by Charles Prather – NASSCO Trainer and 20-year CCTV guru

Soliciting bids for a Clean & Televising project? Make sure outside contractors deliver your data the exact way you need it.

In an effort to keep the incoming data organized and prevent errors and omissions, it is always recommended that municipalities work with the contractor(s) as early as possible in the procurement (bidding) process. This can help assure that the contractor will be able to provide data that will work with the municipality’s inspection software.

As you can probably guess, each situation is unique.  Factors such as workflow, integrations, and software platforms can vary widely.  The good news is, as an ITpipes client, we’re happy to assist with situations like this.

In the meantime, to help you get a better understanding, here is a typical scenario and the options:

Typical Scenario

The City of ITville has ITpipes Web and Sync, which has bi-directional dataflow with their asset management system.  They don’t use PACP and instead, have their own custom template.  Their one CCTV inspection vehicle can’t keep up with the workload, so ITville puts together a Clean and Televise Program that they will be publicly letting.  Contractors come from far and wide to bid, and these contractors have a variety of CCTV inspection software. 

Luckily, Jonathan, the engineer at ITvilile has reached out to ITpipes.  After asking a few questions, ITpipes recommends to ITville that they should:

  1. Provide a sample ITpipes configured template and database file with the bidding / RFP documents. 
  2. Provide a sample ITpipes work order
  3. Include a requirement in the specifications that if the contractor will not be using ITpipes, a sample submittal (based on the above template and database) is recommended to be submitted prior to responding on this ITB/RFP.  The municipality will attempt to sync this data and inform the submitting company of rejection/acceptance details. 

ITpipes also provides sample specification wording documents, so that Jonathan can copy and paste them into ITville’s bid packet.

Result

The desired goal is that these specifications will do two things.  First, the specs will provide suggested contract wording that will keep ITville’s data organized. Second, the specs will allow competitive bidding to all contractors, whether they have ITpipes or another software.

Most contractors will fall into two categories.  The first category is those who already have ITpipes (or those who will be purchasing ITpipes).  As long as they have a Sync instance, these contractors’ inspections can flow back and forth between their system and ITville’s system.

The second category of contractor is those who operate a different inspection software. Most (but NOT all) software on the market feature open databases that should allow the conversion of data to ITpipes format. These contractors should attempt, prior to bidding, to convert their data to ITpipes format with ITville’s setting applied.  If the attempt is unsuccessful, ITpipes recommends they reach out to their software vendor next.  If still unsuccessful, ITpipes would be glad to help them out and provide whatever conversion options may be possible.

Summary

Just like with most things, spending a few minutes at the start to set expectations will save a lot of time, headaches, and money along the way.  Of course, ITpipes is always there to help, so reach out to us here: Contact Us – ITpipes