RFP PROBLEM #1: The Time to Acquisition is Slow and Cumbersome
Initial assessment of available technologies
For complicated projects, hiring expensive consultants (sometimes even a separate RFP)
Assessment of current needs, systems, and integration requirements
Manufacturer demonstrations (often used to help system users see products or user interface)
Review of draft RFP by government attorney, staff, and procurement officials
RFP release with advertised “open” period
RFP response review/evaluation
Staff report/recommendation prepared by staff for the governing body
Public meeting process to include award of project to winning bidder
Protest review or hearing by governing body (if protest stands, start process over)
Issuance of order to proceed
Project implementation period (often spelled out in RFP)
Acceptance (in some projects, a payment schedule is included in the RFP)
Change orders once project is underway (poor project assessment by the low bidder)
ICU leverages a proven process with our clients to identify the desired outcomes, design solutions aligned to those objectives, delivers sustainable systems in a timely manner, and engages after the project to ensure the desired outcomes are actualized.
RFP PROBLEM #2: RFP Consultants Are Often a Big Source of the Issues
More often than anyone would like to admit, RFP consultants rarely keep-up with the fast pace of technology advances. Their out-of-touch “comfort” with dated technology leads to an inferior scope of work (aka: outcomes that suck). When the resulting “solution” doesn’t produce the desired results, the vendor doing the work will point to the RFP, saying “…but this is what you asked for.” The RFP consultant will point back to the vendor, saying “the vendor doesn’t know what they are doing” or worse, the consultant responds with something like “since costs were a priority for you, I can work—at a cost—with your vendor to develop a change-order.” This finger-pointing leaves the customer at the mercy of an inferior (and expensive, time-sucking) process.
Ask a GSA Partner To:
Interview stakeholders to build consensus on the specific problems to be addressed.
Define the exact business outcomes which are expected to be solved.
Map and present a technology solution to include accurate costs represented in a solution proposal.
Deliver and provide excellent after-the-sale support.
Keep using a consultant and an RFP process and you’ll be:
Faced with finger-pointing
Forced to make excuses
Shrug your shoulders and accept your poor outcome
RFP PROBLEM #3: Standardized/Scalable Systems
Sometimes, public sector organizations seek to standardize their systems specify brands or models as part of an RFP. Standardized systems are a good idea, but the limitation to one manufacturer’s products within an RFP can lead to higher costs over time. Behind-the-scenes-deal-making by the manufacturer’s partner companies can lead to the “incumbent” vendor bidding high, but still winning the bid because other “friendly bidders” respond with even higher bids.
Government customers are often over-the-barrel because changing technology is too costly. Sometimes, government customers worry about change because it may look like earlier decisions to standardize were a mistake.
ICU is motivated by having successful, long-term relationships, not short-term profits. ICU supports its customers by making use of existing technology to keep costs reasonable and allow well-planned, thoughtful transitions to new technology. It is commonplace to hear ICU tech experts tell a government customer that some of their systems should be kept in-place to maximize results and system effectiveness. Last, ICU prefers public safety solutions which provide “open” over proprietary architecture.
Too many vendors give technology companies a bad reputation by using hit-and-run tactics focused on making a sale, instead of helping with long-term success. These tactics leave government customers with no long-term plan or help.
ICU’s team of experts is ready to provide the GSA alternative to the RFP status quo. For public sector organizations wishing to form a long-term partnership to use public safety technology to meet your needs. To learn more and get started, click here to schedule a consulation.