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The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through its’ Operation Services Division (OSD), creates MSAs (master service agreements, also known informally as “state contracts”). OSD is the state’s procurement agency. MSAs result from a competitive procurement conducted by procurement teams usually lead by OSD staff. Teams typically consist of state and local government employees. OSD may also designate other agencies to conduct such procurements on their behalf. Any political subdivision of the Commonwealth may, unless the MSA specifically says otherwise, procure eligible goods and services through MSAs.
Established on July 1, 2014 and running for five years, one of these MSAs is ITS53ProjServ, or ITS53 for short. ITS53 has three categories of information technology services, one of which is GIS; the other two categories are “Technical Specialists” and “Solution Providers” through which other sub-categories of IT services (for example software and systems development, systems integration and networking, and security) can also be procured. A member of the MassGIS staff was on the procurement team that resulted in the ITS53 MSA.
CAI Technologies (aka Cartographic Associates)
James W. Sewall Company
Tighe and Bond
WSP USA (formerly Chas. H. Sells)
A working group consisting of municipal GIS staff coordinated by Neil MacGaffey at MassGIS has produced a guide to developing a planimetric mapping services RFQ; this RFQ would be issued to companies on the ITS53 contract. The guide is actually a template RFQ with instructions and guidance.
These companies were selected competitively based on evaluating their project experience, capacity, references, and experience specific to the subcategory for which they were selected. Through ITS53, the companies listed above can provide an array of GIS services including both GIS data development (automation and database design) and software application development. The former includes data maintenance. The latter may include developing tools to support data development as well as desktop computer applications or intra- or internet applications to provide access to GIS data. Data compilation from aerial photography in a stereo imaging environment (“planimetric compilation”) is procured from the companies listed in the Planimetric Mapping Services subcategory. The web mapping services subcategory is for maintaining or enhancing MassGIS’ web mapping services.
Because they were selected through a competitive procurement process, the companies listed above have been pre-qualified to provide the services summarized above. Therefore, any political subdivision of the Commonwealth can obtain GIS services under ITS53 without doing a request for responses (RFR) or request for proposals (RFP) process. For municipalities, this means they can do procurement without going through a “Chapter 30 B” process. Instead, it is sufficient to send out a request for quotes (RFQ) that describes the services sought. We recommend reading the RFQ template documents. The RFQ is sent only to the companies listed above in the relevant subcategory. It is important to send an RFQ to enough companies so that there is a good likelihood of some competition (ideally at least three quotes) in the responses to your RFQ. By taking this approach, you ensure that you receive more than one proposal from qualified companies and a competitive price.
In addition to the scope of work, your RFQ should provide information concerning schedule and, if appropriate, budget as well as information about how you will evaluate and score the proposals. Your RFQ should also, as appropriate, request quote responses that are full proposals. Your evaluation might be solely on price. More likely you will want to evaluate some or all of the following: proposed approach to your project, qualifications of the proposed team, schedule, and budget. You must let the recipients of your RFQ know that you are doing your procurement under ITS53. Once you have selected the winning response, you can commence work as soon as you create a purchase order. If you left room in your RFQ for choosing some optional services, be sure to document which services are being procured in your purchase order. You may optionally choose to execute a contract with your selected vendor; your original RFQ can serve as the scope of services for the contract, modified to reflect any optional items you selected or any changes made during negotiations.
You can find all the procurement details concerning ITS53 on the Commonwealth’s procurement web site (“CommBuys”) at https://www.commbuys.com/bso/external/bidDetail.sdo?docId=S166368-vCurrent&external=true&parentUrl=bid