While Bravo asks me to wait, the data coming in paints an interesting picture by Jon Hansen

Posted on July 11, 2015

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“We saw your article on BravoSolution’s alleged tactics in Ontario and are quite concerned. There are several factual inaccuracies both implied and stated in the article.

I understand the reporting is based on what you heard from an anonymous source.  BravoSolution would like the opportunity to respond and set the record straight before you post again.

Dan Warn, Bravo Solution’s Public Sector Vice President, has the necessary background.  Can I set up a call for you?”

Shortly after I posted the first article on the growing controversy in Ontario regarding the purported strong arm tactics employed by Bravo to influence government agencies to use their platform, I received the above e-mail from Greg Hakim. Hakim is the Account Director for Corporateink, a Boston-based PR agency.

I of course responded that I would be very interested in talking with Mr. Warn, as I want to gather as much information as possible. I heard back from Mr. Hakim, indicating that they would try to set something up for Monday. I will keep you posted.

In the interim, I spent a good deal of time reviewing the data I had received regarding both the tender activity on the Bravo platform, and the corresponding financial information.

The data was an important piece of this story’s puzzle for a number of reasons.

If the adoption rate of the Bravo platform was strong and progressing, then one would have to question the claims that they are using a heavy hand to encourage greater participation. After all, if people are using the platform with alacrity, then such a campaign would not be necessary.

If however, the rate of adoption was slow, then you would have a possible basis for Bravo to employ an aggressive strategy. After all, they didn’t spend the time and money to win the contract to receive a lukewarm reception, and a mediocre financial return on their investment.

According to the reports with which I have been provided, a grand total of 1,116 tenders have been run through the Bravo portal. Of these, 962 have come through the Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services “MGCS” – who has previously noted, were the ones that selected Bravo.

Given that MGCS runs on average 1,705 tenders, this means that through what could be considered an Ontario tender beachhead for the company, Bravo is receiving approximately 54 percent of all MGCS opportunities.

Bravo Ontario Numbers

Not bad, but not exactly overwhelming either. Especially when you consider that MGS activity represents just 1.2 percent of the total projects being tendered in Ontario.

Based on preliminary research, competing platforms such as MERX and Biddingo post on average 1,557 tenders per week. That is roughly 80,000 or more tenders/RFxs per year. The present Bravo activity is but a drop in a very large bucket.

From a financial standpoint, what does this mean?

At a rate of $300 per submission*, if Bravo is looking to generate revenue from submission fees, then a great deal of money is being left on the proverbial table.

If you consider that there are between 3 to 4 submissions for each tender (let’s go with just 3 for our example), then based on the 1,116 tenders (including the tenders from non-MGS organizations) that have been processed through the Bravo platform, this means that the vendor has generated $1,004,400 in revenue (3 bids x 1,116 tenders x $300 submission fee). Not exactly setting the world on fire.

The above dollar amount looks even worse in the context of the overall tender activity within the province; 3 bids x 80,000 tenders x $300 = $72,000,000 potential submission fee revenue.

Based on what my sources have told me, even if Bravo were to get 100 percent of MGCS tender activity, it would still be a paltry amount when you consider the big picture.

This is the reason why, I am being told, Bravo has assumed a more aggressive position in terms of trying to “stimulate” greater participation outside of the MGCS.

“Win MGS at all costs – gives us a beachhead. Uh oh, but ramp up is slow which delays our revenue from MGS + delays our adoption outside of MGS. Well, lets bully the market in the meantime… because the real prize is a lot bigger than just MGS. How can we grow quickly? Bring Deloitte, claim it’s mandated, etc….”

The above revelations could in fact represent the smoking gun by way of explaining why Bravo is so eager to to expand it’s “beachhead” beyond MGS.

Bravo Ontario Numbers GraphUnfortunately for Bravo, and as demonstrated by the above graph, they do not appear to be gaining much traction. In fact, and after the initial ramp-up from zero, adoption – although erratic, does not seem to be increasing.

Based on the feedback from a source familiar with tender activity within the Ontario government, “After 18 months of sub-par performance, adoption should be escalating not slowing down.”

Since there does not appear to be any technical issues with the Bravo platform itself, you have to wonder what is happening.

One management consulting and procurement professional who commented on LinkedIn regarding my first post, suggested the following: “If they did the selection without cross Agency consultation it would generate resistance especially if the commercials and deployment approach was not discussed and debated.”

Along with the previously cited reasons, this seems to be a reasonable assessment as to why the vendor is encountering resistance.

While I await a follow-up call from their PR firm regarding an interview with their Public Sector VP – hopefully he can shed some meaningful light on the data – one thing is becoming clear . . . from a Bravo perspective, the numbers lend further credence to the claims that all is not well in Canada’s largest (and perhaps most influential) Province.

On another note, earlier this morning I received a copy of the actual MGCS RFP that resulted in Bravo’s selection. In addition to reviewing this document in greater detail, I will also be looking into the supplier response to the $300 submission fee, to determine what impact this may be having on the slow rate of adoption.

* sources inform me that suppliers responding to a tender on the Bravo platform pay a fee of $300 per submission. This is the source of Bravo’s revenue stream.

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