CAD system, content management software top list of Chicago IT procurement opportunities

Published: May 23, 2014

Contract AwardsIT ServicesJustice/Public Safety & Homeland SecuritySmall Business

The city of Chicago, Illinois, released its most recent buying plan for the Q2 2014 – Q2 2015 period, which provides vendors an idea of what goods and services the city plans to procure over the next 15 months. The plan includes 242 possible procurement opportunities in areas such as work services, commodities, professional services, and small orders. This number is only a slight decrease from the 246 opportunities listed in the previous buying plan for Q4 2013 – Q1 2015.
Not surprisingly, construction opportunities dominated, accounting for 32.6 percent of projects listed, as shown in the figure below. The plan includes projects varying in value, from less than $10,000 to more than $20 million, allowing for companies of all sizes to become vendors for the city.

Source: Deltek
Of the 14 departments that have solicitations expected between now and Q2 2015, more than 55 percent of projects listed in the buying plan fall under the Water Management, Transportation, or Fleet & Facility Management departments. A majority of these projects are construction requirements valued at $1 million to $5 million. However, public library projects also have a strong presence, including an integrated library system valued at $1 million to $5 million, and a new website development opportunity.
While there are only nine Emergency Management and Communications projects included in the buying plan, three of them are in the $10 million to $20 million range, including a computer-aided dispatch (CAD) system. This project, which is expected to be solicited in Q1 2015, will replace the department’s current Northrop Grumman CAD system.
The Innovation and Technology Department has five solicitations planned through Q2 2015, though a number of projects in other departments have IT aspects included as part of their requirements. The largest project coming out of the Innovation and Technology Department is a content management and process modernization program (CMPM). While the specific details of the CMPM solicitation are not yet known, the CMPM division of Innovation and Technology oversees the city's content management systems and has a goal of reducing paper operations by 2017 while streamlining overlapping business processes for the city.
Nearly 48 percent of the opportunities listed in the buying plan are valued at $1 million to $10 million, while the majority of big-ticket projects are construction requirements. However, there are eight projects that the city anticipates will cost more than $20 million, including a water utility billing project that will require IT professional services.

Source: Deltek
The city has also included 14 projects with small business set-asides of two types: Small Business Initiative (SBI) and Target Market. The SBI is a construction program the city established in order to augment the projects awarded to local small businesses. The city reports that 30 contracts valued at nearly $50 million have been awarded under the SBI program. Target Market opportunities are directed to minority businesses, including women-owned businesses. The plan includes five Target Market opportunities, including an Innovation and Technology master consulting agreement for IT professional services.
Vendors can expect to see the greatest amount of these opportunities procured during 2014. However, Chicago does tend to roll over its projects from one buying plan to the next, so don’t be surprised if a project listed in the current plan is delayed until the next one, or even further. Since 2011, the city has only issued between 140 and 175 solicitations in any 15-month period, meaning that 65 to 100 projects listed in the buying plan will not be procured during this cycle.
In addition, not all of the opportunities listed in the plan are guaranteed to be solicited. As is the case with many projects, sometimes the owning agency reprioritizes projects or decides a requirement can be met using internal resources. In other situations, funding can’t be secured and a project is canceled. Deltek has seen opportunities included in buying plans continue to be pushed out for up to two years, and in several occasions they have been canceled.
While it can be used as a guide to develop strategies for doing business with the city, it’s also important to keep in mind that not all solicitations that are released by the city come from the buying plan. For example, in 2013, of the 11 solicitations that Deltek considers IT the primary requirement, only four were listed in any of the procurement forecasts released by the city. So, if you don’t see any projects of interest in the plan, be assured there are other opportunities available. 
You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in Chicago in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial