The ineficient market of public procurement
So think of this ecosystem. Vendors (selling things). Public entities (buying things). And bid management platforms (introducing them to each other).
Now, what does each party want? Vendors want access to the maximum number of RFP, with the simplest search engine. This allows them to find the opportunities they are best at solving, providing the best solution for the lowest price.
What deos the public entity want? They want to get their RFP in front of the maximum number of vendors, ensuring they have as much competition as possible. This would yield the lowest cost best solution.
Now enter the huge variety of bid management platforms. There are many many of these. Each has a stranglehold on a small part of the market. As a vendor I am forced to pay a fee to access each, and, use its terrible search engine. This maximises my work, and minimises my chance of finding a bid I am good at. This lowers the compeition.
In who’s interest are these platforms? No one’s but the platform owners. This should be a widely-available, freely accessible, federated resource. Yes you need to manage the process (ensure all bids are fair, no inside info, etc). But, do we really need this to be a large number of small forked ecosystems?
I’ve been forced to buy memberships to 6 procurement platforms, but, I draw the line at the one shown below. It only works if you install Adobe Flash. Yes, that thing, the one that went end of life a decade ago. The thing that proved impossible to secure and they threw in the towel. Here’s the link if you don’t believe me https://www.planetbids.com/portal/portal.cfm?CompanyID=14593 that is the entire web site you see in the image below.
Maybe what is needed is a standard like RSS, the public entities publish in a broadcast medium, any compliant platform can pick it up and solicit bids. That way the platforms would compete on ease of use, search capabilities.
But for sure this ineficient market is not doing any good for the world. It makes public entities pay more, and efficiency less for the vendors.