Agile Procurement

In May 2020, Shared Services Canada (SSC) and TECHNATION agreed to collaborate on an Agile procurement pilot involving SSC’s Agile Procurement Process 3.0 (APP3.0) and Canada’s Digital Marketplace with the collective goal of increasing the participation of Canadian technology companies in SSC procurements, especially Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Objective

The objective of the collaboration between SSC and TECHNATION was to see if the combination of the digital marketplace and the simplified submission process under SSC’s APP3.0 could improve Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) awareness, education and opportunity to access SSC’s procurements.

Anticipated Benefits

Expected benefits of the collaboration included:

  • Improved outreach: The Digital Marketplace enables greater outreach with SMEs that could potentially have the required capacity to perform in accordance with the requirements of the resulting contract.
  • Simplified submission process: APP3.0 offers a less administratively burdensome process for Bidders to participate in the solicitation process.
  • SME’s improved awareness and access to demonstrations and prototype activities: APP3.0 is designed to improve SMEs’ access to demonstrations and prototypes.
  • Provide the Government of Canada with greater visibility into the rapidly evolving technology solutions available in the marketplace.

Progress to Date

By April 2021 we had completed five (5) solicitations, one of which includes three joint ventures between big businesses and SMEs who had progressed to the prototype stage. All contracts awarded to date have involved a SME.

Through our digital marketplace, TECHNATION was able to mobilize vendors to participate in the SSC agile procurement pilots in a timely manner.  We also engaged our digital marketplace members to obtain their feedback so SSC could adjust the procurement process as needed.

Together, a new and trusted approach to government engaging vendors emerged, called the True Collaboration Process.  This vendor engagement process has been instrumental to the success of Agile procurement process 3.0.

Referring back to the anticipated benefits of the collaboration, it is clear that it has improved outreach through the digital marketplace, there is increased access for SMEs, and it has provided greater visibility for the Government of Canada into innovative tech solutions. Access to the digital marketplace and the support of TECHNATION has been instrumental to bringing the right industry providers to the table at the outset of the SSC procurement process.

Why Agile Procurement Matters

So why is this agile procurement pilot so important to TECHNATION, its members, and the technology industry at large? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Supporting challenge-based procurement and a collaborative approach ensures the tech industry and government talk with each other to find solutions to today’s public sector challenges
  • It encourages technology innovators of all sizes and types to participate in government solicitations at the federal, provincial, and municipal government level
  • It enables greater outreach, access, and participation with SMEs in the procurement process
  • Leveraging a real-time and rapidly growing marketplace introduces government to homegrown innovative tech solutions

It provides open-source procurement from a larger pool of candidate companies, enabling a wider range of companies by size, region and area of specialization.

“The importance of having allyship and sponsorship to help amplify the voice of diverse business owners in a domain as large as the federal government is essential to even get in the room with potential buyers that don’t need to use a procurement platform.”

— Founder and Senior PM, smartgig IT

What’s Next

We are working with SSC on additional APP3.0 pilot solicitations in to Fall 2021. In the upcoming months, SSC will be piloting the Challenge Based Standing Offer model.   To enable the agile procurement to become the “new normal”, SSC needs to create variations of the model that could be leveraged for requirements of all sizes and level of complexity. SSC will also begin training contracting officers in agile procurement.

TECHNATION will also host roundtable discussions together with SSC and Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) on Agile procurement starting in fall 2021. The goal is to ensure we have a government approach to ‘agile procurement’, not an agency / department approach. Members will be invited to participate. More details to follow.

Finally, through TECHNATION’s introduction of APP3.0 to the City of Toronto, the city is now in discussion with Shared Services Canada to deploy APP3.0 as a best practise in their procurement process.

For more information contact Michele Lajeunesse, Senior Vice President, Government Relations and Policy (mlajeunesse@technationcanada.ca)

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