Procuring Infrastructure Technology

How we procure infrastructure technology will influence the whole life value of that technology and the benefits it will bring. Issues such as data security, interoperability and value for money all need to be considered and a procurement approach developed that best meets the needs of the contracting authority.

The procurement strategy will be influenced by several factors and the contracting authority should comply with best practice and any applicable procurement regulations. Suitable advice should be sought from within the organisation (Procurement/Legal/ IT /Facilities etc) and can be supplemented by external consultancy advice as required.

Generally (but not always), at a project level, the contracting authority can embed technology requirements within the invitation to tender as a deliverable by the successful main contractor. However, for technology at an organisational level, this may require a separate procurement process.

"Technological change is already impacting on the sector but this could be further improved by creating the right environment through procurement to create the right trading conditions to encourage the development and use."

Scottish Contractors Group - Evidence to Economy, Energy & Fair Work Committee

The following section sets out some of the considerations to be made when procuring infrastructure technology:-

 

Types of Services & Products

  1. Consultancy – Information Management, digital change consultancy, research and training
  2. Software Solutions – Cloud services, common data environments, apps etc.
  3. Hardware Solutions – Scanners, computer systems, tablets etc.
  4. A combination of items above.

 

Develop Clear Employer Requirements

  1. Client Defined Information & Technology Requirements – The contracting authority defines their technology and data requirements within a functional specification or employers information requirements. (e.g. development of an organisational common data environment)
  2. Client Defined Information Requirements The contracting authority defines their information requirements and remains agnostic about the technology. They only set out parameters for the transfer of information for example the maximum file size and required format.  (e.g delivery of a point cloud scan where data is required but the technology can be defined by the supplier)
  3. Client Defined Performance Requirements The client can issue a performance requirement and allow the supplier to implement a data and technology solution that delivers those requirements. 
  4. Client Defined Consultancy Requirements Specific to the consultancy role, a defined scope of services with clear roles and responsibilities.

There are various hybrid solutions that can be adopted to the four options above. When deciding upon a procurement strategy, the procurer should seek suitable technical and legal advice and assess the risks.

 

Commercial Considerations

When procuring technology there is a need to ensure the functional specification clearly sets out the scope and an associated deliverables. Areas to consider within a functional specification that are specific to infra-tech include:-

  • Consider a security minded approach for the data generated or utilised by the technology.
  • Interoperability of the technology to existing systems.
  • Ensuring information generated by the technology is of the correct format.
  • Consider maintenance issues of that technology or the associated data.
  • Review licence arrangements – Commercial arrangements, flexibility, ownership of data.

The list is not exhaustive and outlines some of the considerations to be made when procuring different types of technology. Further advice is provided within each technology listed within the navigator.

 

Routes to Market

  1. Direct appointment through appropriate procurement route to the technology supplier. (Public Contracts Scotland)
  2. Sub-contract - Procure technology as a deliverable within the scope of an existing contract or framework.
  3. Utilise existing digital frameworks:-

 

Advertising Contracts & Services on Public Contracts Scotland

When undertaking a standalone procurement exercise, the contracting authority should advertise the requirement for delivery of infrastructure technology on Public Contracts Scotland. To support both contracting authorities and suppliers, it is recommended that one of the following categories are adopted when creating the contract notice.

Category Sub Category  Keyword Other Keywords

Works- Construction, Repair & Maintenance

Other Infra-Tech User Defined
Facilities & Management Services Other Infra-Tech User Defined
Information Communication Technology Software Infra-Tech User Defined
Information Communication Technology Hardware Infra-Tech User Defined

 

In applying the four categories above, this will support suppliers search for tendering opportunities. For the suppliers, they are able to register and provide a Supplier Finder Profile on Public Contracts Scotland and enable contracting authorities to search for infra-tech suppliers.

Supplier Finder is a supplier sourcing directory allowing you to advertise your company on the website. It allows you to provide detailed information regarding the products or services you provide. Some of the benefits you get from updating your profile include:

  • Buyers can now easily find your company via the Supplier Finder search tool.
  • You can provide keywords which specifically highlight the products or services provided by your company. These keywords are searchable.
  • The service improves your chances of receiving a direct invitation to quote from Buyers using "Quick Quote".

Public Contracts Scotland - Supplier Finder Profile

The supplier in their profile can insert 6 keywords to better identify their service offering. It is recommended that one of these words is "infra-tech" aswell as further keywords that describe their service offering.

 

Other ways to find a Suppler

The Infrastructure Technology market continues to evolve with new startups, mergers and acquisitions altering the marketplace. Some organisations have developed free directories such as Unissu or Capterra that provide a free list of known suppliers within the infrastructure technology market.

Another recommended way to identify suitable suppliers is to utilise specialist trade shows such as Digital Construction week or other events that provide a list of active suppliers who specialise within this market sector. A list of events and links to their exhibitors can be found within the attached link.

Finally, for any further information regarding procurement, suppliers or general guidance, please contact the Infrastructure Technology Team at Scottish Futures Trust.