While Europe's economic engineers get 'tough on Greece, soft on Hans' (to paraphrase a Palmolive campaign), there is a dawning realisation that ‘there is no spoon’ (to quote The Matrix) when it comes to responding to government bids in New Zealand.
Or, more to the point, in the tender response process, nothing is as straightforward as it seems.
Perhaps New Zealand resellers have to play their own game, like Greece has done in the Euro crisis: by rewriting the rules. Or trying to, anyway.
In my opinion, the Euro is a threatened species because some countries finally realised it’s impossible to do business with nations that go to bed for half the day. How did the Siesta States get into the EU to begin with? Was it the gift of a few sun-drenched villas to some high ranking eurocrats? Was it some sort of reward or punishment for helping or hindering the Allied effort in World War II? None of these would surprise me.
Of course, that's neither here nor there. And I don't mean to suggest that resellers competing for tenders in New Zealand are feckless and slothful. At the same time, however, there really isn't a way for them to 'go Greece' in the tenders arena, either. Everyone has to play by the government's rules.
So what are resellers supposed to do when they come up against something like the Ministry of Education's School Network Upgrade Project (SNUP) documents that were public for a while?
These RFPs thrilled me when I first saw them. They looked fantastic. They were futuristic, full of illustrations with little fingers pointing to where you should read next. When I started reading I thought maybe the greased cogs of government had finally churned out something in plain English.
But six documents later, it occurred to me, as far as I could tell, that the RFP was nothing more than a job vacancy. Six, hefty dollops of trollop to gain the knowledge that the RFPs were a glorified help wanted ad, that read to me like, ‘Wiring inspector wanted. Own clipboard an advantage. Sandwiches provided.’
It’s no secret that Torque IP has been heavily involved with the SNUP programme for a few years, so it seemed appropriate to ask them if their job was up for grabs, since they run the SNUP inspection process for the Ministry of Education.
Torque can’t talk, so to speak, so I asked the ministry, but they are bound by ministry rules that state unless you actually ask officially for information they cannot supply any. So we asked officially and they said wait until 20 days have passed.
In the meantime, on further reading of the fabulously and clearly written mountain of RFP docs, it started to look like the ministry was asking for a wiring inspector to check the wiring inspectors. The ministry apparently wanted someone to check that Torque is doing its job.
I write 'wanted' because those fabulously written RFPs disappeared into the void as of June 14.
Maybe that's because you can’t ask someone to do the same job that’s already being done? I don't know. The government seemed to be in danger of piling inspectors one on top of the other. So despite a perfectly well written batch of reward worthy RFPs, the process seems to have ground to a halt. And I'm not sure why. It's all Greek to me.