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For finding business opportunities - Develop a process. Don't overthink it. [CVOBlog]

Sunday, May 22, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: CVOBlog (www.chiefvisionaryblog.com)
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Opportunity-related information for government agency requirements is readily available if you know what you are looking for. While sorting through the mountains of data is not as hard as it appears, it is definitely not as easy as you would like it to be.

Compared to when I entered the government contracting community, the flow of relevant and useful information to support go/no-go decisions for business opportunities is seemingly delivered by fire hose (valve wide open, mind you!) versus the trickling garden hose I seem to remember. While some of the difficulty in getting information back then was due to my inexperience, much of it was related to the lack of availability and the speed at which information could be delivered during that period.

In the mid to late 80's, web at the desktop was mostly a novelty and even if you had it, there was not much to see from a government contracting perspective. As an example, the information available on what is now FedBizOpps (www.fbo.gov) was delivered daily by postal mail or fax through Commerce Business Daily. Registering to do business with an agency required you to complete the solicitation mailing list request which was eventually replaced by the Central Contractor Registration database.

Similar to the U.S. Government's renewed emphasis on Open Source Intelligence or OSINT (information collected from publicly available sources such as websites, conferences, media, etc.) in the late 80's, the evolution of industry competitive intelligence changed dramatically as a result of the new information pipelines created by the Internet such as the government's e-procurement initiatives. Information previously with a limited and very slow propagation is now pushed to the masses in real-time or near real-time.

The challenge? Trying to sip from this information-based fire hose without getting your head blown off in the process.

Companies of all sizes and types are challenged to efficiently acquire useful information, gain some context to determine its value, and then understand what action to take as a result of that valuation. While the increased availability of useful information will not replace the need for relationships or relevant experience, it may help companies in determining what relationships and past performance are most important without having actual "in the building" experience. Much of the information companies need for at least initial decision-making can be obtained through public sources.

The plethora of free and low-cost tools available on the web, makes collecting information relatively easy and inexpensive which includes the human capital required to participate in the process. The tough part is buckling down and coming up with a process to identify what information should be collected and from where, and how to use the information. This is where every company must determine the posture of their corporate intelligence agency.

Want more? Stay tuned.

- The Chief Visionary

The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.


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