How to kill the OSS RFP (part 4)

This is the fourth, and final part (I think) in the series on killing the OSS RFI/RFP process, a process that suppliers and customers alike find to be inefficient. The concept is based on an initiative currently being investigated by TM Forum.

The previous three posts focused on the importance of trusted partnerships and the methods to develop them via OSS procurement events.

Today’s post takes a slightly different tack. It proposes a structural obsolescence that may lead to the death of the RFP. We might not have to kill it. It might die a natural death.

Actually, let me take that back. I’m sure RFPs won’t die out completely as a procurement technique. But I can see a time when RFPs are far less common and significantly different in nature to today’s procurement events.

How??
Technology!
That’s the answer all technologists cite to any form of problem of course. But there’s a growing trend that provides a portent to the future here.

It comes via the XaaS (As a Service) model of software delivery. We’re increasingly building and consuming cloud-native services. OSS of the future, the small-grid model, are likely to consume software as services from multiple suppliers.

And rather than having to go through a procurement event like an RFP to form each supplier contract, the small grid model will simply be a case of consuming one/many services via API contracts. The API contract (eg OpenAPI specification / swagger) will be available for the world to see. You either consume it or you don’t. No lengthy contract negotiation phase to be had.

Now as mentioned above, the RFP won’t die, but evolve. We’ll probably see more RFPs formed between customers and the services companies that will create customised OSS solutions (utilising one/many OSS supplier services). And these RFPs may not be with the massive multinational services companies of today, but increasingly through smaller niche service companies. These micro-RFPs represent the future of OSS work, the gig economy, and will surely be facilitated by smart-RFP / smart-contract models (like the OSS Justice League model).

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One thought on “How to kill the OSS RFP (part 4)

  1. “You either consume it or you don’t. No lengthy contract negotiation phase to be had.”

    Sounds utopian! But would it be good news for the OSS vendor? For this sort of business model, the OSS functions – and the surrounding service/SLA/Ts&Cs – would have to be totally commoditized. If the product being offered isn’t a commodity, the purchaser will want to go through some evaluation, negotiation over the service, red-line the Ts&Cs.. etc etc.

    General, established vendors don’t like the idea of becoming a commodity. It makes it hard to justify high prices, and difficult to differentiate.

    But maybe that’s where at least some OSS functions need to end up today? Deliver the functionality, and differentiate on things like efficiency, and good ol’ customer support.

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