We need a file share for our bid – do we really?

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In this article, I use the definition for #bid as any formal submission of an offer in reply to a (public) tender, #RfP or #RfI.

Over the last years I often noticed some sort of #file-serving used to store all information related to a bid. My question is: is that really the best way to share information? In this article, I share my opinion on this.

For sure it is important to share information about a bid with all bid team members and stakeholders but there are some specifics to a bid which makes it questionable to use just another file share like environment.

  • Quite often file sharing solutions are limited to employees within one company or domain, and there are good reasons not to use just any web based “sharebox” solution
  • Most of the file sharing solutions do not offer real #collaboration, ending up with document names like “risk register – John edit” or “risk register – revision 2”
  • If we want everybody to see and change anything (and there are good reasons we do want that) the sharing solution needs a detailed #audit log
  • With different disciplines working on the same bid you tend to end up with subdirectories like “Sales”, “Technical” and “Finance”
  • For new team members joining the bid it is difficult to find all latest information with a blink of an eye

The above-mentioned specifics convinced me that a bid needs a real collaboration environment which provides:

  • the ability to share information within #context, e.g. the context of a task, a risk, an assumption or anything you can think of;
  • a solution that offers #communication alongside store and share, like Social Media platforms are offering in the form of posts and comments;
  • a #spreadsheet like environment to keep track of tasks, risks, assumption, issues and dependencies;
  • a secure environment, hosted by one of the largest cloud providers worldwide;
  • support external users through a system based on “by invitation only”;
  • support for full #transparency to everything what changed in the bid information combined with a detailed audit trail of all changes;
  • an environment that replaces email as this has the risk of missing information;
  • access from any device like desktop devices, tablets and smart phones.

All of this triggered me to start defining a standardized approach for sharing bid information and to select a tool that fully supports this (and much more). More on this and updates on the progress will be posted here.