The beginning of an exodus from the NIGP Code? by Jon Hansen

Posted on June 25, 2015


“ is an eprocurement website that runs Riverside/Irvine California and perhaps a few others . . . 

They just announced the switch from NIGP to NAICS. Makes sense for smaller epro services like activebidder to strategically shift from NIGP after perfect commerce?” – anonymous source

In my most recent post (New NIGP Revelations: A Story of Burnt Bridges and Promises of A Day of Reckoning), I suggested that my coverage of the #CodeGate scandal to this point represents the tip of the iceberg.  My reasoning behind reaching this conclusion, is due to the type of information that is now coming in, as well as the sources from which these new insights are originating.

Based on what I am receiving now in the way of feedback, it appears that the real talking in terms of industry response to the revelations about the NIGP and how it conducts itself – in particular the Missouri bid involving Perfect Commerce – is beginning to manifest itself in a number of ways.

“I only started paying attention in December after you focused on the matter. In the moment, though, it seems like dependency on NIGP is waning . . . I wonder what other companies in public eprocurement will use as a code backbone. In light of the threat of Perfect Commerce, it would make sense from a business perspective to move away from the NIGP.” – anonymous source

To start, I believe that similar to aftershocks, the consequences of what happened in Missouri are ultimately going to reverberate by way of a likely exodus – over time – from the NIGP Code. While the shift will not occur with great fanfare, its erosive inevitability – based on what I am hearing, is hard to ignore.

Of course a Code exodus is not the only factor to consider.

Beyond demonstrating the conflict of interest relationship between the NIGP and Periscope, and its related risks relative to the stewardship of the Code, Missouri also opened the doors of awareness to other serious problems within the non-profit organization. In short, the NIGP is a muddled cocktail of what appears to be oligarchic self-serving interests that offers little value in a dramatically changing industry.

Water Buffaloes

Specifically, it appears that the NIGP’s way of doing business does not align with the values that will define our profession in the years ahead. Or as one person put it, when they think of the NIGP in the context of today’s more worldly and socially conscientious procurement professional, images of Fred Flintstone and the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes immediately come to mind. The recent accolades for NIGP CEO Rick Grimm by Donald Buffum and CIPS, does little to challenge this view. Or to put it another way, the days of backroom deals and secret handshakes are over.

In the end, and I did not fully grasp this truth until recently, the NIGP’s ultimate fate has already been decided. How it will play out over time will likely reflect the words of General Macarthur who, in a speech to Congress said, “Old soldiers never die they just fade away.”

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