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These page addresses questions that Massachusetts executive department agencies, agency counsel, procurement team leads, and their Chief Information Officers (CIOs) may have with regards to conducting a procurement for IT hardware, software or services under a Statewide Contract.
1. What are the most frequently used Statewide IT contracts?
There are over a dozen statewide IT contracts that provide hardware, software or services. However, the most frequently used IT statewide contracts are the following:
If there is a statewide contract for the service or commodity sought, then the executive department agency must use that statewide contract for the procurement.
Source: Administration and Finance Mem., February 25, 2005 and
OSD Procurement Policies, 801 CMR 21.04.
RFR stands for Request for Response and refers to those postings for a solicitation that are restricted to a one-off procurement (one where there is no statewide contract available that fulfills the purchasing entity's needs). According to OSD, an RFR is defined as "[t]he mechanism used to communicate [p]rocurement specifications and to request [r]esponses or interest from potential Bidders. An RFR may also be referred to as a 'solicitation'." 801 CMR 21.01.
RFQ stands for Request for Quotes. An RFQ is used to communicate procurement specifications to vendors who are providers under an existing statewide contract. Depending on the procurement, an RFQ can be quite simple, such as an e-mail seeking a quote from a vendor. However, under some statewide contracts, an RFQ could be quite complex, and include background information, details regarding the services sought, the required attributes of the successful bidder, the success measures, etc. Reviewing the OSD update available on Comm-PASS helps to determine the specific requirements for a given contract,
You can obtain a sample RFQs from Comm-PASS. Comm-PASS is the web-site managed by OSD and provides posts of RFQ's and RFRs for bidders to review and respond. Simply go to www.comm-pass.com select search for solicitations.
The terms of the specific statewide contract and internal agency policies dictate how many vendors to send a given RFQ. For example, under ITC16A, the hardware contract, an entity needs to solicit quotes only from one vendor. However, under ITS23, an entity needs to seek quotes from at least three vendors, one of whom is preferably a woman or minority business. At ITD, when there is more than one vendor on a statewide contract, we generally require procurement leads to seek at least three quotes. Although the contract and internal policies might dictate how many vendors must be given the opportunity to bid under a statewide contract, that does not dictate how many contractors must respond to an RFQ. For example, for a given RFQ, an entity might send the RFQ to many vendors, but only receive a few responses.
The method of soliciting quotes from vendors depends on the contract being used and the internal policy of the agency conducting the procurement. For example, the procuring manager could e-mail a request for quotes to three vendors or could post the RFQ on Comm-PASS, depending on the contract being used and the total amount of the procurement.
Yes, you will satisfy the procurement requirements for a given contract if you post the RFQ on Comm-PASS. In general, the length of time that an RFQ needs to be posted on Comm-PASS depends on the complexity of the project and anticipated responses for a given posting. Although the statewide contract might not require that the RFQ be posted on Comm-PASS for any given length of time, we suggest that if the project is complex, you give bidders at least 10 business days to review and respond to an RFQ.
The term for an RFQ can be as long as allowed under the statewide contract. Thus, if a statewide contract expires in two years, the term of a contract for an RFQ must be within the term of the statewide contract (i.e. within two years). If you need an exception or an extension, then in general you must seek a waiver from the contract administrator, which is usually OSD.
The OSD requirements for requesting quotes under a given statewide contract represent the floor rather than a ceiling for ensuring a competitive procurement. Throughout a given fiscal year, ITD conducts multiple hardware, software, and services procurements. To assist ITD in obtaining the best value when conducting a procurement, ITD requires some additional solicitation requirements above and beyond the basic requirements for a given contract. Many of ITD's requirements are easy to fulfill (e.g. sending a request for quotes to three bidders instead of just one) and thus should enable the business need to efficiently and effectively be met while increasing the likelihood of obtaining the best value and competitively procuring hardware, software and services.