What brings you here?
Are you a vendor interested in partnering with us for the first time or do you need information as a current partner?
Get alerted to future opportunities
In order to ensure that procurements are fair, OIT posts all solicitations and opportunities for partnership on the electronic bidding system called ColoradoVSS (Vendor Self Service). Please make sure to register on this site to ensure you are alerted of future opportunities posted by OIT. Although this system is used by OIT, the ColoradoVSS application is not an OIT owned system, and as such, OIT is unable to assist with the registration process.
However, the ColoradoVSS Help Desk is available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (MST) and can be reached by calling 303.866.6464 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additional information, including tips for ensuring you never miss an opportunity, can be found at vss.state.co.us. Please note that the ColoradoVSS website is best viewed in Microsoft Internet Explorer or FireFox.
Solicitation Types and Award Determination Criteria
|Cost of Goods
|Cost of Services
|Based on best value; cost is the primary consideration
|Documented Quote (DQ)
|Based on best value; cost is the primary consideration if need is not met
|Invitation for Bids (IFB)
|Based on lowest bidder who is responsive and responsible
|Request for Proposals (RFP)
|Based on criteria other than lowest cost, but cost may be a factor
|Invitation to Negotiate (ITN)
|Based on determination of the contract most advantageous to the state
|Award only if no other vendors protest
Other Solicitation Types
- Requests for Information (RFIs) are used to gain information about the market opportunities and DO NOT result in a purchase or contract
- Construction, Property or Space Leasing requires the involvement of the State Architect
- Sole Source when only one vendor is available to meet the need
- Emergency Procurement requires a threat to public health, welfare, or safety such as may arise by reason of floods, epidemics, riots, equipment failures, etc
- Special Circumstance when the market is limited based on specific, tangible requirements; the market has not matured to provide adequate competition, disclosure of the requirements for the goods or services is contrary to the public interest
General Duration of Procurement Process
High-level statewide estimates from initial idea to contract execution:
- Documented Quote: 3-4 months
- Invitation for Bid: 3-4 months
- Request for Proposal: 9-12 months
- Invitation to Negotiate: 9-12 months
Why does it take so long?
Every purchase requires good requirements and a clear plan, and these can take time to develop. This is the best investment of time you can make to ensure a successful procurement.
Contracts take time to negotiate. For vendors, they are risking their business, their future, and their reputation. For the state, we are managing risks. It can be difficult to find the sweet spot that works for everyone.
Rules That Govern OIT Procurement
Colorado Revised Statutes
- C.R.S. 24-37.5-105 - OIT’s Statutory Responsibilities & Rules
- Title 24, Articles 101-112 - The Procurement Code
Colorado Code of Regulations
Procurement Policies and Guidelines
- Procurement Conflicts of Interest Policy
- State Controller Contract Policies
- Procurement Code of Ethics and Guidelines
- If the purchase is being funded in any way by a Federal Partner, grant, or other outside parties, additional rules may apply.
Vendor Requirements for Award Consideration
Colorado Information Security Policies (which follow NIST Standards)
Risk Management Insurance Requirements (when Vendor is on State-Owned or State Leased Property or will have access to State data/systems)
Bid Bonds and Performance Bonds (Construction Only)
Some negotiation is allowed on State Contract or Purchase Order Terms and Conditions, however, the State cannot indemnify vendors
Accessibility Standards - The vendor should indicate whether the goods and/or services proposed to be provided fully conform with the accessibility guidelines of Section 508 and/or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) 2. level A and AA guidelines published by the World Wide Web Consortium (“W3C”)
Vendor Accessibility Guidelines & Checklist
Common Myths Debunked
MYTH: There’s a preferred vendor list
REALITY: The State may have agreements in place for commonly purchased items through OIT Enterprise Agreements and State Price Agreements, which are established through solicitations. Executive Branch agencies are usually required to use these while for Higher Education, Law, Judicial and Local Governments’ participation is optional.
MYTH: Solicitations are filled with provisions that don’t need to be read
REALITY: The solicitation will govern the resulting award contract for the work/products that your company provides. It is important to know what provisions will need to be agreed upon for your company to be awarded.
MYTH: Always/never protest the award of a contract
REALITY: Before protesting, know the potential outcome. In Colorado even if a protest results in canceling a contract award, it does not automatically transfer the award to the Protestor. Ask the purchasing agent listed on the solicitation for a debrief meeting to learn what may be needed for the next solicitation opportunity.
MYTH: Marketing to the government is the same as marketing to the commercial sector
REALITY: Government buys for entirely different reasons, and in an entirely different way than the commercial sector.
MYTH: My Company has a Government Contract, so Work Comes to Us
REALITY: A government contract is like a hunting license, it’s worthless if you’re not out in the woods
MYTH: My Company Knows What the Government Wants Better Than They Do
REALITY: This is a fatal mindset if you want to work in the Government arena. Know the government needs and limitations – if they operate on a 1980s mainframe or network, will your latest/greatest product even work in their environment?
MYTH: Government Evaluators Just Read Proposals
Reality: Government Evaluators not only read your proposals, but they also SCORE/RATE them.
Tips for responding to posted opportunities
When responding to solicitations, remember this is your first impression to the evaluation committee - read and follow instructions from the solicitation
Pay attention to all deadlines
Ask clarifying questions as needed, but only contact the purchasing agent listed in the solicitation. Most solicitations have specific instructions and deadlines for submitting questions.
Do not contact anyone else at OIT to discuss the solicitation as it may result in the elimination of your proposal.
OIT values the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. Any proposal should demonstrate how the vendor incorporates these principles into their business practices.
Highlight if your business is minority-, woman-, and/or veteran-owned and certified.
Solicitation responses are accessible through the Colorado Open Records Act. Components that contain trade secrets or other protected information may be marked confidential. The entire proposal is not confidential.
Respond to all questions/requirements from the solicitation
Present a professional, clear, easy to read proposal; use spell-check; use the format requested
Focus on the solution you provide, this is not the time to throw in marketing
Write to a high school level, not all evaluators are technical
Follow through with promises and contractual obligations on other government contracts/awards you may have
Be there – don’t drop the ball because the quarter is over and sales quota pressure is gone
Remember, government is pressured to ensure contractor compliance and success of project work
Vendor Relationship Management Team
Did you know that OIT has a team dedicated to ensuring that OIT maintains strong relationships with vendor partners? We would love to connect with you, and can be reached at email@example.com.
Invoices & Payments
To expedite payments, here are a couple tips:
- Ensure that your invoice includes the correct purchase order or contract number, name of the project and project lead (as applicable)
- Send your invoice electronically to: OIT_AP_Invoices@state.co.us
To sign up for EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) for direct deposit of state payments into your financial institution, please reach out to OIT_AP_Invoices@state.co.us.