Have you ever read something online or in a newspaper and instantly flinched? A word or phrase that just jars?
Me, it’s the phrase “government bureaucrats”. Not only is it a cliché but I just think that the negative connotations it inspires are both inaccurate and insulting to the hundreds of thousands of people who work across the public sector every single day of the year.
The good in government
Government “bureaucrats” keep our streets safe and our communities protected. Government “bureaucrats” care for the sick in our hospitals and teach our kids in schools. Government “bureaucrats” oversee the vaccine roll out. Government bureaucrats ensure that the most vulnerable in society receive their welfare support. I could go on.
But it’s not just about the people who work in government. Government itself often gets an unfair rep. I’m not talking party politics – governments of different political stripe have had their share of successes and failures – but many seemingly see the public sector as this vast monolithic structure, by turns inefficient and unwieldy, especially when contrasted to the more dynamic and nimble private sector.
In actual fact, the public sector has frequently been the source of life-enhancing achievements. GPS, touch screen phones and Google’s search algorithm, not to mention the internet itself, all stem from government research. And there’s government’s sheer economic reach and strength. Take its spending on the UK’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), for example.
The latest procurement figures for 2019/20 show that across government, £15.5 billion was paid to SMEs to help deliver vital public services, an increase of £1.3 billion on the previous year and the highest since records began in 2013. And while the pandemic’s economic consequences continue to play out, public sector opportunities have thankfully remained plentiful, with over 1,500 of open tenders worth more than £928 billion issued by the UK and Republic of Ireland governments within the last 12 months.
Of course, such opportunities vary in size from the smallest to the largest, but competition is fierce – if anything fiercer than before Covid and likely to remain so. While who you know is still important in any procurement, the process is becoming ever more digital, with more tenders moving online and industry open days and other one-to-one interactions becoming an ever more digital experience.
The sheer scale of this conversion to all things digital means that now, more than ever, businesses need to industrialise their business winning processes. This will enable them to reap digital dividends, such as using technology to streamline procedures and increase their own efficiency, and in the process save their precious time to do the things that cannot be streamlined – such as the human interaction that can often secure the golden nugget of information that secures the win.
An online treasure trove of information is now available, on both the market and on new opportunities that organisations would wish to bid for. Using data feeds, market trackers (like my very own Contract Finder Pro, for example) and integrating both outsourced (like bid writers and legal teams) and insourced components and services, the business winning process can become increasingly automated and slick.
Since there is never quite enough time to write a bid, those organisations that can automate the process most effectively and take advantage of the digital opportunity at hand will be more competitive than those that don’t. Their reward will be larger market shares and the promise of even more competitive advantage still to come.
Dealing out a discount
To help you on your online business development journey, I am delighted to announce that NBV clients are now able to secure a 10% discount to Contract Finder Pro’s suite of services. Our website identifies public sector contract opportunities; keeps you up to date with the latest tenders; delivers tailored public sector market analysis and searches all UK tender portals – so you don’t have to. Simply enter your search term and we’ll give you a list of all open tenders that match.
The future really is digital – it’s time to seize these new opportunities. Just click here to secure your NBV discount.
About the author
Sandy Boxall is founder and Managing Director of Contract Finder Pro
Interested in public sector procurement? Contract Finder Pro can help. Identify contract opportunities; stay up to date with the latest tenders and receive tailored public sector market analysis – all at a 10% discount for NBV clients!