Ask the Expert

Emerging technologies in bidding – friend or foe?!

Question by: Jo Linwood-Barnes

Hi Sam

Curious to hear your views on the impact of AI in bidding, and how this can be harnessed in bid strategy, writing and contract delivery.



Hi Jo,

Thanks for your question, although brief, it covers a huge array of areas and is one I’m often asked by clients at EiB. First of all, I want to deal with what we mean by AI. There are varying applications of AI, many of which have been around for much longer than you would think, with it first being coined 60 years ago. For the purposes of this response, I’ll assume that you are referring predominantly to generative AI, which has recently seen its namesake rise in popularity through models such as ChatGPT.

What makes generative ai different?

Generative AI can generate new data from scratch, instead of just relying on existing data.

This is unlike traditional AI which relies on existing data to make predictions. It can make decisions based on its own intuition, allowing it to generate new and unique solutions to problems. It’s also a form of Artificial Intelligence that is capable of learning from its mistakes and continually improving its output. This allows it to generate more accurate and creative results over time. For example, an AI system trained on images could be used to create new, never-before-seen artwork.


So, what does this mean for bid writing?

This is revolutionary, as it means that given the correct data set, generative AI will be able to create baseline answers for you on a topic, and these will be unique.

There are currently tools out there that are geared towards using your own library and historic responses, matched with unique functionality that is tailored to bid writing, such as turning passive voice to active, and adding statistics or examples. There is no doubt in my mind that AI is a useful tool when it comes to making writing more efficient, it helps generate ideas and can help with the back end tidy up, however, it’s not there to replace anyone. AI should be seen as a helper, to support a human mind steer and guide it to develop a faster first draft and then support in the editing process. It makes mistakes and can lead you down a garden path if you can’t distinguish between fact and fiction.

Looking longer term, we are likely to see a levelled playing field in terms of written responses, which will only drive the need for more strategic, creative responses, and client-side questions.

More pressure on the strategy

As I’ve detailed above, strategy and knowledge will become king (or queen) of the future in bid delivery. There are currently some products in development that can look across a wide range of data sets and predict win themes, but these will be missing the critical element, understanding of people and decision makers. Like with the writing, AI will be able to generate ideas, but it won’t be able to realistically provide solid win strategies. From a research perspective it’s an incredibly powerful tool for capture, but again we need to make sure that as an industry we don’t become complacent and rely on this for the ‘full story’. One element that I’ve not seen nearly enough of yet is how we can use AI and algorithms to help commercially position businesses. There seem to be a focus on qualitative data currently, which is missing a trick around leveraging historic pricing data and creating target price points – which we know is often where marks fall short.

Optimising how contracts in delivery

There is a huge opportunity in contract delivery for the use of tech and AI. A few that I pedal to clients are:

  1. The use of AI in resource management, there are multiple programmes available that can help schedule, resource, and onboard teams in project delivery.
  2. There are also generative AI contract lifecycle management tools that can interact with natural language and classify components of contracts like pricing information and clause attributes, which reduces errors and inefficiencies.
  3. Finally, AI in Digital twin and predictive events to minimise health and safety issues.

What does this mean broadly for bidders?

I’m a firm believer that AI will become adopted widely in every industry, and it’s only a matter of time. If you want to be ahead of the curve, we must start introducing new roles and skill sets such as Prompt Engineers. At EiB, we’ve recently appointed an Innovation Manager to support this growth area, and I’m sure it won’t be long before others follow suit.

Commissioning clients are beginning to adopt AI in the procurement process, and I believe that as we see this wider adoption, there will be a natural shift back to behavioural based interviews, evidence-based question sets and more stringent competency pre-qualification questionnaires. That said, it’s exciting, and I am glad to see you taking an interest.

I know from experience that CBRE are already doing a lot in the tech space, including in the metaverse, so I’m happy to continue the conversation if that’s something of interest.



Professional Head of Bid Management and Direction