Clay Johnson: “Tomorrow at CodeAcross we’ll be launching our first community-based project, OpenRFPs. The goal is to liberate the data inside of every state RFP listing website in the country. We hope you’ll find your own state’s RFP site, and contribute a parser.
The Department of Better Technology’s goal is to improve the way government works by making it easier for small, innovative businesses to provide great technology to government. But those businesses can barely make it through the front door when the RFPs themselves are stored in archaic systems, with sloppy user interfaces and disparate data formats, or locked behind paywalls.
What are a business’s current choices? They can pay for subscription based services that are either shady vendors disguised as officious sounding associations, or have less than stellar user interfaces.
The sum of these experiences? The barrier to entry is so high that the small companies who are great at technology are effectively turned away at the door. The only ones who get through are those that can afford to spend employee time scouring for the right RFPs.
But the harm to business isn’t the big harm. Government contracting becomes an overlooked area by the transparency community, (especially at the state and local level,) because the data isn’t available en-masse unless it’s paid for commercially, which comes with a restrictive usage license.”