Since the firm’s launching 12 years ago, Mission Critical Partners has participated in hundreds of technology procurements. We are proud that our clients trust the support that we provide. The foundation for that trust can be found in two important factors.
The first involves a philosophy that MCP has embraced from day one, which is to always be vendor neutral. This is to ensure that clients procure best-of-breed solutions that meet their needs. We do this by supporting a fair and competitive procurement environment that results in the maximum number of vendor proposal submissions.
The second is that we have a very wide and deep bench. What I mean is that MCP employs more than 150 subject-matter experts (SMEs) whose expertise and experience spans every type of network, system and device used by mission critical agencies. To paraphrase a popular commercial for an insurance company, they know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two. Many of these SMEs previously worked for public safety and/or criminal justice agencies and in that role were involved in numerous procurements. This experience gives them keen insight into how to support our clients in this regard.
Here’s a snapshot of what we do when we’re hired to support a procurement:
- Perform a needs assessment—This seems elementary, but it is a tremendously important first step. Sometimes clients believe they need something that they really don’t; similarly, they sometimes fail to recognize something that they do need. Clearly defining the client’s true need is essential to enabling the agency to select the solution that will meet that need as cost-effectively as possible.
- Write technical specifications and the request for proposals document—This is the heart of the procurement and we work closely with the client’s procurement team to produce these documents and to ensure that they align with the needs identified by the previous step.
- Assist the client in assessing vendor proposals—Again, we work closely with the client’s procurement team to assist its members in evaluating and scoring the proposals using a proprietary methodology. The most important factors that are assessed are cost and solution features and capabilities. Regarding the latter, they are assessed largely based on the following:
- Whether they align with the client’s needs and requirements as defined in the solicitation document
- Whether the proposed solution is open standards-based or proprietary
Proposals also are evaluated based on whether the vendor’s approach to the project aligns with the client’s needs. The vendor team assigned to the project also is considered.
- Assist in contract negotiation and review—Working with the client’s legal team, we help to write service level agreements that ensure the proposed solution will perform as designed once it is implemented—again, to ensure that the client’s need is met—as well as other pertinent contract language.
There is one thing that we don’t do, which is to tell clients what solution and vendor it should select—never have, never will.
MCP’s role is to assist clients in making the best-informed decisions possible regarding vendor and solution selection. Our input strictly is advisory. We do not recommend vendors nor do we rank them—we simply support the client’s evaluation committee in its work by providing input that enables its members to make the best-informed decision possible. In short, our clients solely determine the vendor that they select—each and every time.
We would welcome the chance to apply our industry-leading expertise and experience, as well as our vendor-neutral approach, to your next procurement project—please reach out.
Scott Neal is MCP’s vice president and director of wireless communications services. He can be emailed at ScottNeal@MissionCriticalPartners.com.