The 2020 State of Public Sourcing Report, a benchmarking study using anonymized platform data and survey responses, provides insights into how COVID-19 and the transition to remote work have impacted the procurement process.
“The role of public sourcing has always been challenging, but COVID-19 has caused a dual crisis in procurement: increased bid activity along with the transition to remote work for procurement teams and their agency partners,” said Corry Flatt, CEO of Bonfire. “To meet this moment, digital procurement solutions have become the lifeline for public agencies and, consequently, a top business priority for procurement teams and executive leadership. Our hope is that the data gathered in this report will help procurement teams and senior leadership understand how to best respond to the current pandemic, while future-proofing their procurement processes for any upcoming disruption”
In March of this year, Bonfire announced the availability of the Emergency Response Program, which enables any public procurement team to use the Bonfire Strategic Sourcing Platform for free in order to adapt to remote work and support new emergency and ongoing projects.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, Omdia has seen supply chains become brittle, inconsistent, and in some cases, inoperable,” said Terry White, IT procurement expert covering procurement and disruptive technologies at global technology research firm Omdia. “It has never been more important for government procurement teams to strengthen, stabilize, and regulate the procurement process with digital tools like Bonfire. Work from home, flexible working hours, and the need for rapid and efficient processing and evaluation of bids demands it. If not for the government agency themselves, then for the citizens they serve."
Key Insights from the Bonfire 2020 State of Public Sourcing Report
Speed and efficiency of procurement projects more critical than ever
Speed and efficiency are critical to meeting agency and constituent needs during COVID-19 and public procurement teams are adapting their processes to award bids and RFPs as quickly as possible. 73% of respondents said their organization now views digital procurement as a business priority to support those efforts.
Public agencies, especially education and municipalities, are investing in IT & software
Public sector organizations are running 37% more bids for telecommunications software and services to ensure business continuity.
Many K-12 and higher education institutions brought learning online in March and April, resulting in a 219% increase in telecommunications bids and RFPs compared to January/February of this year. Municipalities, similarly, saw a 118% increase in telecommunications services, likely to adjust to a new remote work reality.
Vendor competition is on the rise
While there is 5% more competition on public bids, procurement teams must continue to be intentional in engaging and diversifying their vendor pool.
Remote work is the new normal
Public procurement teams are adopting video conferencing and digital procurement tools to ensure their processes run business-as-usual while working from home. 98% of surveyed procurement professionals said their teams were working from home in full or in part, while 100% of those surveyed said their team had adopted a video conferencing tool during COVID-19.
More procurement work is happening outside of traditional office hours
There’s been a 62% increase in procurement work, particularly bid evaluations, taking place outside of the traditional 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. business hours. 21% of RFP evaluations are being performed outside office hours, highlighting the increased importance of digital solutions that offer the flexibility for evaluators to complete their scoring around other responsibilities and priorities as they work remotely.
The Bonfire report holistically reflects the entire procurement process and encompasses all types of bids and RFPs. Data in this study was collected using anonymized first-party data from two sources: the Bonfire Strategic Sourcing platform, containing the competitive event data of 400+ North American public procurement teams, and a survey conducted with 176 procurement respondents.
The full 2020 State of Public Sourcing Report can be downloaded by visiting the Bonfire website.