COVID-19 required agencies to buy goods and services fast. Traditional solicitations were replaced with direct and “excepted” purchases to ensure the mission could go on with minimal interruption. But as we settle into the “new normal”, agencies are now assessing ways to sustain digital services and support a remote workforce long term.
As a result, you can expect to see the number of competed RFPs start to rise again – and the overall number of solicitations start to tick back up as “general IT purchasing” resumes to facilitate system, service and workforce modernization efforts. This will especially be true if the State and Local IT Modernization and Cybersecurity Act that was just introduced comes to fruition. As reported by GovTech, this new bill will “create three new federal grant programs that funnel billions of dollars in funding to help governments replace old legacy systems and move them to cloud-based systems.” One can assume that hardware, software and service procurements will be re-prioritized quite quickly once that money becomes available. State and local governments don’t have a minute to spare when it comes to upgrading and securing their systems.
That being said, we don’t think that IT will be the only category for which demand will increase in the coming months. There are a lot of programs, projects and services that are getting the green light to resume right now, and many will require new solicitations or re-solicitations depending on vendor/contractor availability.
What does that mean for you?
We’re going to sound like a broken record here, but it is imperative that you start paying attention to the new solicitations posted every day. Login to your Periscope S2G account (or create one for free now) to ensure your profile is setup correctly to find opportunities aligned with your area of expertise. You should also make sure your catalog is easily searchable by state, local and education (SLED) agencies, especially if you don’t have a pre-negotiated contract in place.
Just because things are “normalizing” doesn’t mean they are slowing down. The proposal windows for many competitive RFPs and bids are still much shorter than they were before COVID-19 due to the pressure to catch up. In fact, many IT procurements are being executed using agile methods. Don’t linger in getting your business back in order.
Have resources ready to go so that you can submit proposals as soon as opportunities arise and get to work if you are awarded a contract or you receive a purchase order (assuming you have a pre-negotiated contract in place).
One more reminder: do your market research (and do it often)! Things are changing fast and, as the GovTech team said in a newsletter this week, it is critical to have “a robust statewide, local and cooperative contracting strategy in place.” You need to “align yourself to mission-critical areas,” which is something we’ve spoken about extensively here on the blog in the past. As some projects “find themselves on the chopping block,” others will emerge. Check out these blog posts if you missed them: