Last year I wrote a series of articles on the BravoSolution implementation challenges with the Province of Ontario.
According to sources, the provider was using strong arm tactics in an effort to force Ontario public sector organizations to use their platform. As is the case with any investigative story that originates with unnamed sources, I reached out to Bravo for comment.
Bravo VP Dan Warn was kind enough to grant me an interview on my radio show, the PI Window On The World. You can listen to it through the following link; Up Close With Bravo’s Daniel Warn
This past summer I reached out to Dan once more to get an update on how the program had progressed over the previous year. Unfortunately, I did not hear back.
However, I recently received a copy of the section of the Ontario Auditor General’s report relating to the Province’s procurement practices.
While not being referenced by name, there were several sections in which the Bravo implementation was assessed.
Specifically Section 4.3 (Page 662) through to and including 4.3.2 (Page 664):
4.3 New Online Tendering System Not Widely Used
4.3.1 Concerns Raised Regarding The System’s Design
4.3.2 Suppliers Now Charged Higher Bid Fees
Also refer to 4.1.6 (Supplier Performance Not Tracked)
You can access this report, including the above referenced sections through the following link;
Needless to say, there still appears to be many challenges that are impeding the anticipated Province-wide adoption of the Bravo platform.
Once again, I reached out to Bravo VP Dan Warn for comment.
I am glad to say that this time he did get back to me, and was gracious enough to provide a response, which came in the form of the following e-mail. Note, the e-mail appears in its original form, without edits:
Commentary from Dan Warn, Vice President, Global Alliances & Americas Public Sector at BravoSolution
We support The Ontario Ministry of Government and Consumer Services 100 percent and echo their opening response on page 651.We agree with the Auditor General, who highlighted several opportunities for continued improvement. Our sole focus is customer success – and we welcome recommendations that will help improve the service and value delivered.
We work very closely with MGCS to ensure all stakeholders (including citizens and suppliers) are supported in the optimal deployment and usage of our solution. In this opening statement, MGCS specifically calls out their desire to reduce supplier burden (a guiding philosophy they’ve held continuously from before the RFP until now) by saying, “We will continue to promote electronic tendering as a way to remove barriers for suppliers while ensuring the system design meets the highest of standards and remains open, fair and transparent to all suppliers.” We wholeheartedly agree with this statement, and as the eTendering provider, closely support MGCS in achieving this objective.
MGCS deserves a lot of credit for all they have accomplished – it’s a true testament to the strength of their procurement team. Beyond e-tendering, BravoSolution continues to support them in their overall procurement delivery. One example is our recommendation to roll out a Community of Practice model – an approach that has seen great success in the UK market. This model, which has been adopted by MGCS, enhances collaboration, peer learning and best-practice sharing by creating a two-way dialog among internal procurement stakeholders. As part of this program, we partner with MCGS procurement to equip their team with trainings, best practices, tools and templates to ensure everything they need for success at their disposal.
The observation in 4.1.6 is spot on. A core component of BravoSolution’s strategy and product suite, BravoAdvantage, is the concept of understanding the entire relationship and end-to-end engagement with each supplier. Starting with spend analysis, through tendering, the resulting contract(s), and monitoring/assessing/improving performance, our Supplier Value Management capability can provide a 360-degree view of an organization’s relationship with a supplier. This information can then be used to assess a supplier’s future potential, and if desired, used to collaborate with that supplier to proactively improve performance and/or leverage that information as part of a qualification to be eligible to participate in future procurements. BravoSolution is hopeful MGCS will explore BravoAdvantage as an option to enable the efforts they’re undertaking in response to recommendation #6.
While the observations in 4.3 and 4.3.1 – that the system is not being used to its full potential by some of the Ministries within the government – are fair, system design is not the issue. Undertaking a transformational approach to e-sourcing like this is no simple task – it’s a strategic, large and complex project, that naturally, takes time. We’re very proud of MGCS’ continuous efforts to educate the Ministries on the value of eSourcing, and we continue to support them in these efforts. We’re close to 100% fully online, and expect MGCS to achieve this target in 2017 as stated.
Some Ministries have held back from implementing the solution. While each has its own unique reasoning, we’re fully confident that our system meets the needs of every Ministry. BravoSolution has a deep and lengthy history of enabling the success of private and public sector procurement organizations around the world, including public sector procurements of the highest scrutiny and complexity, such as UK capital infrastructure procurements including the London Olympics and Cross Rail / High Speed 2 (rail transport infrastructure procurement).
We’re confident that our offering will deliver the right value and service, no matter how complex or unique a Ministry’s needs might be. We’re committed to working one-on-one with any Ministry that needs additional support or has specific requirements. Our end goal is customer success – and we want to help any and every Ministry that needs additional support or customized engagement.
In regards to 4.3.2, it’s simply not an apples-to-apples comparison. Our solution capability far exceeds the capability and functionality of the previous solution and existing solutions in B.C. and the Federal government. Our solution is cost neutral to Ontario, but more importantly and to the point, provides a significant total cost of ownership (TCO) reduction for suppliers. The solution completely eliminates expenses related to paper/manual based bidding, and significantly lowers the cost of sales through faster response and notification times, as well as online submissions. Additionally, suppliers receive more capability than before, including:
- A more robust dashboard and complete bid history
- The elimination of duplicative data entry from tender to tender
- Proactive debriefing feedback on their bid response designed (to help improve future bid quality)
- A consistent experience from one entity to the next
- And a simplified fee structure that eliminates hidden additional fees while also allowing for unlimited bidding to any entity using the OTP.
In regards to recommendation #9, we are assisting MGCS in consistently monitoring supplier usage of our solution, including regular proactive outreaches to the supplier community, to ask for the input on ways to continue to improve their experience.
More than anything, we are committed to making this project as successful as possible, and welcome opportunities to assess how we’ve done and where we can do more. We’re proud of the traction achieved by MGCS so far, and look forward to continuing to work with their team and all the Ministries to provide the most value possible.
In an upcoming post, I will provide you with my take on both the Auditor General’s Report, as well as Dan Warn’s response.
In the meantime, I would welcome any comments you might have, including your assessment as to why these kinds of challenges continue to exist, and what needs to be done to address them.