By Marc Deflin
The success of any government agency depends on the seamless communication between two very important components – the back-office systems and the operational support staff. When there is a disruption in communication between these two entities for whatever reason, the negative impacts will be immediate and unyielding until the problem is resolved. While many organizations tend to believe that separately procuring back-office systems and front-line staff reduces costs and instills a sense of competition, bundling the contract is usually the better choice for maximized productivity and best-in-class customer service.
Unbundled contracts are messy
Both back-office systems and operational support are essential to an agency’s success. When you have two separate contractors, you also have two potential sources for difficulties or delays, as well as good reason for finger-pointing between your vendors. By bundling the contract, there is never an issue of assigning blame. The resolution process is streamlined, and a single contractor can better ensure that the disruption never occurs again in the future.
Furthermore, bundled contracts are the better choice when transitioning from an incumbent system. In Electronic Toll Collection, for example, the transition to a new system must occur instantaneously to ensure that no transactions, statements or customer data are lost. The transition must be seamless to guarantee that the toll-paying public receives optimum customer service at all times. Having only one contractor allows for the necessary simultaneous coordination of multiple events to occur without negative impacts on revenue collection or the quality of customer service.
Bundled contracts save money
When the back-office systems and front-line operations are procured and managed separately, the Agency must manage two contracts instead of one. That means double the project managers, double the consultant oversight, and double the implementation and management teams. What results is often a chaotic mess of duplicated milestones with added contractor contingencies to address potential uncertainties of the unknown third party. Meanwhile, the individual contractors usually bulk up their respective fees to account for the possible unforeseen scopes of work.
The bundled approach saves the agency time and money because there is only one contract to manage. The operations team can be trained better, faster, and more efficiently when they are fully aware of the back-office system’s functionality, systems and protocols. When agencies allow the providers to make the teaming decisions about systems and operations, they reap the benefits produced by a free market.
Bundled contracts offer better customer service
When an agency forces two contractors to work together through the unbundled approach, each party faces a lengthy learning curve and other pain points that can easily be avoided. Through a bundled delivery, the systems provider and operations provider are working together by choice – as teammates. The result is a free-flowing interaction between the system platform and the operations staff creating better alignment between system features and customer preferences. Customer feedback is implemented more quickly and efficiently when the entire team fully understands the need for a revision in protocol. With dual contractors, you have a greater chance that the changes will ultimately be out-of-sync.
Providing best-in-class customer service not only means responding to customer demands but responding to them quickly. True best-in-class service comes when the operations staff become an automatic extension of the back office system.
Read our white paper: “The Benefits of Bundling: Back Office Software Systems and Operations Staffing.”
Bundled contracts offer numerous benefits
The process of procuring a tolling system is complex and time-consuming. Save time, money, and frustration by hiring a single contractor instead of two. Why double the effort with an unbundled approach?
- Bundling the back-office systems with the front-line services enables operational efficiencies that lower overall costs and improve the overall customer experience.
- Unbundled programs are messy to manage. When there are two separate contractors, the agency and their hired consultants must constantly intervene to mitigate differences of opinion and manage the finger-pointing.
- Bundled contracts are the better choice for a smooth and seamless transition from an incumbent system. They allow for the necessary simultaneous coordination of multiple events without negative impacts.
- Free market forces will present the best solution under a bundled approach. When agencies allow the providers to make the teaming decisions about systems and operations, they reap the benefits produced by a free market.
- Through a bundled delivery, the agency streamlines the communication between the system platform and the operations staff. True best-in-class customer service comes when the back-office system becomes an extension of the staff.
When agencies hire contractors through the unbundled approach, everyone is essentially looking out for themselves. Each contractor spends more time and energy worrying about compliance issues rather than focusing on what’s really important, best-in-class customer service. When the back-office systems and operational support staff are bundled into a single contract, the entire process runs more smoothly and efficiently. Everybody wins.