Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Lotus RFQ that reads like 1990...but from 2010

While reviewing an RFQ for a Lotus development project a number of things struck me and I posted to Twitter some of the details.

Suffice it to say it is for a government agency that is in a state which has huge cutbacks from lack of taxes collected and budgetary issues.

They state quite well:
The organization has several distinct existing IBM Lotus Notes client‐based applications/databases that are used

So we know they use it and understand how they are using it.

The RFQ opens with this statement:
Each of these additional functions requires the use of databases that are currently maintained and modified by internal information technology staff on an IBM Lotus Notes platform. Due to competing priorities, these databases have not been modified to the extent that would provide the most efficient and
effective performance.

We have seen this line of thought before from many customers. The economy, the Cloud, the iPhones, whatever the reason eventually every company sits down and says we must update our applications.

Good for them, they are ready to move forward.

Reading further down you find the requirements for the roles and expectations of knowledge, etc. when you suddenly find yourself at the submission section which states:

Respondent must provide the following information in a hardback 3 ring binder with tabs as shown below that demonstrates the respondent’s ability to provide the services requested. Six (6) copies are required to be

What?! 3 ring binders and 6 copies? None of them digital even?

I have no idea what apps this government office uses but honestly they have the ability to use a simple mail-in database which could house all the submissions and using a mail rule or an agent copy it to who and wherever it needs to reach.

But no. What would take maybe an hour of time for someone, anyone, to setup and test and then leverage for oh I don't know the 100's if not 1,000's of RFI/RFP/RFQ a year seems just way too much advanced knowledge?

Is it any wonder anything gets done in this country sometimes?

Imagine we file all of these submissions, send it up via USPS mail or Fedex and the docs get soaked, or burnt in an accident.

Is this really how governments still work? Imagine the space required to store all of these binders, bookcases, archives, rent on warehouses probably. And the government could care less evidently because it's not something important like say education, healthcare or welfare.

If governments would use the tools they already own to their advantage they could easily save 10 if not 100 times the amount of money it is costing them now to do nothing and keep wasting money.

All this talk about e-gov and it's all fluff?

Also it dictates that "Prices submitted shall be at or below caps". Even with the reference to a previous contract it is a dizzying array of values.

All that said I await the updates on this RFQ as any questions will be replied to in one large document before deciding if we will submit for it. Usually we stay out of these things but sometimes the want to help our government and be patriotic as well wins out.