Rigged Managed Services RFPs Harm Suppliers and Buyers Alike

As a seller of IT managed services, you may spend hundreds of hours on a quote only to find that you really had no chance because the game was rigged. It can be obvious and heavy handed:

  • The RFP ignores your strengths, but itemizes your competitor’s advantages;
  • You’re given a week whereas others are given a month to respond;
  • Any small error is grounds for disqualification rather than a clarification request.

Buy-side bid rigging can also be more subtle and behind the scenes. Sometimes you won’t even know it’s there. Ultimately it harms both clients and suppliers, so it’s one of the things we’re training each of our client engagement staff to identify and prevent.

Although we’ve seen this practice in all domains, including data centers, bandwidth, and CDN, it is most frequent and intense in managed services and desktop support because of the importance of cultural fit and the difficulty of measuring it in an RFP. It’s also exacerbated by the prejudices that some IT managers feel with regard to offshore providers, which constitute a good portion of quotes in modern RIM or managed desktop project.