Are One-on-Ones Necessary for Market Research?

As the government looks for way to save money and improve performance, the topic of adopting best practices for IT acquisitions continues to be at the forefront of the conversation. However, implementing those best practices continue to be challenging, especially in the thought process with one-on-one sessions.

When it comes to market research, the government continues to struggle to open the door to industry, thus robbing itself of improvements in the overall acquisition process. Specifically, requirements continue to be developed in a vacuum, exacerbated by poorly defined stakeholders analysis and moving forward without understanding needs.

In the commercial sector, the closer firms get to signing a contract, the more collaboration occurs. However, the opposite is true in the federal sector. Incoming contractors should be given all the information that is not proprietary to the incumbent to be successful, including budgets and prices currently paid for incumbent services.

However, some government procurement officials disagree. According to these officials, it is up to industry to respond fully and openly with responses to an RFI and during an Industry Day. Further, it is simply a matter of time versus value, as industry will simply use the opportunity in a one-on-one to strengthen their position during capture management by trying to slant government requirements in their direction.

The more government communicates with industry, the more likely the government will get quality services at realistic prices. Although it has almost become standard practice for government buyers to hold an Industry Day, it is assumed that no further communications with industry are necessary. Further, many buying offices simply will not conduct one-on-one meetings with vendors because of incorrectly assuming that favoritism and ethical issues are land mines that should be avoided at all costs.

Questions for industry and government:

  1. How do we work together to change these perceptions?
  2. Are one-on-ones worth the time and effort, from both perspectives?
  3. What other tools are available to increase collaboration?

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