The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging every aspect of operations in higher education and the public sector. And, it’s also serving as a catalyst for new business models and positive change.
It’s no surprise that organizations with flexible, cloud-based enterprise applications are better able to adapt to the shifting conditions and respond to the needs of their workforce and constituencies. So, how can organizations start moving toward adopting cloud-based finance, human resources, planning, and student technology without expending unnecessary time and resources? Cooperation is key. Specifically, cooperative purchasing agreements and group contract vehicles can pave the way.
Supporting a New Path for Procurement
Higher education and public sector procurement officers have been using purchasing vehicles for goods and services for decades. This trusted method of procurement ranges from state-specific contracts to membership-based consortium agreements. But, it wasn’t until recently that these entities were offered this procurement path for enterprise administration solutions delivered via Software as a Service (SaaS).
Today, there’s a rapid rise in the use of cooperative contracts for SaaS enterprise solutions and services. Why? Simply put, it saves time and money.
Improving Efficiency With Cooperative Contracts
With shrinking budgets, procurement staff are already overloaded with lengthy request for proposal (RFP) processes for individual procurements. Putting together RFPs can cost tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in staff time, consuming entire teams for months at a time.
A trusted cooperative contract can eliminate the time and cost associated with the months needed to gather requirements, create the RFP, review multiple bidders, and make one award for one organization.
How do cooperative contracts work? Well, the cooperative runs a formal competitive process, following state statutes and procurement codes, to determine which vendors qualify to sell specific goods and services under the agreement. Organizations have multiple vendor choices using a single, pre-negotiated contract, which shortens the review, selection, and award of the qualified vendor for that entity from months to weeks.
In addition, costs can be significantly reduced for the buyer because the cooperative has already negotiated volume discounts.
With cooperative purchasing, both the buyer and seller win in a dramatically shortened cycle. When you reduce costs within a government organization or institution, you free up funds for other mission-specific uses. This means that constituents win, too.