Have an account?

  •   Personalized content
  •   Your products and support

Need an account?

Create an account

5 Tips for Writing Better Contracts for US State and Local Government

How to build flexibility and innovation into your contracts that ease procurement

Let’s face it, writing contracts can be a chore. But understanding how to do it right is critical to the future success of your agency. And with constantly evolving technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), edge computing, and cloud quickly becoming common in government, you need flexibility to innovate at an equally rapid pace.

1. Be strategic in scope

Think needs based. Request solutions or architectures that meet a specific business need, instead of just asking for products.

Keep it short and sweet. Concision and precision will win the day, especially when teamed with a specific end goal.

Let them spec. Ask suppliers to submit specifications for all elements needed to meet the business need.

2. Flex with a focus

Seek agility. Technology is advancing faster than procurement, so include flexible terms.

Easily integrate. Require full interoperability with existing and vendor systems, via an open and standards-based approach.

Brush up on terms. Become aware of terms and conditions that can enable vendors to offer your agency more favorable pricing.

3. Give a little freedom

Leverage their creativity. Let manufacturers include any products or services that are within scope so they can create new efficiencies.

Enable third-party power. Allow vendors to include third-party providers so you can avoid additional contracts on your end.

Think local. Suggest manufacturers use local certified resellers, to support local hiring and economic development.

Did you know?

Including a master contract can help you unchain your network and give you the freedom to integrate innovative technologies as they develop.

4. Encourage innovative tech

Prep for the future. Include language that lets manufacturers request the addition of new technologies to any awarded contract offerings.

Cast a wide net. Allow products to be developed in-house and also obtained through product or company acquisitions.

Stay secure, end to end. Specify certified, validated, and tested architectures that allow deeper visibility and real-time capabilities.

5. Play outside your sandbox

Invite others to the party. Open contracts to other groups like state boards, bureaus, commissions, educational institutions, cities, etc. where allowed.

Get a different point of view. Look at your contract from the supplier’s perspective, like using standard terms and conditions to reduce costs they can pass on to you.

Distribute a draft. Let potential manufacturers take a look at a draft before final release, to offer unique insights you can leverage in the final version.

Next steps

Want to learn more about contracts and procurement for state and local governments?