An online forum for procurement professionals.
Some light reading on sole-source contracting.
Foster your procurement agency relationships. In Canada, both federally and provincially/territorially, that usually means connecting with centralized agency contracting officers and it may also involve working with departmental or ministry contracting experts. Just as you know the technical domain, these folks know the contracting domain, which is largely about process. Working together, you’ll get the best outcome possible.
Foster affordable competition. For services contracting, consider using a simpler model, more akin to construction tenders or to the Request for Quote (or Price and Availability) used for off-the-shelf commercial products than to the approach usually required for system procurement.
Foster innovative competition. Include some industry experts on the evaluation team and make it known that you’re doing that: folks who are independent both of Government and of any bidder. Sometimes the senior folks want innovation but the junior folks (who sit on evaluation teams) distrust anything that looks new or different from established practices. Outside experts can help to push back against this inertia.