Asset Stewardship, in conjunction with the Smart Cities Council, undertook a survey of some of the top rated (by National Procurement Institute) city procurement offices in the USA.  The intent was to learn more about how a technology related RFP is shaped before it goes to bid.  A review of the responses (below) shows IT specialists are not regularly involved in procurement, even in SCT (smart city technology) purchases, probably because many cities do not have departmental level IT staff.  The initial descriptions for RFPs are primarily developed by the requesting department and are initiated by a staff person in that department. New SCT is usually intended for city wide use or for a specific department.  Following are the survey questions, responses and comments.

Q1  The initial idea for procurement of new digital goods or services usually comes from

Answer Choices Responses

another city

16.67%

1

a vendor

16.67%

1

a city staff person

33.33%

2

a department head

16.67%

1

a city executive staff person

16.67%

1

a change in law or regulation

0.00%

0

Total 6
Showing 3 responses

professional organizations such as: National Institute of Government Procurement (NIGP);

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

Trade show or conference, news report, technology magizines

11/20/2015 9:43 AM View respondent’s answers

The answer may often be “a department head who had a pain point, spoke to a specific vendor, and saw the value in their solution,” so a mix of the 2nd and 4th options.

11/18/2015 6:32 PM

 

Q2 The initial description of the proposed procurement is usually done by

Answer Choices Responses

the requesting department

85.71%

6

an IT or innovation related committee

14.29%

1

the city executive (Mayor or Manager) office

0.00%

0

the IT department

0.00%

0

the Purchasing department

0.00%

0

the Finance department

0.00%

0

the Planning department

0.00%

0

Total 7
Comments(0)

 

 

Q3  New digital goods or services projects are usually intended for

Answer Choices Responses

city wide use

50.00%

3

a specific department

33.33%

2

two or more departments working together

16.67%

1

Total 6
Showing 2 responses

Depends on the need. Could be citywide or specific to the department. No way to generalize.

11/23/2015 2:25 PM

It really depends on what the goods and services are… Some are enterprise related and some are department specific; some are program area specific (i.e. public safety; parks and rec., etc).

11/20/2015 6:06 PM

Q4 The city uses some kind of internal checklist, policy guidelines, IT master plan or technology review committee to vet the digital goods or services project before moving forward to develop the idea.

Answer Choices Responses

YES, we use one of these methods to make sure the project warrants further consideration

83.33%

5

NO

16.67%

IT would have to answer

11/23/2015 2:25 PM View respondent’s answers

The IT department is working to coordinate more tech projects, including through creation of a Procurement Lead who works across City departments on many/most procurements. However, it is still quite decentralized, and informal best practices are used more than formal checklists or criteria. Some of this vetting also happens during the budget process when projects are proposed.

 

Q5  Please check all the considerations that are routinely used to vet a project before moving it forward:

Answer Choices Responses

Software conforms to “open standards”, facilitating interoperability and data exchange.

83.33%

5

Functionality doesn’t duplicate existing digital functionality already owned by city.

100.00%

6

If it is intended to serve multiple departments, all departments have reviewed and approved concept.

66.67%

4

If it is intended to use or replicate existing databases (like properties, businesses, etc.), the databases can be combined.

16.67%

1

Software meets city security and privacy standards.

100.00%

6

Users will be able to test product or service for useability and effectiveness before purchase.

50.00%

3

City will have the ability to digitally extract, export and own all data generated by this product or service.

83.33%

5

Requesting department has the digital capability to make use of the data.

50.00%

3

Total Respondents: 6
Showing 2 responses

As I am not a technical IT person, and no longer in the IT department, I am cannot address each option provided.

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

Some criteria (i.e. 1, 5 and 7) are considered more in the vendor selection process than during the initial decision to procure.

 

Q6  Cities can radically improve their functional responsibilities through the power of ICT (information and communications technology). ICT can make buildings more efficient, water and energy more affordable, transportation quicker and neighborhoods safer.  Which of these seven “smart” enabler tools does your pre-procurement process routinely seek in new hardware and infrastructure purchases?

Answer Choices Responses

1.  Instrumentation and control:   Implement optimal instrumentation

20.00%

1

2. Connectivity:  Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications

60.00%

3

3. Interoperability: Adhere to open standards, Use open integration architectures and loosely coupled interfaces, Prioritize use of legacy investments

60.00%

3

4. Security and privacy: Publish privacy rules, Create a security framework, Implement cybersecurity

100.00%

5

5. Data management: Create a citywide data management, transparency and sharing policy

40.00%

2

6. Computing resources: Consider a cloud computing framework, Use an open innovation platform, Have access to a central GIS, Have access to comprehensive device management

80.00%

4

7. Analytics: Achieve full situational awareness, Achieve operational optimization, Achieve asset optimization, Pursue predictive analytics

80.00%

4

Total Respondents: 5
Showing 2 responses

The specific department would have to answer pre-procurement questions.

11/23/2015 2:25 PM

I do not have insight into these technical IT decision points.

11/20/2015 6:06 PM

 

Q7  Of the 10 city functions listed below, please rank on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) which are most likely to seek ICT related innovative enhancements for their goods (including hardware and infrastructure) and services procurements.

1. General, Citywide Functions  

5

 

7.20

2. Built Environment

 

5

 

5.00

3. Energy

 

4

 

6.50

4. Telecommunications

 

4

 

5.75

5. Transportation

 

5

 

4.80

6. Water and Wastewater

 

4

 

5.50

7. Waste Management

 

5

 

4.67

8. Health and Human Services

 

4

 

4.00

9. Public Safety

 

5

 

3.60

10. Purchasing, Payments and Finance

 

5

 

5.80

 

Q8  Which of the entities listed below are most likely to be involved in reviewing and confirming digitally enhanced goods and services procurements

Answer Choices Responses

Citizen and/ or elected official committee

16.67%

1

Interdepartmental committee

50.00%

3

Departmental committee

50.00%

3

Executive level official

33.33%

2

Policy level official

16.67%

1

Procurement department

50.00%

3

Finance department

50.00%

3

Legal department

50.00%

3

Total Respondents: 6

Q9  What techniques does the city use to attract vendors to bid on a digitally related goods or services projects?

 

Often Rarely Never Depends Not Applicable Total

Pre-qualified, listed vendors

16.67%

1

33.33%

2

16.67%

1

33.33%

2

0.00%

0

 

6

Official government purchasing announcements

100.00%

6

0.00%

0

0.00%

0

0.00%

0

0.00%

0

 

6

Informal solicitation of potential vendors via city contacts

0.00%

0

60.00%

3

0.00%

0

20.00%

1

20.00%

1

 

5

Search on lists of vendors (from Code for America, Smart Cities Council, function specific industry lists, ICT industry lists, local vendors, “hackathons”, local “start up” companies, regional or national “cooperative agreements”)

0.00%

0

0.00%

0

75.00%

3

25.00%

1

0.00%

0

 

4

Vendors in the startup, small business or entrepreneurial sector of the city

0.00%

0

25.00%

1

25.00%

1

50.00%

2

0.00%

0

 

4

Comments(3)
Showing 3 responses

Depends on the need

11/23/2015 2:25 PM

I would classify the last item as “Rarely”, but the survey won’t allow it.

11/20/2015 6:06 PM

The first three are “often,” the last two “rarely”

11/18/2015 6:32 PM

Q10  What type of response is typically required for digitally enhanced goods (including infrastructure and equipment) or services projects

Answer Choices

Responses

Submission of documentation to achieve pre-qualification to bid

0.00%

0

Submission in response to standard legal “Request for Proposals” form

20.00%

1

Submission in response to uniquely formatted RFP developed for this project

60.00%

3

Submission in response to suggested specifications developed for this project

0.00%

0

Submission in response to request for ideas to solve a need described by city or department

20.00%

1

Total5

Showing 1 response

Depends on if infrastructure and services are needed to maintain existing equipment and services, or a new initiative requiring new services and equipment. Uniquely crafted RFP’s with standard legal language are usually used for projects requiring professional services; sealed bids are usually used for equipment and services not requiring “judgement” (i.e. maintenance, installation, configuration…)

 

REPEAT, COPIED FROM WEBSITE, NO GRAPHICS:

The initial idea for procurement of new digital goods or services usually comes from

  • Answered: 6
  • Skipped: 1

another citya vendor

a city staff
person
a department
head
a city
executive st…
a change in
law or…
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

another city
16.67%
1

a vendor
16.67%
1

a city staff person
33.33%
2

a department head
16.67%
1

a city executive staff person
16.67%
1

a change in law or regulation
0.00%
0
Total 6

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Showing 3 responses

professional organizations such as: National Institute of Government Procurement (NIGP);

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

Trade show or conference, news report, technology magizines

11/20/2015 9:43 AM View respondent’s answers

The answer may often be “a department head who had a pain point, spoke to a specific vendor, and saw the value in their solution,” so a mix of the 2nd and 4th options.

11/18/2015 6:32 PM View respondent’s answers

The initial description of the proposed procurement is usually done by

  • Answered: 7
  • Skipped: 0
the requesting
department
an IT or
innovation…
the city
executive…
the IT
department
the Purchasing
department
the Finance
department
the Planning
department
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

the requesting department
85.71%
6

an IT or innovation related committee
14.29%
1

the city executive (Mayor or Manager) office
0.00%
0

the IT department
0.00%
0

the Purchasing department
0.00%
0

the Finance department
0.00%
0

the Planning department
0.00%
0
Total 7

New digital goods or services projects are usually intended for

  • Answered: 6
  • Skipped: 1

city wide use

a specific
department
two or more
departments…
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

city wide use
50.00%
3

a specific department
33.33%
2

two or more departments working together
16.67%
1
Total 6

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Showing 2 responses

Depends on the need. Could be citywide or specific to the department. No way to generalize.

11/23/2015 2:25 PM View respondent’s answers

It really depends on what the goods and services are… Some are enterprise related and some are department specific; some are program area specific (i.e. public safety; parks and rec., etc).

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

The city uses some kind of internal checklist, policy guidelines, IT master plan or technology review committee to vet the digital goods or services project before moving forward to develop the idea.

  • Answered: 6
  • Skipped: 1
YES, we use
one of these…

NO

0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

YES, we use one of these methods to make sure the project warrants further consideration
83.33%
5

NO
16.67%
1
Total 6

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D

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Showing 2 responses

IT would have to answer

11/23/2015 2:25 PM View respondent’s answers

The IT department is working to coordinate more tech projects, including through creation of a Procurement Lead who works across City departments on many/most procurements. However, it is still quite decentralized, and informal best practices are used more than formal checklists or criteria. Some of this vetting also happens during the budget process when projects are proposed.

11/18/2015 6:32 PM View respondent’s answers

Please check all the considerations that are routinely used to vet a project before moving it forward:

  • Answered: 6
  • Skipped: 1
Software
conforms to…
Functionality
doesn’t…
If it is
intended to…
If it is
intended to …
Software meets
city securit…
Users will be
able to test…
City will have
the ability …
Requesting
department h…
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

Software conforms to “open standards”, facilitating interoperability and data exchange.
83.33%
5

Functionality doesn’t duplicate existing digital functionality already owned by city.
100.00%
6

If it is intended to serve multiple departments, all departments have reviewed and approved concept.
66.67%
4

If it is intended to use or replicate existing databases (like properties, businesses, etc.), the databases can be combined.
16.67%
1

Software meets city security and privacy standards.
100.00%
6

Users will be able to test product or service for useability and effectiveness before purchase.
50.00%
3

City will have the ability to digitally extract, export and own all data generated by this product or service.
83.33%
5

Requesting department has the digital capability to make use of the data.
50.00%
3
Total Respondents: 6

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Showing 2 responses

As I am not a technical IT person, and no longer in the IT department, I am cannot address each option provided.

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

Some criteria (i.e. 1, 5 and 7) are considered more in the vendor selection process than during the initial decision to procure.

11/18/2015 6:32 PM View respondent’s answers

Cities can radically improve their functional responsibilities through the power of ICT (information and communications technology). ICT can make buildings more efficient, water and energy more affordable, transportation quicker and neighborhoods safer.  Which of these seven “smart” enabler tools does your pre-procurement process routinely seek in new hardware and infrastructure purchases?

  • Answered: 5
  • Skipped: 2
1.
Instrumentat…
2.
Connectivity…
3.
Interoperabi…
4. Security
and privacy:…
5. Data
management:…
6. Computing
resources:…
7. Analytics:
Achieve full…
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

1.  Instrumentation and control:   Implement optimal instrumentation
20.00%
1

2. Connectivity:  Connect devices with citywide, multi-service communications
60.00%
3

3. Interoperability: Adhere to open standards, Use open integration architectures and loosely coupled interfaces, Prioritize use of legacy investments
60.00%
3

4. Security and privacy: Publish privacy rules, Create a security framework, Implement cybersecurity
100.00%
5

5. Data management: Create a citywide data management, transparency and sharing policy
40.00%
2

6. Computing resources: Consider a cloud computing framework, Use an open innovation platform, Have access to a central GIS, Have access to comprehensive device management
80.00%
4

7. Analytics: Achieve full situational awareness, Achieve operational optimization, Achieve asset optimization, Pursue predictive analytics
80.00%
4
Total Respondents: 5

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Showing 2 responses

The specific department would have to answer pre-procurement questions.

11/23/2015 2:25 PM View respondent’s answers

I do not have insight into these technical IT decision points.

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

Of the 10 city functions listed below, please rank on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest) which are most likely to seek ICT related innovative enhancements for their goods (including hardware and infrastructure) and services procurements.

  • Answered: 6
  • Skipped: 1
1. General,
Citywide…
2. Built
Environment

3. Energy

4.
Telecommunic…
5.
Transportation
6. Water and
Wastewater
7. Waste
Management
8. Health and
Human Services
9. Public
Safety
10.
Purchasing,…
012345678910

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
N/A

1. General, Citywide Functions
40.00%
2
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
5
7.20

2. Built Environment
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
40.00%
2
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
5
5.00

3. Energy
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
4
6.50

4. Telecommunications
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
4
5.75

5. Transportation
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
20.00%
1
40.00%
2
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
5
4.80

6. Water and Wastewater
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
4
5.50

7. Waste Management
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
40.00%
2
5
4.67

8. Health and Human Services
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
4
4.00

9. Public Safety
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
40.00%
2
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
5
3.60

10. Purchasing, Payments and Finance
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
20.00%
1
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
40.00%
2
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
5
5.80

Which of the entities listed below are most likely to be involved in reviewing and confirming digitally enhanced goods and services procurements

  • Answered: 6
  • Skipped: 1
Citizen and/
or elected…
Interdepartment
al committee
Departmental
committee
Executive
level official
Policy level
official
Procurement
department
Finance
department
Legal
department
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

Citizen and/ or elected official committee
16.67%
1

Interdepartmental committee
50.00%
3

Departmental committee
50.00%
3

Executive level official
33.33%
2

Policy level official
16.67%
1

Procurement department
50.00%
3

Finance department
50.00%
3

Legal department
50.00%
3
Total Respondents: 6

What techniques does the city use to attract vendors to bid on a digitally related goods or services projects?

  • Answered: 7
  • Skipped: 0
Often
Rarely
Never
Depends
Not Applicable
Pre-qualified,
listed vendors
Official
government…
Informal
solicitation…
Search on
lists of…
Vendors in the
startup, sma…
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

Pre-qualified, listed vendors
16.67%
1
33.33%
2
16.67%
1
33.33%
2
0.00%
0
6

Official government purchasing announcements
100.00%
6
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
6

Informal solicitation of potential vendors via city contacts
0.00%
0
60.00%
3
0.00%
0
20.00%
1
20.00%
1
5

Search on lists of vendors (from Code for America, Smart Cities Council, function specific industry lists, ICT industry lists, local vendors, “hackathons”, local “start up” companies, regional or national “cooperative agreements”)
0.00%
0
0.00%
0
75.00%
3
25.00%
1
0.00%
0
4

Vendors in the startup, small business or entrepreneurial sector of the city
0.00%
0
25.00%
1
25.00%
1
50.00%
2
0.00%
0
4

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Showing 3 responses

Depends on the need

11/23/2015 2:25 PM View respondent’s answers

I would classify the last item as “Rarely”, but the survey won’t allow it.

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

The first three are “often,” the last two “rarely”

11/18/2015 6:32 PM View respondent’s answers

What type of response is typically required for digitally enhanced goods (including infrastructure and equipment) or services projects

  • Answered: 5
  • Skipped: 2
Submission of
documentatio…
Submission in
response to…
Submission in
response to…
Submission in
response to…
Submission in
response to…
0%10%20%30%40%50%60%70%80%90%100%

Submission of documentation to achieve pre-qualification to bid
0.00%
0

Submission in response to standard legal “Request for Proposals” form
20.00%
1

Submission in response to uniquely formatted RFP developed for this project
60.00%
3

Submission in response to suggested specifications developed for this project
0.00%
0

Submission in response to request for ideas to solve a need described by city or department
20.00%
1
Total 5

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Showing 1 response

Depends on if infrastructure and services are needed to maintain existing equipment and services, or a new initiative requiring new services and equipment. Uniquely crafted RFP’s with standard legal language are usually used for projects requiring professional services; sealed bids are usually used for equipment and services not requiring “judgement” (i.e. maintenance, installation, configuration…)

11/20/2015 6:06 PM View respondent’s answers

 

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