Public safety security solutions are incredibly important to the communities they serve. They’re so important that, on the surface, it makes sense to partner with a consultant who can help design a plan that will help you accomplish your goals or implement a new security initiative. While it sounds good and looks good on paper, there are some common issues many government agencies run into when they start a consultant-based project. ICU has several former consultants on staff, and we frequently bat cleanup on consulting projects, so we can save you some time, money and headaches with this info.
Here are some of the biggest issues we see when governments bring consultants in on public safety security projects:
1. The Consultation Comes with a Hefty Price Tag
It doesn’t matter if you have a security consultant who charges by the hour or one who takes a percentage of estimated cost reduction based on the plan; with technology consultants, you’re looking at spending quite a bit before you begin any type of implementation. Any hurdle in their design means more hours or change orders, which means more cash up front before you get close to a completed design. And they typically can’t give you a final quote for the project, so you’re playing a guessing game that nobody wins.
2. Project Timelines Are LONG
Did you hear the one about the government agency that spent three years working with a consultant and didn’t even wind up with a final solution? It’s no joke. At least it wasn’t to the key stakeholders involved, or the taxpayers, or the people who would have benefited from the solution. And unfortunately, this isn’t that uncommon. In addition to the time it takes to design a solution, the integrator still has to build and implement it. So ain’t nobody breaking any speed records here.
4. They Don’t Connect with the Integrator
3. The Design Probably Won’t Be Comprehensive
Consultant designs are generally not built with all of the information that a builder needs to complete implementation. Sure, they’ll do on-site surveys and interview stakeholders and decide where the technology needs to be placed onsite. What they most likely won’t include are ancillary technologies and considerations such as wiring details, required bandwidth impact on network and a lot of other small details that have a big impact on the success of the solution.
Planning, design and implementation are vital to the ultimate success of a solution, which makes it pretty insane that with consultant-based projects, the two teams never, ever talk. The consultant hands over a design, and the solution provider has to take that plan and install it. This leads to all kinds of confusion, especially when you factor in the lack of detail and the excessive timelines we’ve previously discussed. You could wind up needing a lot more parts and labor than originally planned because of underlying structures or price increases that naturally occur in the years it can sometimes take to get from design to implementation.
5. There’s No Incentive to Deliver Results
Look, it’s hard enough to find any technology solution provider that will have an eye toward measurable business outcomes. They’re often distracted by the technology involved in a project and the actual results you’re shooting for can get overshadowed pretty quickly. Imagine trying to get that from a person or group who is solely responsible for delivering the design. Once you have your plan in hand, they don’t have any skin in the game at all.
Look, we’re not trying to paint consultants as bad people or villains, but the nature of their process makes it difficult to work within the needs of government agencies in terms of cost, time and outcomes. We’ll continue to discuss how you can avoid these issues, so be sure to subscribe to our blog here so you can get all of the information you need.