2020 is not just a new year, but the beginning of a new decade.
I list below some of the most probable (and not the only) trends likely to affect both public and private sectors – and both clients and contractors/bidders.
Brexit – For the fifth year in a row, this is likely to continue to cast a shadow over the sector’s decision-making. Whilst the UK will now be leaving the EU on 31 January, all eyes will be on the type of Brexit that the country gets. Concerns about the post-2020 landscape may act as a brake on some decision-making.
Environment – Expect to see both public and private sector clients showing increasing interest in the sustainability impacts of their projects as well as examining the environmental credentials of their contractors and supply chains. There will be investments in green infrastructure and clean energy solutions.
Diversity and inclusion – There is increasing emphasis on fair working practices including gender balance and welcoming Bame (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) employees. However, with the triple whammy of less foreign national labour, an ageing workforce and skills shortages, bidders need to embrace diversity to have any kind of realistic prospect of having a workforce fit for the 2020s and beyond. With one in four people experiencing mental health issues at some time in their working lives, employers need to ensure they are creating the right environment for people to speak up when they are in difficulties with the knowledge that they will be supported.
Disruptive technology – Artificial intelligence, machine learning, hyperautomation, blockchain, robotics and digitisation all have the capacity to be severely disruptive to many sectors in which bidders are active. For example: IT, financial services, construction, professional services and the care sector to name a few. Bidders will need to articulate how they will be using technology to achieve efficiencies, both in time and money.
Outsourced bidding – More and more organisations – small, medium, and large – are recognising the benefits that accrue from bringing in external experts to support their bidding capabilities. In addition to at times providing resource cover for peak periods/to cover staff absences, excellent results can also be obtained by deploying them strategically to review addressable markets, bid strategies, bid processes, bid responses and the training needs of those involved with the in-house bidding function.
Of course, for many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), it makes sense for them to outsource their bidding function rather than have the staff costs of bid professionals. Bringing in outsourced bidding expertise helps level the playing field for SME bidders who often will be up against main contractors with standing bid teams.
Andrew Morrison, founder of bids and tenders specialists AM Bid