has changed business forever, what benefits, challenges and limits will technology bring to the future of bidding?  In this article we’ll explore the use cases where technology is being applied, or has the potential to be applied, to revolutionise our profession.  Like it or fear it – it’s coming.
1. Open data
With technology adoption moving faster in the last two years than the two decades before, automation has helped to speed up processes. But just as the internet became democratised, so too is open data and the way humans are unlocking it to work faster and make better decisions. Data is the foundation of digital, the key element for making more efficient and impactful decisions. Without data, technology simply can’t support human endeavour.
If you’re not convinced just how powerful data can be, let’s look at the procurement process during the pandemic.
When Covid-19 hit, the world simply couldn’t wait for a tender process and emergency legislation was put in place to bypass procurement procedures. A single Tweet from the NY Governor in March 2020 highlighted the desperate plea for supplies, and a footnote offering a premium price.
 
Twitter post seeking urgent Covid-19 supplies which resulted in many dubious product offers.
However without any competitive bidding or access to supplier data, there was no accountability. This led to price gouging; as well as contracts being awarded to family and friends. Worse still, states competed with each other for supplies; counterfeit products made their way into hospitals and sadly, medical supplies didn’t make their way at all.
A NEMXIS Survey, 2020 across 58 countries found that COVID-19 related deaths in every third country were due poor supplier selection. But the pandemic didn’t really create new problems for procurement; it simply highlighted hidden vulnerabilities and where it was broken.
If we could rewind time, how could this have played out if the systems  were properly digitised, and what use cases could this have solved?

What if we had a global database of pre-qualified PPE suppliers whose credentials were linked to third party verifiers so that quality standards, and track records could be searchable?
What if suppliers were networked so that they could have collaborated and partnered to match supply to demand?
And what if procurement departments were networked to reduce duplication the pressure on suppliers to spread themselves thin or forego opportunities?

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed” – William Gibson, author and originator of the term ‘cyberspace’
As we’ve learned, without the right systems in place, access to data, or human points of view – nothing better happens.
Ukraine as an example of data transparency and procurement reform
While the world was panicking over toilet paper, the Ukraine was able to source and despatch quality supplies in less than 48 hours.  This is remarkable given only a few years earlier the country was plagued by corruption.
Procurement reform led to an amazing collaboration between citizens, industry, the government and data scientists when they open sourced their procurement data via the Prozorro system  Using Prozorro, tender and contract award data would be openly published in a structured, standardised format using the Open Contracting Data Standards – another initiative that started with volunteers. This is significant because until now, not even the world bank or OECD has been able to get a consolidated accurate figure on global procurement spend.
Instead of it being just another portal, these standards provide a format that is machine readable. In the Ukraine, they’ve added business intelligence tools to their system so that data can also be analysed.
By having visibility of data and following the money there’s been real evidence of impact.

2.7 million dollars saved a day which they can channel back into essential services
Accessibility to tenders has grown from 4% to 100%
96% suppliers are SMEs
Based on the success of the model, private sector has now developed a B2B version.

Today, the Prozorro system is a great source of national pride and there’s incredible trust between the government and its people. Even in the midst of a war, Ukraine is quickly planning to rebuild.  With open data, they’re able to find prequalified suppliers and are introducing selection criteria that includes meeting sustainable development goals so they can innovate by using smarter, cleaner technologies. The country is also planning to open up implementation data so that international aid and donors can see how they are progressing with the use of funds.
By challenging the status quo and making procurement transparent, the open contracting data standards have now been adopted by 30 governments worldwide.
For bidders this data is gold and data science can now help us to get better insights into:

Buyer and supplier trends
Seasonal demand to make resourcing decisions
We can see contract prices and their duration; so we can keep an eye on expiry dates
And we can also detect red flags or patterns in behaviour where the tender window is unusually short or the same supplier keeps being awarded – so we might make a no bid decision, or we might approach them to partner.

And if we flip this to feature our own internal bidding data there’s incredible insights we can also gather for competitive intelligence.  If we can structure and classify our bidding data, we can codify it – and it can build a better picture of what’s happening over time.
We can extend this into risk assessments, and we can see correlations and the relational factors between our bids’ success and failure.  We can even dive deeper to analyse the spread of proposal time and what’s causing bottlenecks.
2. Blockchain
Opening up data and making it transparent might prove to be a promising foundation for a procurement and bidding blockchain. To explain how this might work, imagine the blockchain to be like a subway map that contains tracks – or ledgers – with transactions linked through blocks. These tracks can be permissioned, or permissionless meaning they can be public or private (for example, the tender being issued is public; but the clarification question and answer period might be private). If anything changes, a new block is created and everyone is notified.
Conceptual image of a procurement and bidding blockchain. Source: Bidhive
We’ve heard of blockchain being used in supply chain manufacturing – even artwork – to keep records to verify authenticity and ownership.  But anything that has a lifecycle like procurement and bidding is a promising use case. So far, there’s been early pilots of procurement blockchain implementations in Columbia, Spain, South Korea and the US using blockchain for vendor selection, evaluation scoring and contract spend. And even though the World Bank has identified blockchain’s great potential by using the Open Contracting Data Standards as a foundation, it’s implementation might be a fair way off.
While the technology is here, and the theoretical benefits seem valid, it is quite a quantum leap for procurement departments and the many other stakeholders involved in procurement to build a consensus based ecosystem.
3. Semantic Search
The real potential having lots of data and opening it up across our organisations is that we can start to use smarter technology to make it more relevant. We’re getting used to this experience now with search engines and apps such as Spotify and Netflix making recommendations. As bidders, we’re always searching for information but finding it and knowing whether it is useful is where we sink a lot of time.  Semantic search limitations (like Google) might help you to locate information, but it won’t necessarily give you the exact answer you need. This example could be likened to going to a doctor and asking for advice and being given a list of articles instead of a diagnosis.
Now, advances in semantic search combined with machine learning can give us a place to go to search for content, and behind the scenes allows the results to be more contextual. This kind of search or the reasoning behind it however, doesn’t ‘’magically’’ happen on its own. We need humans and domain knowledge to develop the data dictionary so that data can be mapped and the machine can read it and make sense of the relationship. We can apply this tech to bid management use cases like knowledge library search and Q&A pairing but from a strategic standpoint, it also holds potential for making recommendations around win/loss probability, bid/no bid decisions, and even risk based on previous outcomes using relational data to detect correlations. This is an exciting development.
4. Open AI GPT-3 / ChatGPT3
The tech world is currently going crazy over ChatGTP, an artificial intelligence program that can mimic human writing.  As well as helping us find content and make strategic decisions, AI in bidding can assist with research and writing using natural language, not just keywords.  This might make us feel both excited and threatened.  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, most people have heard of Open AI’s GTP-3 and ChatGPT3. Launched in November 2022, it is a conversational chatbot built on Open AI’s GPT-3 technology (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3), a state-of-the-art language processing AI model developed by the  research lab. The GPT-3 text-in text-out model was trained on internet text using Wikipedia and book content, giving it incredible creative capabilities.
Many of us unknowingly use it every day across hundreds of apps – from chatbots to predictive text and grammar checks. There are now hundreds of apps are being built on GTP-3 output, with Microsoft purchasing the exclusive license to its source code where it plans to incoporate it into its Bing search engine.
Now, GPT-3 has been opened up for developers to fine-tune on their own data, creating a custom version tailored to their application. Customizing makes GPT-3 reliable for a wider variety of use cases and makes running the model cheaper and faster. Two areas the model has proved to be strongest are its understanding of code and its ability to compress complicated matters.  The latter makes it potentially useful for compressing long-form content into summaries for bid writers who are imposed strict word counts for each response. As the data gets trained and fine-tuned, bidding use cases could extend to knowledge search and content curation.
Conversation with GPT-3
Where to from here?
As a bidding community, where can technology take us? That’s entirely a human decision, and the use cases we define and the boundaries we set. The danger of having machines reword our sentences is the allure of wanting it write the entire piece.
So instead of aiming for full automation, we should not put the technology first. Why not put humans first and aim for superhuman bidders? Technology that makes bid managers think better, become more aware, and makes the process of bidding more engaging?
Our digital future shouldn’t be to replace human intelligence, but to augment it by using tech to make us better at what we do.

6 strategies for winning government tenders

If you’re in the business of selling to the government, then you know that the tender process can be long, complicated, and frustrating. But the good news is that there are some strategies you can adopt to increase your chances of success. Here are six tips for winning government tenders.
1. Know the customer
The first step is to understand the needs and wants of your potential customer. What are their priorities? What are they looking for in a supplier? The better you know the customer, the better positioned you’ll be to win their business.
Even if you don’t already have a relationship with the customer, read the tender document thoroughly and ensure that you understand what is being asked – take the time to read the background, the objectives and purpose. This usually provides excellent insight into the key drivers and the possible problem, issues or challenges facing the agency.
2. Do your planning
Before you even start working on your bid, make sure you know everything there is to know about the tender process. What are the requirements? What is the timeline? Who is involved in the decision-making process? The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will be.
Creating and sticking to a bid plan is essential for meeting deadlines and reducing the risk of low evaluation scores or worse – non-compliance and disqualification. Effective bid plans should include the identification of tasks, the order they will be done in, required resources and review cycles. Time should also be set aside for regular bid plan reviews so any risks can be identified early on in the bid process, allowing a team more time to come up with contingencies or solutions if needed.
3. Make it personal
One mistake that companies make when bidding on government contracts is that they treat the process like a numbers game. They submit a generic proposal that could be used for any customer, without tailoring it to the specific needs of the government agency they’re trying to win over. But if you want to win, you need to make it personal. Your proposal should be tailored specifically to the agency’s needs and requirements.
Focus on the value proposition. This is what tells the story about what is unique and distinct about your company, and the goods or services it provides. It will give you stronger alignment to your brand personality.  By this we mean the tone and character you are conveying; your positioning, which is your differentiation in the marketplace; and your promise – which are the claims you make.
Another one is to have a stronger, demonstrated understanding of the customer’s needs or requirements versus your competitors. This extends to showing how you understand their business issues as well as those of strategic significance facing them, and their own customers or clients.
4. Think outside the box
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when it comes to your proposal. The government is often looking for innovative solutions, so if you have something unique to offer, make sure you highlight it in your bid.
Help the customer by coming up with ideas – from alternative ways of doing things to how to tackle possible worries about future resourcing and staffing implications, or the impact of restructure on their business. Remember, people do the evaluating so reducing their perceptions of risk (whether this be resistence to change, or insecurity about their own job security) can sometimes come into play. By building trust this positions you more effectively as being a strategic adviser. Consider offering value-added services such as additional advice, training, products, or even unique partnerships that may benefit your customers in some way.
5. Support your claims
Whenever you make a claim in your proposal—for example, that your product is better than the competition—be sure to back it up with evidence. Whether it’s customer testimonials or independent research, supporting data will go a long way towards convincing evaluators that your bid is worth considering.
Differentiating through the use of evidence-based reporting. If you have statistics or Key Performance Indicators that demonstrate successful outcomes, use them to back up your claims. If you’re allowed to include graphs or charts, this can be a powerful visual to convey metrics very succinctly.
 6. Pay attention to detail
The devil is in the details when it comes to government tenders—if you’re not careful, small mistakes can cost you big time. So before you submit your proposal, take some time to proofread it and make sure all of your information is accurate, relevant, and in the correct format.
Read all of the documentation, including the background, scope of requirements, the conditions of contract and the selection criteria.  It is really quite amazing how easily a company can be disqualified from the evaluation process even if they’ve done so much work. All it takes is the wrong font, or a non-compliant or off topic response to lose marks or be eliminated altogether.
Make the document easy to navigate. Use the “follow the bouncing ball” principle. Follow the structure of the tender, and mirror the same headings and sub-headings back in your bid response. Don’t expect evaluators to have to dig around and make sense of your submission. When they evaluate it, they’ll carve up your submission question by question. Make sure you follow the same format of the tender to make this easy for them.
Bidhive simplifies complex bidding to reduce risk and increase win rates. Book a 1:1 demo to see the platform in action.

Bidhive awarded Crown Commercial service G-Cloud 13 contract

Bidhive, an award winning bid management platform for supplier tendering, today announced that it has been named as a supplier on Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) G-Cloud 13 agreement which went live on 9th November 2022.
This contract follows Bidhive’s prior appointment as a supplier on the G-Cloud 12 network, where it gained contracts with public sector suppliers including a National Health Service (NHS) foundation trust.
Replacing G-Cloud 12, G-Cloud 13 builds on its predicessor’s framework, providing the public sector with the latest cloud technologies and innovations while meeting the stringent standards and criteria set out by the Crown Commercial Service.

Bidhive’s CEO Nyree McKenzie said the inclusion on the framework highlights the importance of making the bidding process more efficient for market participants to reduce the cost of winning work, while lowering barriers to competition.
“Inefficient processes continue to impact value for money outcomes achieved by governments when competition is stifled and costs need to be recouped through price premiums,” she said.
“These factors directly impact decision-making and the overall timeframe taken to complete the procurement process”.
McKenzie said while open procurement has opened up opportunities for suppliers to bid for service provision to the public sector, it also represents a significant risk to incumbent suppliers who could lose a bid to other independent public bodies and third sector providers.
“Bidhive helps suppliers to better identify opportunities and risks on the horizon so they can give careful consideration to whether a commercial tendering opportunity should be pursued. Adding to this is access to market and business intelligence as well as collaboration tools that help them deliver higher quality, more financially viable tender submissions.”
Bidhive can be found in Lot 2, Cloud Software (SaaS).
About Bidhive
Bidhive is an end-to-end bid management solution that accelerates the bidding process by helping suppliers plan, manage and track their contract bidding all in one place. Simple-to-use and aligned to best practice standards for bidding and tendering, Bidhive delivers methodologies and tools to provide the structure, governance and analytics that organisations need to improve efficiencies, lower costs and increase winning performance. Every day, major national and global brands trust the Bidhive platform to support centralised and distributed bid teams to manage complex bidding at scale. For more information visit www.bidhive.com
About Crown Commercial Service
Crown Commercial Service (CCS), is the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK and serves to supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2021/22, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits equal to £2.8 billion – supporting world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.

 

What makes a good Bid Manager?

Originally published Dec 10, 2018. Updated Dec 2, 2022
Planning a bid to bring everyone together in a very short deadline is one of the biggest challenges facing Bid Managers today.  Good Bid Managers are, in fact, VERY STRATEGIC CAT HERDERS.
Bringing technical, commercial, sales, legal and business experts, managers and senior level executives together for input, comments, review or approval takes time, patience, and a lot of chasing (and herding), particularly when time zones, different communication preferences and competing priorities that come into play during a ‘must win’ bid.
Typically, expertise required across a bid team is scattered across the organisation, whether it be in different departments, business lines, or in networked consortia in different locations (perhaps even in different countries).
Bid management vs project management
Bid management and project management are closely intertwined –  it has to be done on time, and to cost and quality. But project management alone is not enough to win business over your competition. The fundamental difference between bid management and project management is usually one of time, budget and resources.
A Bid Manager juggles many tasks. They not only run the bid as a project but they might also wear multiple hats (if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated Capture Manager).  Bidding can cost up to 2% of a contract’s value so qualifying those bids to ensure the best chance of winning is the key to profitability.
A Bid Manager might be responsible for defining the win strategy and win themes, ensuring everyone is meeting all of the customer requirements, and they may also play a vital role in the writing of a persuasive submission that is compliant, compelling, and which is easy to evaluate to justify the contract decision.
Beyond preparing the offer, Bid Managers are often required to negotiate and close out the bid phase, gather post-bid feedback, and ensure the smooth transition of the bid to contract implementation if awarded.
From spreadsheets and email trail to cross-functional deal rooms
Often, Bid Managers have to be quite resourceful given their constraints of working in a fast-paced, lean and collaborative environment. Up until now, they have had to rely on a patchwork of tools to manage their roles – from spreadsheets to emails, and shared file repositories.
More than ever, collaboration needs greater two-way interaction, without the clutter. This is the especially the case when a Bid Manager is managing an opportunity where subject matter experts and sales teams are involved, and where compliance with requirements and deadlines can make or break the deal.
Strategic insight and efficient processes
To prepare a truly competitive response, Bid Managers need to extract as much insight and value as they can from a multitude of stakeholders – from gaining deeper insight and understanding of what the customer is seeking to achieve, to who will be evaluating the bid, and what their key drivers or ‘hot buttons’ are. They might be responsible for leading the development of key themes, and facilitating workshops to identify major differentiators and coming up with discriminators (the killer edge) over other bidders.
Adding to their juggle is the fact that Bid Managers are often faced with a balancing act to ensure customer requirements are being met within the contraints of internal capabilities and the politics of their organisation. By implementing systems that reduce the administrative complexity of the process, Bid Managers can focus more of their time on helping to qualify the opportunity, sharing intelligence across the team and keeping progress visible  to improve efficiencies, lower costs and increase winning performance.
For organisations where bidding plays a large part of winning and retaining contracts, Bidhive helps bid teams to become more proficient cat herders – from managing the opportunity pipeline, to allocating tasks, setting milestones and building on the success of previous bids. By using Bidhive’s all-in-one Content Library, Bid Builder, Bid Tracker and Task Management modules organisations can also optimise bid team resources, wherever they are located.

How to win a government contract

Doing business with government. Where to begin?
Government contracts offer businesses a lucrative opportunity, but there’s a lot to learn about how to win a bid through the tender process. For many small to medium sized businesses this process is perceived as being too complex and cumbersome. Unfortunately, this ”overwhelm” is a major deterrent for businesses to navigate, and they either try and fail (and never try again), or they never try at all.
Am I too small to tender?
A lot of businesses falsely assume that they are too small to do business with government. This is no longer true. In fact, governments now recognise that small businesses fuel the economy, and new initiatives to encourage participation are now in place in many countries.  These initiatives include:

Committing to sourcing a percentage of all procurement contracts from small to medium enterprises (SMEs)
Exemptions to go to public tender for lower value contracts, allowing direct engagement (providing value for money can be demonstrated)
Smaller contract sizes or work packages to reduce project risk
Shorter payment terms and on-time payment policies.

Smaller businesses can often compete on better margins and this puts them in an advantageous position to achieve the best value for money to government.
Where to find government business opportunities for your business
Every year, the government advertises thousands of business opportunities for the supply of goods and services through open tender.  These opportunities are advertised through website portals which can be freely accessed directly from the government website, or if you want to save time you can also use a third party vendor that scrapes public advertisement data from multiple sites and makes it available for a subscription fee. Bidhive makes this data freely available for Australian and UK tenders, along with aggregated buyer, supplier and contract award data which can be useful for market intelligence.
You can find opportunities that closely match your business via these portals. They will contain all the documentation you need to read and complete, along with the timeline of dates for the competition (such as deadline for submission of questions, due date, evaluation period, decision timing and contract period).
What are the steps involved in the tender process?
Seasoned bidders know it is wise to invest in making sure you win one good tender rather than spread yourself thin on tendering for many opportunities and losing them all. Taking the time to understand the customer and building a relationship wtih them before the tender request is issued will give you a competitive advantage because once the tender request is issued, tender rules preclude you from meeting or speaking one on one with the customer.
Once a tender has been issued, the time between the advertising period and the tender closing date is often very tight (for example 3 to 4 weeks).
Doing business with government: Steps in a typical open tender process
Behind the scenes, however, there are many steps you need to follow as a bidder that can streamline your internal processes while improving your win rate.  The more time spent on pre-bid activities has been proven to increase the chances of success compared to waiting until the opportunity has been advertised, leaving little time to gather quality information, write the responses and ensuring everything is compliant while meeting the non-negotiable deadline.
Most mature bidding organisations have a pre-defined set of activities and steps they perform before they bid such as:

Monitoring the market for trends and similar opportunities
Documenting contract expiry dates ahead of a re-bid
Researching buyer behaviour  and creating buyer profiles
Preparing boilerplate content and setting up a centralised bid content library
Developing a bid/no bid decision criteria to minimise bias
Monitoring resource capacity and task assignments
Analysing win/loss outcomes.

How do you know if your company is ready to do business with government?
To become a tender-ready business, you firstly need to qualify as a potential provider.   As a baseline, you’ll need to have a legal trading entity and provide a registration number, insurance and possibly banking details. There may also be exclusion criteria so you need to read all of the documentation first to ensure you can meet the mandatory requirements.
Probity, fairness and value for money
Bids submitted through the tender process are evaluated based on probity, fairness and value for money. Probity in the procurement process includes:
Meeting the technical and quality (non-price) criteria
Technical and quality-related criteria are defined based on the specifications provided in the solicitation documents. In the case of procurement of goods, technical criteria might consist of the minimum functional or technical requirements that must be met. In the case of services, the criteria might include qualifications and experience required, provider availability, physical presence, specific technical approach, past performance on similar contracts, and so on.
Technical criteria must be defined clearly and in such a way that proposals can be evaluated for their adherence (or failure to adhere) to the requirements. In the case of a tender for services, technical and other non-price criteria can be scored with points to determine the offer with the highest value for money to the buyer.
Meeting the financial (price) criteria
The financial criteria in a tender establishes the basis on which offers will be reviewed. It must be clear to suppliers what factors must be included in their offer (such as travel costs, maintenance or licenses) and the extent to which these must be provided in detail.
The ratio between technical and financial factors may differ from one tender to another. The right balance between the different evaluations criteria must be established before the tender is issued, and that balance must be stated expressly in the tender documents (for example 30% weighted on price versus 70% weighted on non-price criteria).
Taking the step
Submitting a bid is only one part of the larger puzzle when trying to win government contracts. You need to have a solid understanding of the process, what agencies are looking for and be able to answer any questions that come your way. If you’re not confident in your company’s ability to do all of this, consider partnering with a bid consultancy or start with sub-contracting to organisations that have experience bidding on government contracts. They can help you to learn the process and mature your approach to win more bids, in less time.

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