ICT is a growing sector for us.
With the growth of the internet, our expectations to transact almost every aspect of our lives online, and the importance of technology to deliver services efficiently, it is no surprise that public authorities require contractors to design, deliver, support, and refresh their IT infrastructure. There are therefore lots of opportunities for ICT companies to grow their business.
Competition for ICT bids is particularly intense and suppliers are recognising the importance of professional support to prepare compelling tenders that win them new business.
Common questions our bid writers prepare for ICT bids include:
- Project and programme management
- Phased delivery (design, development, operational testing, transition to live operations)
- Project governance
- Interfaces and integration
- Case studies
- Information assurance, security and accreditations
- Collection of requirements
- Data protection and secure hosting
- Compliance with standards
- Staff recruitment and training
- Performance management
- Management of risks and issues (including RMADS)
- Contingency planning
- Partnership working and stakeholder engagement
- Quality Management
- Sustainability, including environmental management
- Delivering value for money.
Our approach to ICT Bid Writing
Given IT bids are often large and complex, we typically produce and agree a bid plan at the start of the project with you that includes bid phases, key deliverables and milestones.
They are likely to include:
- Holding an initial workshop with those people in your company who will have an input into the bid so that we all understand the nature of the bid, your strategy, key milestones and deadlines.
- Identifying subject matter experts – those people in your company who hold the information we need to prepare the tender.
- Creating a storyboard for each question – that is an outline of the content, win themes and evidence – by interviewing the subject matter experts and holding workshops.
- Producing a first draft of the responses to each question for review by the subject matter experts to check for factual accuracy. These are sometimes called Amber Reviews.
- Identifying from the narrative opportunity to enhance the bid by providing diagrams, graphs and other forms of visual evidence.
- Refining the responses following feedback from the Amber Reviews ahead of presenting the draft bid to a wider team within your company who will be responsible for approving its content. These are sometimes called Red Reviews.
- Final polishing of the narrative ahead of a final sign-off by your management team and its submission to you client (Gold Reviews).
Our experience in ICT Bid Writing
The following provides an overview of the types of IT bids we have supported.
The public’s expectation will be to complete the next Census return online
Census Bid Writing
The UK Government and Devolved Authorities conduct a census return in the UK every 10 years. The next census return is due in 2021.
The development and increased use of technology since the last census in 2011 means the public will expect to complete returns online. Given the size of the UK population and the fact there is a designated ‘census day’, the contractor developing the system will need a platform that can cater for millions of simultaneous transactions. The sensitive nature of the data provided by each household means the system needs to be secure to protect its integrity and to maintain public confidence.
We supported a client to tender for a contract to build a system for a Government ahead of its next census. The service included the design and development of a system, as well as its integration with other systems being developed by other contractors. Our writer supported the client to ensure the responses met the detailed requirements (e.g. compliance with security standards) and demonstrated relevant recent experience.
Integrated Baggage IT System Bid Writing
Heathrow Airport commissioned in 2015 a contract to design and deliver a new Integrated Baggage IT System. The airport handles upwards of 5,000 pieces of baggage every hour and needs to track their location at all times, delivering bags to the right flights. Heathrow’s requirement was to take data taken from check-in desks and the baggage systems across the 5 different terminals to provide the airport and the 80 different airlines with performance reports to drive efficiencies and operational improvements.
We supported a client to tender for this contract, as a market-leader in the design, installation and maintenance of conveyancing systems. The bid was particularly complicated given the need to migrate large amounts of live data from legacy systems and the large number of stakeholders involved from individual airlines to the different airport terminals. The client benefited from the experience we have developed of producing winning bids for conveyancing systems that have complicated IT systems behind them. As a result, the client’s bid was successful and they were awarded the contract by Heathrow Airport.
We successful produced a bid for an integrated baggage IT system at Heathrow Airport
We have supported bids with large IT elements into Heathrow, Gatwick Birmingham, Manchester and Stansted Airports
Baggage Handling Systems – Controls Bid Writing
Airports around the world rely on conveyancing handling systems to move passenger baggage from check-in to aircraft for loading. Once in the system, bar codes on each piece of baggage are read by IT systems that control the journey it takes, passing through security screening machines and down to make-up points for batching. In between time, the baggage may pass through an automated Early Bag Store, where it is held until the flight is ready for loading. As passenger numbers grow and security screening requirements become more stringent, airports are having to upgrade their systems.
We have developed significant expertise since 2015 when we prepared our first bid for an airport baggage handling system with its high and low level controls. We have now supported the same client with over 7 other bids into the likes of Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, and Stansted Airports. Bids have included the design, manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of systems.
Data Warehousing for a Local Authority
More and more services are going online. Local Authorities are no exception as their residents expect to access information and keep their personal records updated, for example to pay Council Tax or register to vote. At the same time, public authorities need to have integrated systems that allow for legitimate data sharing to provide residents with an improved service and to detect and prevent fraud. Such integrated systems rely on IT systems that meet certain standards so that they can interface with each other and keep data safe.
We supported an IT company with its bid to provide data warehousing for a Local Authority in London. The nature of the tender had complicated themes, but working closely with the client’s subject matter experts, we produced a bid that reflected the technicalities of the service and presented information in a manner that was easily understood by the evaluators.
To conduct business online, Local Authorities require IT systems that allow them to record and process data
Most services have IT elements attached to them, requiring bidders to respond to questions about their proposed systems
Other IT Bids
Most services have an IT element attached to them to receive, process, store and share data. To do so, organisation need to have systems that are secure to protect their business and their customers’ data. Questions about IT systems, their integrity, information assurance and accreditations (e.g. ISO 27001) are therefore now common place in most bids. Other bids we have supported with IT elements include:
- Hardware for Vodafone Swisscom to support its programme of rolling out super-fast broadband in Switzerland
- Case management systems in prisons and detention centres, for escorting and electronic monitoring
- Operation of call centres with an ability to report data in near real-time
- Integrated security systems such as CCTV, fire detection, and intruder alarms
- Use of CAFM systems to provide reactive and planned maintenance programmes.