Checking for Incumbents
Not sure whether to bid for a particular opportunity?
Some good up front research can save you from wasting time and money on a bid that can’t win.
Checking to see if there is an incumbent is a vital first step.
An incumbent is a firm that is already delivering that contract, or perhaps type of service for the customer in question.
Incumbents often have a big advantage as they know the customer, what the work is and why things might be difficult to deliver.
Critically if they are delivering an ongoing service, it might create risk or cost to handover that service to a new supplier.
In some cases the customer might be very keen to keep their current supplier, but have been forced to run a competition to comply with Government procurement requirements. If that’s the case they’ll have a massive advantage.
To beat an incumbent you’ll need a clear strategy to win, and sometimes you’ll be better off not bothering and bidding for something else!
So, how do you find out?
Contract Finder Pro offers a few tools to help you.
1) Checking if there is an ongoing service:
In the award below to Capita Business Services, we can see that they are providing ongoing IT services for Buckinghamshire Council.
When the tender for the next 5 years comes up, Capita will be incumbent and will have an advantage.
In this case they are supporting Capita provided education software so probably have a huge advantage if that tender comes up.
2) Established with a buyer:
Sometimes buyers develop deep relationships with suppliers for certain services.
In this example below you can see that CapGemini have won 9 contracts with Public Health Scotland in the past 12 months.
Given the relatively small size of Public Health Scotland that represents a significant fraction of their total awards, which suggests a close relationship.
In any future IT procurement it is very possible that Capgemini will know about it a long way in advance, or might have influenced the customer when the procurement was designed.
They could easily have a big advantage.
While the incumbent will often have big advantages, remember they do not always win and are not unbeatable – sometimes they are doing a bad job and the customer wants to change suppliers!
Good research means you’ll know what you’re up against and don’t waste your money on a lost cause.