The session, dubbed “Changing Relationships: Gov 2.0, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs” was comprised of 4 expert panelists being:
Clay Johnson – Presidential Innovation Fellow
Jed Wood – Presidential Innovation Fellow
Adam Brecker – Presidential Innovation Fellow
Rick Stout – Senior Director at Westat
The BIG PROBLEM with the process with procurement of IT related products and services in gov is that the process is not sustainable. As the world of software and IT solutions exponentially quickens and gov’s procurement process stagnantes, our government’s tech will become obsolete more and more quickly unless we change the pace we obtain it.
RFP-EZ is addressing 2 Questions:
How gov buys tech from small biz.
How small biz can sell to gov.
The main premise behind RFP-EZ:
“Platform that makes it easier for small businesses to navigate the federal government, and enables agencies to quickly source low-cost, high-impact information technology solutions.” (Whitehouse.gov)
(Currently, all of the RFP-EZ software is in Beta, but they are building a pool of transactions to model when they launch).
The low down:
RFP-EZ has automated the Statement of Work (SOW) process. It “templatizes” the language that can be repetitive and dense. The software will fill in repetitive phrases that come along with procurement contracts. Now, small businesses can use RFP-EZ to get their hands on their own contracts. The contracts are limited to services falling under $150,000.
When a small biz wants to get involved they will need to create a member profile, of which will include:
What do you do?
Ballpark price. The fellows wanted to stress that though it may be hard for small businesses to exactly predict costs before taking on a larger project, careful not to underprice your work.
On the agency side you can pick from a range of services, e.g. Build Mobile App, API, Site Design. Another great part of the software is that there will be a 2 column portion of the allows for a SOW and a Q/A portion, AND other agencies can cross check their needs with an internal commenting system. The automating of arduous and repetitive jargon, will allow contract officers to stop copy-editing, and allow time for market research and price negotiating. A lot of the issues that RFP-EZ is addressing have been a long time coming. Clay Johnson stated “We aren’t picking low hanging fruit. We are stumbling across apples on the ground.” Not to mention the procurement process is costing the average taxpayer a small fortune. These transactions suck up resources and so the small businesses are dis-incentivized as is the gov. It’s going to take time and incentives to change the process, but EZ does it, we’ll get there.