Oakland County, Mich., has just made tech purchases a whole lot easier for local governments through an "online store" called the G2G Marketplace.
Launched Sept. 15 at the Michigan Government Information Management Sciences Fall Conference, the G2G Marketplace was developed by Oakland County to offer solutions from approved vendors to government agencies.
The goal is to provide government agencies with an easy way to research, purchase and implement technology solutions and professional services, and to simplify the purchase and licensing process with pre-negotiated blanket purchase agreements. As a result, government agencies should be able to utilize technology and services more quickly.
“We are doing the due diligence to make sure each of the companies is the right fit,” said Bertolini. “We are hoping this will lower the costs of the technologies and provide well-vetted solutions for other government agencies to use.”
Bertolini said there is no charge to private-sector companies to be part of G2G Marketplace. Contracts within G2G Marketplace are pre-negotiated, so a vendor cannot renegotiate terms or prices with a buyer. But as more communities get on board, they expect prices will drop due to economies of scale.
Additional expected benefits of the site include reducing the time needed to investigate vendor products and services; reducing costs associated with drafting contracts and agreements with vendors; and improving scalability, redundancy and resiliency.
Bertolini said he believes the service is unique. “We haven’t heard of any other government doing something like this at this point,” he said. “But this is just the beginning of what we can use this site for. Eventually we hope it will be used nationwide.”
Also on Sept. 15, Oakland County introduced CySAFE (Cyber Security Assessment for Everyone), a cybersecurity assessment tool it developed alongside five other Michigan counties. CySAFE is designed to help government agencies assess how safe they are from hackers and intruders, identify weak points and prioritize solutions available at the G2G Marketplace. Any government agency can download CySAFE (registration required) for free.
“We wanted to provide a cybersecurity assessment tool for all government agencies that was not a vendor-based product,” said Bertolini, who presented both CySAFE and G2G Marketplace to MiGMIS conference attendees alongside Michigan Chief Information Security Officer Chris Burrows. “CySAFE allows agencies to conduct a self-assessment based on 20 critical controls and best practices frameworks. Then when the agency clicks on the ‘results’ tab, they get a list of priorities to work on based on cost, time to market and risk.”
This is not the first time Oakland County has introduced the idea of intergovernmental cooperation. The county has been providing technology solutions -- including network infrastructure, email, GIS, land and tax systems, Web development and hosting, and more -- to its 62 municipalities for more than 35 years.
“Because of the vision of our County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Oakland County is riding the crest of the wave when it comes to government technology,” Bertolini said. “The G2G Marketplace enables us to assist other governments who want to offer better services and save money through cost-effective technologies.”