BC Procurement Strategy
One of the concerns that tech companies often raise with all three levels of government is that when it comes to sourcing software to support government services, why not shop at home? Government is, of course, one of the largest buyers of good and services in the country.
The BC government recently launched a new procurement strategy. Their stated goal, according to Minster of Citizen Services Jinny Sims, is to “modernize government procurement and use it to grow local economies, create local jobs, and take advantage of made in BC innovation.”
At a BC Council of Senior Executive Roundtable on February 7, Minister Sims presented the new strategy. The B.C. government spends over $7B a year – and that is just core government. She was aware of criticisms that the bid process was hugely time-consuming, not transparent and there was a perception of favouritism. In efforts to modernize procurement, Minister Sims said she was working to remove barriers so people could interface with government in an open and accessible way while also creating social, environmental, and economic benefits. The procurement strategy includes what she referred to as a “social lens”. The BC Bid replacement project modernizes a 20-year-old system and will be searchable by regional and topic-specific searches. This is due to be completed in 2020.
She also described the new concierge program where vendors will have support to assist in navigating the system. Furthermore, in the future, problem statements will be posted online and vendors must come up with the solution. According to Sims, this is designed to invite innovation. Historically, it has been the same bid process whether the bid was for a $50,000 or $5M project. With the new changes, Minster Sims says they are doing “right sizing” and will have different processes for different levels. The Minster also spoke about the digital railroad. Similar to how the railroad opened up Canada to immigration and development, so too will having connectivity throughout the province. “One cannot have a digital government without a digital railroad,” says Sims. The Minster left her presentation with the message "your government is open for business”.
Is this an opportunity for your software?