This document explains how you can structure your Tender/Request for Proposals (RFP) so that you achieve an INSPIRE implementation that aligns well with your organization’s short-term and long-term objectives.
If you answer at least one of these three questions with a “Yes”, then the information in this guide will be helpful:
Building a Spatial Data Infrastructure such as INSPIRE is a substantial investment, whether you have the resources to do it internally or whether you plan to work with partners and suppliers. You have probably heard of challenges that others have run into while building up their components and are wondering how you can minimize risks, costs and optimize quality of your own implementation.
You will also want to make sure that you find the right partners for your project. These should be well-aligned with your own objectives and you should be able to trust them. Then, you have to define the purchasing procedure itself. Especially for public sector organizations, there are many cases where a public procurement procedure such as an RFP is the only way to make and justify a purchase.
To purchase and implement a solution that will be a long-term success, you need a comprehensive understanding of your organization´s needs, cross-functional support, and a process to help you achieve your goals.
This guide will help you three-fold:
To pick the right path to your implementation, you first need to understand why you will implement INSPIRE. At the bare minimum, you will want to comply with the EU directive as well as with how it has been transposed into national or regional law. By complying with this law, you enable your region, your country and the European Community to make better decisions. You also enable monitoring the implementation of other directives, such as Air Quality, Noise Pollution and the Water Framework Directive. This helps us all have a better standard of living and be healthier.
Implementing INSPIRE is also about embracing opportunity – for better collaboration with other implementers on a wide range of topics such as Governmental and Utility Service allocation, as well as to streamline your current processes for reporting and data provision, and for alignment with new laws which can build on INSPIRE.
The biggest opportunities lie with adoption of your data and services by users you don’t even know yet. When we work to make data more open, standardized and easy to use, it will be used – by citizens, enterprises and NGOs.
Before you draft your tender, take a comprehensive look at your SDI and INSPIRE implementation goals and your capacity to achieve them. Do you have the tools and know how to generate metadata, publish services, develop your transformation and harmonization processes and ultimately make your data truly interoperable along with a mechanism to monitor the impact of your efforts? Take a long-term, holistic view of your needs.
INSPIRE implementation will create a harmonized spatial data infrastructure. As with other infrastructure, the investment into it will be significant, and many of the gains and benefits will only be realized in the long-term.
To build this infrastructure, each organization in the EU which deals with geo-spatial data has an obligation to provide harmonized data via standardized network services.
The data needs to be in a common format that ensures that it can be exchanged, viewed, processed and edited by many organisations and systems. The problem that exists currently is that most organizations and governments have different needs, and therefore have different requirements from their spatial data infrastructures.
Now that you know why you want to implement INSPIRE and how you are going to benefit from it, it is time to find out what you already have and what you still need.
First, determine which INSPIRE obligations you honestly fulfill already – does your Metadata Catalogue Service (CSW) from 2012 still work, and is the metadata up to date?
This schema shows the INSPIRE Directive’s components: What data needs to be available when and in what form? First, look at your existing data sets that are not in an INSPIRE model yet:
If those metadata, data and services are ready, validated and up to date, you can start planning the next phase – data interoperability:
To determine your current status and make a clear plan for your next steps, you can request the RFP Template tool via email from us. The RFP Template Tool will help you to determine your specific needs and craft your tender/RFP specification, so it matches your actual needs.
Many INSPIRE and SDI implementers build custom/one-off solutions. These are sometimes based on commercial or Open Source building blocks. Such custom solutions seem appealing, since you get exactly what you ask for – ideally. However, with a ready-made solution you might get much more, and you will likely have much lower maintenance costs. Continued solution development cost is not burdened just on you, but rather shared by all users of the ready-made solution. Ready-made, well-known solutions tend to have good customer support and community forums to help customers with an issues or questions they might have.
If you tend towards either building a custom solution yourself or procuring one, make sure that you check whether critical requirements can only be met by going this route – otherwise it will be a very costly decision in the long term.
More details about the specific challenges in the INSPIRE implementation and important aspects of a successful SDI development can be found in the Your Guide to the INSPIRE Implementation document.
At some point, you will have to decide how you will make the actual procurement. Will you whip out your platinum company credit card and just buy a cloud solution(/products/haleconnect/)? Probably, it won’t be that easy.
Depending on the circumstances such as the expected contract volume and the type of services or products you need to procure, you might have different options:
More information about tendering rules and procedures in the EU can be found here.
Within each of these procedures, there is a wide range of variants. One particularly important one is which criteria you use to evaluate all offers/proposals you will receive. This is your main control to ensure the implementation you will receive meets your objectives. Your options on these criteria are manifold:
Let’s assume you have selected an open or restricted procedure to procure your INSPIRE solution. What will this process typically look like? Let us take a closer look at the general steps below:
Let us look at some of these steps in greater detail.
In Step 1, your department posts a requirement to your management. If the management in the next steps decides not to go forward, the whole process is stopped. It is therefore important to define the requirements and the business case for your organisation well. At this moment, you also need to be aware of risks, consequences and alternatives.
A critical phase is Step 3. You have to ensure that the solutions offered at the tender match your actual needs. If the tender documentation – often created by third parties – doesn’t properly specify these, your organization will invest a lot of time, money and other resources to purchase a solution that will not bring you forward. Some questions that can help here are:
This decision tree supports you to determine the best purchase procedure:
SDI development and INSPIRE implementation is very specific and has many variables. You can fine-tune these to get an optimal solution at good value. It’s important to remember that purchasing a solution through a tendering procedure often results in getting solutions that do not actually match your needs in terms of specific requirements.
To make it easier for you to evaluate your development and implementation needs, we’ve put together a free RFP Analysis Tool. To get access to the tool, send a quick request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a detailed analysis of your specific requirements, you can get in touch with our INSPIRE implementation experts and get a proposal that is tailored to your specific needs. Reach out to us at email@example.com.