March 29, 2023 • Announcements

The digital transformation that’s modernizing procurement

Insights from the ServiceNow California State Summit

City Innovate and ServiceNow made big news at the California State Summit announcing their game-changing solution for government. City Innovate Co-Founders and CEOs Kamran Saddique and Jay Nath, and VP of Professional Services Marlon Paulo were joined by Joshua Wilkinson and Garrett Wells of CalRecycle to discuss how Document Process Automation with ServiceNow is bringing people, process, and technology together to help government agencies work smarter.

The conversation focused on City Innovate and ServiceNow’s mission to help government agencies modernize around real-time collaboration. Embracing the automation and digitization of the procurement, contracts, and grants process, gives all stakeholders the visibility to contribute, coordinate, and achieve their desired outcomes. Below are some takeaways from our panel.

Built with ServiceNow

City Innovate and ServiceNow have come together to deliver game-changing speed and efficiency for procurement and contract management. The combination of City Innovate’s Document Process Automation and ServiceNow’s workflow automation capabilities are streamlining solicitation package development, bid intake and evaluation, and contract management administration. The combined solution can boost collaboration, efficiency, and transparency across procurement and contract teams.

“Making sure you can perform reviews and evaluations efficiently and use that data downstream is critical. In an emergency, you want to know who is pre-qualified for specific services, where they’re located, and their capacity. Being able to render that using ServiceNow, and ensure workflows are automated, is crucial because you have to move quickly. That’s the challenge. How do you do this in a competitive way? That’s where the opportunity with ServiceNow and City Innovate coming together is going to be very powerful.”
– Jay Nath, Co-Founder & CEO, City Innovate

“We’re using technology to optimize every state dollar that we have. That’s where ServiceNow comes in, tracking those backend dollars and making sure that the federal assistance money comes back into the state of California.”
– Joshua Wilkinson, Staff Services Manager, CalRecycle

CalRecycle clears wildfire debris

CalRecycle is a unique government agency. In addition to the typical services you might expect it to provide, it’s also responsible for cleaning up after all natural disasters in California. Wildfires keep the organization the busiest. Debris removal projects are extremely complex, going into communities, removing the disaster-related debris, and allowing the community to rebuild, with billions of dollars in play. In addition, since CalRecycle works with FEMA, the state agency is required to use a competitive process for procurement, even for natural disasters and emergencies. And competitive processes take a long time. CalRecycle’s hack is to turn to innovative new solutions that work fast, leveraging technology to deliver on its mission.

“We want to deploy fast, we want to get people back in their homes fast, we want to get reimbursed by FEMA fast, and we want to deliver value for all the taxpayers in the state of California. Every time a truck pulls up to a site and debris gets thrown in that truck, we have to track that. We have to know how many pounds come off each specific parcel, and we have an entire team, independent from the procurement team that does nothing but just track invoices.”
– Joshua Wilkinson, Staff Services Manager, CalRecycle

“It’s critical to have a vendor pool and eliminate that administration process, so that during an emergency you have a bench of vendors that you can easily call on to address your needs. When I was the Chief Technology Procurement Officer for the state of California during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to conduct and complete procurement faster than the virus was spreading. Traditionally, competitive procurement takes 18-24 months, but we delivered products to market immediately, to keep up with the pandemic.”
– Marlon Paulo, EVP of Professional Services, City Innovate

“When you’re looking for a vendor with nine years of experience, you really don’t know how you’ve shrunk your pool. If you reduce that to five years, you could have ten extra vendors that can respond to your bid. That’s the power of the data.
– Kamran Saddique, Co-Founder & CEO, City Innovate

The dawn of digital transformation

Today, states are facing unprecedented challenges to how they protect the health, welfare, safety, and sensitive information of their residents. Many of these challenges stem from difficulty in completing solicitations and the lack of inclusivity of various solutions. Technology and innovation can be deployed to address some of the state’s most pressing challenges, but only if procurement processes are modernized to ensure that solutions fit the problems they are designed to solve. To respond, government agencies are undertaking a digital transformation, deploying new technologies and relying on a challenge-based approach to accelerate procurement. The results are producing reduced risk, decreased costs, and accelerated timetables.

“This year we’re expecting game-changing results because everything is going to be submitted electronically. Everything is going to be reviewed electronically. And we are going to be able to build faster than ever before.”
– Joshua Wilkinson, Staff Services Manager, CalRecycle

“My job is to break down barriers within departments and streamline processes. We started with ServiceNow and we’ve added City Innovate for procurements. Our mission statement is to build a fully circular economy through digital innovation.”
– Garrett Wells, Information Technology Supervisor, CalRecycle

“Our work is extremely complex and it has a massive impact, yet we were using Excel spreadsheets and doing the best we could with the tools we had. Now, we’re doing procurement with City Innovate, and we hope to link the data in City Innovate to ServiceNow and track all of our payable invoices.”
– Joshua Wilkinson, Staff Services Manager, CalRecycle

Compliance first

Compliance is extremely important in procurement. It ensures that the process is fair, transparent, and ethical. Compliance promotes accountability and helps to ensure that procurement decisions are made on the basis of merit, and that contracts are awarded to the most qualified and responsible vendors. Overall, compliance is essential to maintaining integrity and ensuring that taxpayers’ money is spent wisely and effectively. City Innovate builds compliance into the platform, helping procurement staff get solicitations out to market.

“When you look at our partnership with ServiceNow they do that intake, focus on the “non-IT, do those “fair and reasonables.” With competitive IT solicitations, there are a lot of documents to ensure that you’re in compliance. But if there are last minute changes, how do you ensure that those documents are still compliant? How do you work with the legal team? City Innovate works with customers to ensure their documents are constantly compliant.”
– Kamran Saddique, Co-Founder & CEO, City Innovate

“Pre-qualification is important. It needs to be rigorous, it needs to be efficient. And it needs to be an open and competitive process. How do we create those guardrails? How do we take the complexity out of the process, and still have that compliance piece built in?”
– Jay Nath, Co-Founder & CEO, City Innovate

“We actually realized we weren’t in compliance in some areas, but through the process, using the City Innovate platform, we solved those issues.”
– Garrett Wells, Information Technology Supervisor, CalRecycle

Breaking new ground

Modernizing the tools used in the procurement process is changing the way government is working, and how constituents are receiving services. Digital-collaboration tools are helping agencies increase workflow and do more with taxpayer dollars. City Innovate’s no-code platform enables government to accelerate the acquisition process around technology, non-IT goods, and services 70%. Check back to learn more about the game-changing combination of City Innovate’s Document Process Automation and ServiceNow’s workflow automation capabilities.