Work for a government, education, or nonprofit agency? You can choose between two options when you’re ready to purchase a communications system — both of which will satisfy your bid requirements:
- Request for Proposal (RFP)
- Sourcewell Contract Purchasing
Why Do Bid Requirements Exist?
Every publicly funded agency must put projects up for bid to provide companies with equal opportunity to win the agency’s business in a standardized format to ensure fairness. Agencies must also use the bidding process to document how they spend the funds they’re being given. The most common method for doing this has traditionally been an RFP. But depending on your needs, Mitel’s Sourcewell cooperative purchasing contract may be a better alternative.
Though the traditional RFP process was designed with good intentions, it can present some purchasing challenges for government, education, and nonprofit agencies.
First, RFPs can limit the quality of responses you receive (not necessarily the quantity). Responding to RFPs is time-consuming, so it can cause the following:
- Best agencies choose not to respond.
- Businesses only respond if they see a significant benefit and/or a high chance of winning the bid.
- Those that do respond put little energy into their proposal.
Second, and more importantly, this process is very time-consuming for agencies going out to bid. In a standard RFP process, each agency will typically go through the following steps:
- Identify potential providers
- Develop equipment and service specifications
- Create and advertise RFP
- Receive responses to RFP
- Evaluate proposals
- Award lowest bid
- Offer a protest period
- Have equipment delivered and installed
- Review and maintain the contract throughout its term
At a minimum, the RFP process takes three to six months but usually takes six to nine months from RFP build to installation. And even after all that, the way the RFP process is designed means there is no way to guarantee you will get the products or services that best suit your needs. Factors like cheap hardware and contract structuring barely related to your core needs may skew the final decision.
The Sourcewell Alternative
Sourcewell contracts eliminate these RFP challenges. They take the burden of RFPs off government, education, and nonprofit agencies. Sourcewell is a government agency that conducts its own rigorous RFP process and awards a vendor a national contract. Since the RFP work is already done, agencies can purchase communication technology outright through a Sourcewell contract, saving months, words, and uncertainty.
If you’re interested in a Mitel communication system, you’re in luck — Sourcewell has awarded Mitel a communications solutions vendor contract.
The purchasing process and timeline are significantly reduced using Sourcewell cooperative contracts. Instead of the time-consuming, nine-step process listed above, you only need to complete four steps:
- Become a member of Sourcewell (if you aren’t already)
- Get in contact with TCI to determine your specific phone system needs
- Indicate that you want Sourcewell pricing for procurement
- Coordinate with TCI for design, installation, and implementation.
Reach out today. We’ll step you through your options. Contact TCI at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.