RFP Cancelled

Back in December and early January we spent a lot of effort responding to an RFP to do BPR in conjunction with the roll-out of an electronic document management system. On Friday, we received word that the RFP had been cancelled.

|-| :'(

This is even more disappointing than when the low bid wins, even if the proposal isn't viable. A lot of effort by a lot of people in a lot of companies, for no result. Sometimes, heavy drinking looks like a good idea. :)

But instead, we spent the weekend with a new puppy, ok, not a REAL puppy, a new RFP on which we've been working.

Wish us luck.

RFP Analysis

We're responding to a RFP for a strategic assessment of using RFID in a library environment. This is right in our bailiwick and we're very excited by the opportunity.

I've written before about responding to a RFP, and how the time lag between preparing the RFP and releasing it can affect the actual work to be done.

Here, and possibly over the next few days, I want to write more about how we respond to a RFP, and the proposal process.

The first thing that we do, is review the RFP, and discuss it informally; we may even include one or more of our partners in the discussion, as appropriate. During this first review, we start listing questions that we might ask of the contracting officer. The result is to determine if we are interested, or not; if the customer fits into our portfolio; if we have the time and resources to do an excellent job on both the proposal and the contract; if a budget is cited, does it seem realistic; and then if we need to involve a partner firm, and if they're interested.

Now we start going into a detailed analysis of the RFP and any related specifications or background information. Borrowing from our own strategic assessments, we do a verification and validation matrix coupled with a SWOT. Each defined requirement about the Scope or Statement of Work, Consultancy background, references & experiences, proposal layout, any technical specifications and any details on the business or IT environment are summarized, and matched against our historical or potential responses to similar requirements. For each requirement, we also look at how it plays to our strengths or against our weaknesses, as well as what opportunity the requirement opens up for us and what competitive threat or inherent risk it may pose.

This helps us to firm up questions that we might ask, as well as solidify our approach in the proposal.

The next step is adjusting our templates to the required layout and starting to write. But more on that as we go along.

Valentine's Day

Whether one is alone or with loved ones, I thought I'd share a quote I learned way back in High School :)

Happy Valentine's Day to all!

"Love watcheth and sleeping slumber not
When weary it is not tired
When frightened it is not disturbed
When straightened it is not constrained
But like a vivid flame and a burning torch
it mounteth ever upwards
and securely passeth through all
Whosoever loveth knoweth the cry of this voice"

Thomas Kempis, The Imitation of Christ

Better Customer Support

I've made other posts about the downward spiral in Customer Support, whether through outsourcing, downsizing or other cost cutting measures.

Here, I would like to talk about responsive Customer Support. We use ServerBeach to host our machines. They are an "unmanaged" hosting facility. That is, they take care of the network and hardware, we take care of the software, system administration and database administration tasks. Much as in any IT shop, separating data center operations from SA, DBA, Application Engineering & SME work. There is a grey area though, with the OS. We subscribe to RedHat Linux ES3 through ServerBeach. Some things they handle, some things we handle, and it often isn't clear which is which.

We recently needed another module added to the kernel. Through some miscommunication, it wasn't apparent if this module was simply an update (SB would do) or required a custom kernel build (SB would do for cash or we could do it). This wasn't an emergency nor did it bring down the server. It will allow us to add services to our planned TeleInterActive Networks service.

The back and forth trough the ticketing system got to Chris. Chris has handled our tickets in the past as well. Whenever the ticket gets to Chris, he sticks with it, and the issue gets resolved to our satisfaction.

We want to publicly thank Chris for his good work on our behalf.

Weakening Economy

I keep seeing signs that the economy is getting worse.

  1. Acquaintances and friends who were caught up in a RIF, or in a series of RIFs from one company after another, starting in 2001, are either still out of work or in a much lower paying job - often outside their chosen career path.
  2. Construction workers can't find jobs as their current projects finish; projects that were started in 2001 through 2004 based upon a permit process that started in 1998 or so.
  3. Restaurants and retail shops are closing, often after more than a decade of being in business.
  4. Businesses are cutting back in services or quality, whether making a joke of customer service, or restaurants using lower cost ingredients [e.g. salads that used to be all yuppie greens - baby frisee, oak leaf lettuce, arugula, etc are now iceberg lettuce with a scattering of the more expensive stuff on top].
  5. Salaries offered to those lucky enough to get a new job in their field are more suited to someone with 5 years of experience, not the 15 or more years garnered by the person being hired.

What started out as a burst bubble in the high tech industry [mainly IT or telecoms related] quickly spread to other high tech areas from physics research to pharmaceuticals and many things in between, and is now affecting all areas of the economy, in the USA and spreading to other areas of the world. This isn't just in the silicon valley, as I hear similar stories from folk in the midwest and the east coast, as well as Australia, ASEAN & EU countries.

Innovation, multiple revenue streams or product lines, and partnerships are the key to survival in such an economy, for individuals, businesses of all sizes, and even government services.

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The TeleInterActive Press is a collection of blogs by Clarise Z. Doval Santos and Joseph A. di Paolantonio, covering the Internet of Things, Data Management and Analytics, and other topics for business and pleasure. 37.540686772871 -122.516149406889



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