For many public safety agencies, the decision to replace a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and/or Records Management System (RMS) application is a challenge that comes around every decade, or more, and is met with a level apprehension. And for good reason. Replacing a major software solution requires careful planning, will likely affect the business processes of nearly all agency employees and comes with a hefty price tag. This is compounded by the fact that many emergency communications centers, law enforcement agencies and fire/EMS departments are spread thin and must use their limited manpower to fulfill their daily operational duties, without the luxury of planning for the future.
DELTAWRX is a management consulting firm that specializes in assisting public safety agencies with the procurement of CAD and RMS applications, as well as Jail Management Systems (JMS), Fire Records Management Systems (FRMS), electronic Patient Care Reporting (ePCR) applications and other solutions. As an independent consulting firm, we have the ability to dedicate our time, experience and industry knowledge to assisting public safety agencies with navigating the procurement process to a successful outcome. For those PSAPs, police departments, sheriff’s offices, fire departments, emergency medical aid providers and other agencies considering a major technology procurement, we offer the following tips for effectively using a consultant:
Put Your Business Needs at the Forefront: A qualified consultant can assist public safety agencies with identifying and documenting those business needs that should be addressed by a future CAD, RMS, FRMS, JMS, ePCR or other solution. With end-user business needs serving as a foundation, an agency is well positioned to document its functional, technical and other system requirements.
Invest in a Comprehensive Request for Proposals: The Request for Proposals (RFP) document should clearly articulate a public safety agency’s needs across an array of subjects (functionality, interfaces, performance, hardware and network infrastructure, testing, training, implementation services, support, cost, etc.), be structured in a way that encourages creative, yet responsive proposals, and position the agency for a successful contract negotiation process. An experienced consultant knows what elements to include in an RFP to arrive at the desired outcome.
Obtain Support with Diligence: Evaluation committees should be comprised of empowered end-users. Additionally, a consultant can play an important role in strengthening the diligence process. We frequently assist our clients by facilitating objective proposal evaluation meetings, preparing vendor demonstration scripts, conducting reference checks, identifying appropriate sites to visit and analyzing costs proposals. This enables the agency to more clearly see the relative advantages and disadvantages of the solutions it is considering.
Rely on Industry Experience for Contract Negotiations: The CAD/RMS or other software contract will likely outlast the efforts of individual employees involved in the procurement and its importance cannot be overstated. An objective and seasoned consultant can provide best practices and reasonable guidance throughout the contract negotiations process, ensuring that the final documentation is comprehensive and protects the agency’s investment over the long term.
Maintain Momentum During Implementation: CAD/RMS and other software system implementations are long and complex endeavors. A consultant can keep your implementation moving according to schedule, support in escalating issues if necessary, advocate on behalf of the agency and serve as an additional quality control resource, as departmental employees focus on the workload associated with implementation.
Throughout the past eighteen years, DELTAWRX has managed more than 50 CAD and/or RMS systems assessment and replacement engagements throughout the United States. To learn more about our consulting services, or to discuss how we can support your organization, please contact us here.