Anatomy Of An RFI: Examining The Official NIGP Consulting RFI Document by Jon Hansen

Posted on April 26, 2015


. . . an RFI is often used as a solicitation sent to a broad base of potential suppliers for the purpose of conditioning suppliers’ minds, developing strategy, building a database, and preparing for an RFP, RFT, or RFQ. – Wikipedia

Okay fellow procurement professionals . . . am I missing something here, or is there something seriously wrong with the following RFI.

As an organization that is responsible for the training of procurement professionals in the public sector, the above RFI is hardly a reflection of the way the process should work.

Or let me put it to you this way, would you put out an RFI like this?  It makes one wonder what the people at the NIGP are actually teaching in their classrooms?

As I have already pointed out in my previous two posts Was The NIGP Competitive RFI For Their Consulting Arm Really Competitive? and NIGP Consulting RFI: A Case Of Too Close For Comfort?, the irregularities of the NIGP Consulting RFI process and the sense that something is amiss, is palpable.

While I will let you contemplate the problems of the NIGP stipulating an incredibly short time between a Vendor receiving the notice of the RFI, and the deadline for submitting a response or, the apparent contradiction between the Statement of Purpose and Point 1 under the Rules for this RFI section, I cannot help but think there is more to this story than simply not practicing what you preach?

Especially when you consider the fact that Periscope – whom the NIGP Consultancy Program Assessment Task Force recommended, was not what you would consider to be a consulting company.  Of course, with two of the six responding companies nowhere to be found, and a third being a Canadian firm offering little more than an acknowledgement of receiving and responding to an RFI, Periscope would likely stand out from such a disheveled pack.

If you really think about it, why would the NIGP who, in the RFI, indicated that they remain “committed to providing consulting service to its member organizations,” fail to bring in real consulting firms, as opposed to a couple of eProcurement solution vendors and a ragtag group of also rans?

Understanding becomes that much more elusive when you visit the NIGP Consulting Services webpage.

As you will see, there is very little indication that Periscope has done anything of any note since being selected by the blue ribbon panel.  In fact other than a February 27th, 2014 post on the Periscope Holdings Inc. News/Resources page announcing that Jean Clark – the former Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Arizona – had been hired as Director of Procurement Transformation Services, one might believe that the consulting arm has been operating in stealth mode.

There are no resumes of the consulting team – not even names.  Nor are there any references to clients.  There is a brief text providing an overview of some sort of consulting team, but the description is somewhat similar to what was referenced in the original RFI.

Once again, one has to ask why . . . why was Periscope selected?


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