5 Ways to Get Ready for DOS5
Preparing for success on DOS5 won't be easy, especially when you take into account all else beyond getting listed. Here are a few things to consider.
By 2022 the Central Government is planning to spend 33% of its budget with SME’s. That’s almost £4 billion per year in potential income for small businesses! A lot of this revenue is readily available via the DOS4 framework, and it will only rise with DOS5 as it opens for applications this month. Don’t wait to get listed, start planning now! Here are 5 ways to get ready…
1. Get to know the Service Design Manual and the Digital Standards
If you are on DOS4, then you should have already heard about the Service Manual and Digital Standards. We will be going deeper into what exactly you need to focus on here in an upcoming post. But they are worth mentioning here as well.
As the guidance says, “The Service Manual exists to help people across government build services that meet the Digital Service Standard and prepare for service assessments.”
So, it’s a Buyers document – why is this relevant to suppliers, then? Knowing your audience and what they want is the way you will win DOS5 bids.
Our two main pieces of advice on knowing your audience relate to Digital Standard 4 and 5, which demonstrate the government’s dedication to agile methodologies. The Service Manual addresses Agile in greater depth. Ideally, your bid should clearly show your understanding and alignment with this approach by:
- Using the language of the Manual – yes, read the Manual and use those words in your bid!
- Following the development phases– show how agile you are! Your bid should show how you understand the agile methodology and follow discovery, alpha, beta, live.
2. Know your dates for DOS5
Some dates aren’t currently available yet due to the push back from the worldwide pandemic. However, CCS should continue to update its framework timeline.
Furthermore, keep an eye on updates for events and webinars to get you on the right track, CCs will hold and publish these themselbes. There will be plenty of other resources available to you aside from those published and hosted by the CCS too. For instance, there’s plenty on its way from us at Advice Cloud for all your DOS5 needs, including a webinar on Tuesday 15th September – mark your diaries!
3. Not every opportunity will be the right opportunity
Make sure you know what to look for through the framework. You shouldn’t just be applying for anything and everything; carefully evaluate everything posted. Ask yourself, is this tender the best fit for my company and what are the chances of winning it?
There are hundreds and thousands of opportunities, and there are plenty posted to the framework over it’s lifecycle. Make sure you know how the search works, the current iteration is Live so you can definitely get used to how it all works early. Make sure you know how to shorten your searches down to opportunities that suite you and your company – and you know you’ll be in with a chance of winning!
If you are not clear on what an opportunity entails, you need to decide if it is worth your time. Can the value justify the staff time required to complete the bid?
4. Get ready to ask the right questions!
Once decided that an opportunity is worth your effort, even if the requirements are explicit, there will likely be questions to ask to improve your response. One of the fallacies of public sector procurement is that buyers cannot talk to potential suppliers during a procurement process – ask as much as you can to help your bidding process! The above statement is certainly not accurate for the DOS framework, which has chat opportunities built-in – take advantage of these tools! For example, keep an eye out for a ‘Questions and Answers Session’ box, and there may also be a dial-in opportunity for all interested suppliers. Come armed with pointed questions that will tell you a bit more about the requirements, the problem, and the culture of your buyer. Then use that to structure your bid and the examples you will provide to support your application.
5. Get networking before DOS5 goes Live
If the first time you spot the opportunity is on the market through DOS5, you’re already behind. Pre-market engagement is your opportunity to shape the formal tender. The UK Government advises in their Guide to Doing Business with Government that “supplier organisations should:
- sign up for email alerts on Contracts Finder
- monitor PINs and register your interest in future procurements
- attend information days and public sector’ product surgeries.
- register with the eSourcing tool for future opportunities.”
Networking will also allow the buyer to recognise you and your offering when you come to bid on their opportunity. We often use the phrase, “Getting listed is just the start.” DOS isn’t a direct sales opportunity; therefore, you still should market your brand and build presence in the public sector world before the framework is open for bids. When doing this, you may decide to follow and connect with organisations on social media. However, a more viable plan may be to create a new campaign tailored to public sector organisations with personalised offerings. This way, you’re more likely to build a rapport with potential buyers. Although you might not be successful with all opportunities this time around, networking can help build brand awareness and increase the chances of more options being available to you in the future
With close to £1 billion spent on DOS so far, there is no doubt that Digital Outcomes and Specialists 5 is a brilliant opportunity to win some serious public sector business. Don’t let the marketplace opening sneak up on you; start thinking about the best way to approach tendering on DOS5 now!