Before Contracts Advance how were you sourcing public sector contracts/frameworks?
Prior to having any solution in place, TTM were reliant on multiple portals and sources such as TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) with opportunities coming in via a centralised bids inbox. Back in 2015 TTM started to use a competitor and we had that subscription in place until 2017, at which time the benefit was questioned and service stopped. At the beginning of 2021 I thought it would be beneficial to look at a better alternative having sensed the offerings in the market had developed and a gut feel that TTM was missing opportunities. From a previous role I had the opportunity to use Contracts Advance, which I selected via a thorough benchmarking exercise. So, I knew how good Contract Advance was as a service. It was therefore a no-brainer to implement Contracts Advance at TTM and get everyone set up, which you can do with the flexibility the service provides with saved searches and unlimited users.
What were your frustrations about working in this way?
I think some of the frustrations that appeared before were that we were using portals and not an opportunity aggregator, which is what Contracts Advance is. This made it very time consuming and the opportunities coming through weren’t necessarily filtered nor tailored to us. I had to ask myself “Am I getting a holistic view of the opportunities? How big are the holes in the net and how much is slipping through?”. To summarise, Contracts Advance has saved time and gives a degree of reassurance with search criteria(s) set up – which Contracts Advance provided plenty of support and guidance with.
What were the key factors that led you to Contracts Advance?
The main factors that led me to sign TTM up with Contracts Advance is the business model that you follow. It comes down to flexibility and the fact that we are able to have unlimited users. So zero fear of any hidden charges. At TTM, and similarly in my previous role, we have multiple divisions in the business with very separate areas so there isn’t only one person who is receiving all the opportunities. It comes to multiple people so the flexibility to have unlimited users within the business is excellent. The focus on limit goes into the saved searches, I believe we currently have the option to have 8 saved searches and TTM have decided to utilise these by splitting them into different regions so each team can focus on their own saved search. We currently have around 20 users on the service so I’m very comfortable that everyone who needs access to see the opportunities has the visibility. When I look at Contracts Advance competitors, they focus more on the saved searches, giving you an unlimited amount and then limiting you on the amount of users. For me personally, the Contracts Advance model is better suited to us, and I imagine many other customers. It’s just way more efficient as it makes you focus on what opportunities you are really looking for instead of creating lots of saved searches and realising you are in a bit of a mess with alerts piling up from each one.
How easy did you find the onboarding process and set up?
I think the set up process was second to none. Contract’s Advance genuinely want you to succeed and see a return from the service. I think the service itself is intuitive and does exactly what it says on the tin. We were provided with support in setting up the saved searches which was great as well as help validating and checking to make sure everything was set up correctly. We had the option of doing some training sessions for further staff at TTM. This was split into two succinct sessions , which Contracts Advance were very accommodating with. We were told that we can also be provided with refresher training calls throughout our subscription, which are included in the package, which I thought was excellent. The support I found to be of a very high standard and for me is market leading vs some of the competitors.
What benefits does the Contracts Advance service provide you?
For me, the main benefit the service provides for me is the view of live opportunities and contracts. Another great tool is the Active Contracts for pipeline building. I, myself, have also used the integrated Freedom of Information tool to send requests, which I think is very nicely presented, but it would be great to see it integrated a bit further into the platform going forward. It’s such a beneficial feature as it provides you with all the information and puts you in the right direction to get stuff done. The contract database within the service is great in terms of providing everything you need to create a pipeline, create a cold call list and obviously you get your daily opportunities which is the main benefit.
What have you found the most valuable aspects of the service?
Everything I have mentioned so far I think. The one big thing is the super focus and concise daily alerts in my inbox before I log on- everything else is a bonus on top of that. That’s where the biggest value is coming from for me. I have also attended some of the webinars, as its good to remind myself of things and to revalidate information I learned years ago. I can imagine these are hugely beneficial to newbies in bids or sales, or new start-ups. As a free resource, I think it’s excellent value.
What other Contracts Advance services have you explored?
Only the platform so far. I did approach the Advisory team with a potential project, but ultimately ended up doing the project myself. It was, however, really good to see the flexibility of the options and that I was able to come to Contracts Advance, a proven and trusted partner, with a problem and that we could work on a solution.
How happy are you to recommend Contracts Advance to a colleague or peer?
Contracts Advance will be my service of choice for many years to come, unless another competitor can offer more value, which in my opinion would be near impossible. If I’m asked by someone then I would absolutely recommend. I’ve mentioned it to some colleagues in the bid profession already actually that are currently using a competitor. Prove of this is me agreeing to this case study(!).
Is there any other feedback you would like to provide?
Excellent value, if I was to focus on one thing. The support, care and quality of the platform is a real standout. I could not challenge the return on investment vs the cost of the service.