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Frequently it becomes necessary to evaluate and verify a potential vendors references as part of a formal solicitation or prior to engagement as a consultant.  I have found the typical reference check method to be a weak validation of a consultants competency.  What methods have you successfully used?  Have you hired a PI type to perform electronic snooping (data gathering) into a potential vendors financials, past performance, work load, successful projects (on time & w/in budget), staff qualifications, etc.?  We need better and maybe more sophisticated tools to help select our consulting partners.

Thank you for suggestions.  -  Scott Snedden, Senior Contracting Officer, University of Alaska

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