DEPT FOR COMMUNITIES & LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Client interview with Anne Waller, Project Support Office Manager IT Services Outsourcing Project
"I manage a project support office within the Department for Communities and Local Government. Since April 2005 we have been supporting the IT Services Outsourcing Project, the first phase of which was to undertake an OJEU negotiated procurement process to select a new IT supplier by January 2006", says Anne Waller.

MANAGING A COLLABORATIVE PROCUREMENT PROCESS

The ITSOP project team, and its wider stakeholder organisation, was made up of several organisations, with different locations, IT systems and requirements. This project urgently needed an effective, efficient project workspace that would support all the different members of the team, both internally and externally, in the execution of the project.

"Our first challenge was to deliver large amounts of information securely to a variety of external suppliers", says Anne.

"Our hope was that we would then receive good quality proposals from all the longlisted bidders, of which there were six, and to provide them all with as much information as we could about our organisation and infrastructure in a fair and consistent manner. We really didn't want the insecurity of passing the information around as bulky email attachments."

"We felt we needed a web-based collaborative tool to communicate in the way we envisaged. It was important to be able to form interest groups so that the most appropriate information was given to the right people, with automated notifications when new content was added."

WHY ITSOP CHOSE INOVEM

"We started off with quite a long list of requirements to support Project Management, Stakeholder Management and the procurement process", says Anne.

"We had lots of ideas about how we could use such a tool and wanted to keep our options open as much as possible. Time was a huge constraint; we had already started the procurement exercise and the time was approaching when we would need a secure way of collaborating with bidders."

"The INOVEM tool had practically all the functionality we could hope to use and would be available for us to use very quickly."

PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE

"We have found the site very easy to use. We have used groups for internal stakeholders and the project team, although not to the extent that we had intended because of pressure on time and resources. Our most important use has been collaboration with external suppliers throughout the negotiated procurement."

"During the proposal development phase we have had private groups for each longlisted bidder, where we published answers to their clarification questions and details of their meeting schedules."

"We also had a group that was available to all the long-listed bidders where we published clarification bulletins containing answers to all non-confidential clarification questions. This group was also home to our 'Data Room' which was a repository for documents and information available to bidders, to assist with the preparation of their proposals."

"When evaluation had taken place and bidders reduced to a shortlist of three, we set up a contract group for each bidder and the process became more collaborative, with both bidders and DCLG's legal representatives uploading new and amended versions of proposed contract schedules."

WHAT WE'VE ACHIEVED TO DATE

ITSOP have used our collaborative web area in a number of ways, but have not had the time to exploit all the functionality that they had hoped to.

"The procurement was completed in a little over 7 months. In that time we have probably had more than 200 members come and go. Approximately 700 answers to clarification questions, and more than 200 documents in 20 subject areas, were published on the site."

"The independent Gateway 3 review team made reference to our use of the collaborative web area as an area of good practice. In a recent workshop held with the new IT supplier it was also mentioned as an element of our collaboration that has worked particularly well", Anne adds.

WHERE NEXT?

"We are now moving into the implementation of what has become a programme of projects, and are currently using the main group which still contains the Data Room as a programme group with folders for each project."

"This is still enabling us to continue working collaboratively with our new IT supplier and is providing valuable document control for project deliverables."

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