The CRCOG IT Services Cooperative is a municipal purchasing initiative that aims to make technology-related products and services more accessible to CRCOG member towns and Connecticut Municipalities. This effort started in 2014 to utilize the Nutmeg Network, Connecticut’s public broadband fiber network. CRCOG continues to expand the offerings of the IT Services Cooperative to better serve its membership.
The CRCOG IT Services Cooperative is a combined effort of the CRCOG Service Sharing Initiative, the Capitol Region Purchasing Council (CRPC) and the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST). If you are a member of one of these organizations, you can access the CRCOG IT Services Cooperative without an annual fee. If you are not a member of any of these organizations, you can join the Cooperative as an independent organization for a small annual membership fee. It is also available to boards of education, libraries and other public entities.
The services that are provided through the IT Services Cooperative are procured through a state approved competitive vetting process. Each contract has specific language that allows Municipalities and public organizations to piggyback on the fixed prices negotiated in each contract. This permits procurement of the product/service without the hassle of the traditional procurement process. These programs work identically to state contracts in terms of the initial procurement.
The IT Services Cooperative Programs are started through the guidance of the CRCOG Policy Board and Municipal Services Committee. Programs are initiated by forecasting potential municipal need and surveying areas that interest CRCOG towns. Once given the approval of the Committee, CRCOG staff draft an RFP under the advisement of a newly established pilot review committee that is comprised of selected municipal staff. With this feedback, the RFP is posted and the competitive evaluation process begins. Once a vendor is selected, CRCOG initiates the Pilot Phase.
Each IT Services Program undergoes a Pilot Phase which is designed to create an open dialog between the pilot towns and the vendor during implementation. Any initial installation problems are identified, documented, and remedied to prevent similar issues going forward. Implementation feedback is the principal focus of the Pilot Phase as the service is tailored to fit municipal procedures. The Pilot Phase is a learning experience for the municipal staff, vendors, and CRCOG staff. In addition to direct influence on the improvement of the service, pilot towns often have subsidized initial and annual maintenance fees.
The Program Phase begins once pilot towns have completed implementation and are satisfied. The contract and service become available for other Connecticut municipalities to piggybackon, even those outside the Capitol Region. Like a State contract, each service is contracted using a competitive bid process. This enables municipalities to purchase the service without having to conduct the typical internal RFP purchasing process. In the Program Phase, CRCOG acts as an agnostic promoter, mediator, and facilitator for the program. Because CRCOG staff and the vendor have the experience from the Pilot Phase, installations and implementation for new towns is traditionally smooth.