I recently worked on a proposal that required – not an executive summary – but an introduction that called out the vendor’s differentiators. Perhaps one of the hardest aspects of our industry is coming up with real differentiators to cite in our proposals. In his book, “Collapse of Distinction. Stand out and move up while your competition fails”, Scott McKain suggests we spend too much time trying to duplicate and outdo our competitors. When we compete rather than emerge as a differentiated leader in our field, we are driven by the competition and not by the customer. McKain says that to have an advantage, we must pay more attention to what the customer wants than to what the competition is doing. Has this happened in your organization? The competition creates a point of distinction, so you duplicate it and try to do it even better. Each competitor introduces incremental changes … Continue reading Strategic differentiation with a customer focus
After the Department of Homeland Security cancelled the $1.5 billion Flexible Agile Support for the Homeland (FLASH) procurement May 26, the vendor community was irritated, and rightfully so. This Small Business (SB) set-aside, procured through the DHS Procurement Innovation Lab (PIL), required time, money, and expertise to undertake a technical challenge. Bidders had to demonstrate specialized skills in the incremental Agile software development methodology with rapid prototyping and better user interfaces. Numerous protests and a cancelled procurement After 111 companies applied for a spot on this IDIQ through a process that included limited written proposals, a three-minute initial video, and a four-hour live technology demonstration, DHS made 11 awards that were quickly the subject of 35 separate protests by 10 bidders. Protests centered around numerous mistakes made in the evaluation process. When DHS subsequently cancelled the procurement after six months, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) dismissed the protests. Industry outcry … Continue reading DHS FLASH 2.0: Should you invest in this procurement?