In November of 2019 the Ontario government released the Negotiated Request for Bids (NRFB) For Managed Service Provider (MSP) for Contingent IT Resources. The stated goal is to select an MSP who shall work closely with ministry Clients, IT Qualified Firms, IT Consultants and Emergency Management Security Branch (EMSB) and MGCS to facilitate the contractor security clearance process for successful resources before the execution of any Statement of Work and deployment of resources to Clients’ sites.
Since the bid has now closed the process to select the successful vendor from the submitted bids is underway. Once an MSP is selected, the government will begin to negotiate the details of how the MSP will work with not only the government but, most important to OSMBC membership, how it will work with the firms that qualify to provide IT resources to the MSP.
Our concern with this new initiative is that we may be excluded from participating in the future and we want to ensure that this is not the direction that is adopted. This is because the last time a similar Task Based VOR RFI was issued in May 2017, it envisaged just 10 large vendors replacing the current 325+ Task based I&IT Services vendors.
We are encouraged by the government’s support of innovation, reducing red tape and ensuring that Ontario is Open for Business. However, we want to point out some of the potential risks to our community with the adoption of an MSP/VMS.
Some of the considerations of interest are as follows:
- The Ontario Information Technology ecosystem consists of a large number of small and medium sized businesses for whom the Ontario Public Service I&IT business is key to establishing and growing their organizations. This ecosystem needs to grow in order to create new jobs as these companies mature. A robust innovation network, led by DMZ, MaRS and the Universities of Toronto, Waterloo etc. is key to creating and supporting the growth of Silicon Valley North. Ontario should continue to encourage small and medium businesses to engage with them to facilitate this growth.
- As Ontario seeks to engage an MSP/VMS to streamline IT Task Based Services, you should be aware that most of these companies are not headquartered in Ontario or for that matter, Canada. There are very few MSP/VMS that are Canadian and we should encourage those companies in our selection process.
- There is a potential adverse effect on jobs in this drive to more efficiency, transparency and productivity. There is a group of full time employees in IT Source that currently operates much of what an MSP would do and these people would be re-deployed or retired.
The OSMBC is energized by this opportunity to provide our experience to the Ontario government and hope that our concerns are taken into consideration through the negotiation process with the winning MSP.
We have drafted more details of what we recommend should be negotiated with the winning vendor for both Supply Chain Ontario and the users of IT resources in the OPS (CIOs and their teams). We elicit your support to ensure that our voice is heard and our feedback taken in to account.
We are committed to working with Ontario to ensure that the best MSP/VMS solution is implemented and provides value to all stakeholders.
In the past, OSMBC’s feedback and advocacy were critical – leading to government officials re-assessing proposed changes. Thanks to OSMBC’s advocacy, the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services (MGCS) extended the existing ON-Demand IT Services Vendor of Record (VOR) process for a 12 month period ending September 30, 2018, then further extended it another year until September 30, 2019. It is now scheduled to end Sept 2020.
Why maintaining a fair and competitive IT procurement process matters
1. Increased competition means better value:
Small and medium IT companies provide the Ontario government with Expert-Level IT consultants. These consultants provide quality, effective, and cost-efficient services. Reducing the number of vendors would reduce competition, and summarily drive up costs or force the government to bring in less qualified IT providers – reducing the level and quality of service it provides the residents of Ontario.
2. Small and medium businesses are the backbone of Ontario’s economy:
Over 300 small and medium-sized IT firms built their businesses (in part or whole) to serve the ever-emerging IT needs of the Ontario government. Proposed changes would jeopardize the viability of small and medium-sized IT providers, and place thousands of local jobs at risk. Impact of possible business closures would be especially felt in small communities where most of these local IT providers operate.
3. Small and medium businesses drive innovation in Ontario:
The existing ON-Demand IT Services Vendor of Record (VOR) process is open, fair and transparent which allows small innovative specialist firms to emerge, compete and win, based on quality and innovation.
OSMBC is working to ensure small and medium-sized IT businesses are able to compete for Ontario government’s contracts through a competitive, transparent, and open procurement process to protect local jobs, encourage innovation and grow Ontario’s economy.
Please help small and medium-sized IT services providers in Ontario continue to:
1. Compete for and win Ontario government IT service contracts via open, fair and transparent competition;
2. Proudly service Ontario government’s varied, specialist and expert level IT service needs;
3. Provide good paying jobs in communities across Ontario; and,
4. Continue to drive homegrown Ontario IT innovation to the benefit of all.
If you are a Task-Based IT VOR, please join the OSMBC today!