Unfortunately, due to small budgets many IG offices don’t have the opportunity to frequently work with procurement offices. We recently offered a webinar on how to navigate the procurement process, and one of the most important factors we discussed was getting ahead of the procurement process, rather than letting the process hold you back from meeting your procurement goals.

Here are a few suggestions for how you can get an early start on several steps of the procurement process:

Don’t wait for funding to pursue a project.
This is the single most important step. Projects with great supporting evidence of value will often gain funding, but someone needs to gather this evidence. If you wait for funding before you start justifying the purchase, you may never gain the funding at all.

Let the procurement department know that you have something you want to purchase, and tell them that you want to take care of any preliminary steps.
The most successful project champions are proactive with the procurement department, allowing them to handle requests without racing towards a deadline. There will likely be a checklist of items which can be completed before all supporting documentation is ready for final submission.

Ask for vendor quotes well before the end of the procurement process.
While a product quote is often seen as the last step in the process, asking for products quotes early will reduce deadline pressure. Quotes often require a discussion with vendors about exactly what’s needed. Having these conversations with vendors earlier in the procurement process will also make it easier to defend the value of the product later on in the process.

Determine stakeholder groups, and involve them early.
In the case of software products, you will likely need to meet the security and capability requirements laid out by an internal IT staff or risk management group. Those groups need time to vet the product to make these determinations, so it’s best to involve them early so this doesn’t become a roadblock.

If you’d like tips on how to navigate the procurement process, please give us a call at 919-600-5102 or email us.