The high price and time-intensiveness of responding to government tenders is resulting in local ICT suppliers losing out on business, according to US-based software developer Proposal Software.
PMAPS WebPro Mobile (Credit: Proposal Software)
Proposal Software said that it had conducted research showing that large organisations have to deal with a large number of requests for information — and, as a result, have missed opportunities because people on the ground didn't have immediate access to the data necessary to compile a formal tender or bid in a timely manner.
"Our customers are reporting that the number of requests to tender or bids they're getting have gone up on average by at least a third," said John Laurino, CEO of Proposal Software, adding that a missed tender means a company may not be invited for the next one.
The developer has created Proposal Management and Production System (PMAPS) WebPro, a Software as a Service (SaaS) proposal tool that integrates with a company's content management system. WebPro combines all of a company's data into one central location in the cloud, protected by a firewall, according to Laurino. Users no longer have to interact with the CMS system, instead entering and accessing data via the tool.
In order to respond to a request for tender, users fill out a form saying which information they require in their response to a tender. The tool assembles the information and puts it together into a bid suitable for whichever country the pitch is to be sent to.
There are two WebPro versions: a desktop app (which only requires a web browser and Microsoft Word) and a mobile app (which works on Android, Apple, RIM, Windows, BlackBerry and Palm smartphones and tablets).
The company's mobile app emails requested data or assembled pitch as a Word doc or PDF to the user or customer. Proposal Software is currently working to add PowerPoint capability by the end of the year.
On opening the app, the user is shown a dashboard that is customised to their job role, with all required tools in a central location. According to Laurino, no programming skills are required to use the software; actions are instigated via visual-based icons. A calendar sync-capability warns of any upcoming deadlines.
In addition to the "Help" tab that brings up video instructions on how to do certain tasks, there is also 24/7 support via a toll-free number.
For businesses with strict security concerns and for those governed by data sovereignty restrictions, Laurino said that WebPro can be created so that it would work on a company's server or intranet.