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.
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.
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
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.
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
Want more? Stay tuned.
- The Chief Visionary
The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.