Motorola Solutions has signed contracts with the city of Charlotte, N.C., to provide the city with technological upgrades through the company’s managed assurance program (MAP), which is designed to give customers improved financial visibility to communications projects in a manner that makes budget planning easier.

Charlotte is the first announced customer for the MAP program, which was introduced by Motorola Solutions more than a year ago, according to Kirk Miller, MAP offer manager for Motorola Solutions. As part of the MAP program, Motorola Solutions consults with a customer to determine its long-term communications needs and then proposes a plan to address those needs over multiple years at a predictable budget amount, he said.

“Up until last year, Motorola’s services organization … would kind of dabble in some of those non-Motorola-equipment-type offerings, if a customer specifically asked for it, but we really never had a major play around trying to talk to the customer about their total-cost-of-ownership environment and how they could plan for that over multiple years in a manageable and budgetable fashion,” Miller said during an interview with IWCE’s Urgent Communications.

“Whereas, in the past, a lot of customers have been, ‘Oops, this [system] is going out of lifespan. What am I going to do? I’ve got to buy this, and I’ve got to find money to do it.’”

Miller emphasized that Motorola Solutions does not provide all of the equipment up front and merely stretch the payments over multiple years with MAP.

“This is not a financing plan,” he said. “We break the project down into phases and contract for all the phases at once.”

Motorola works with the MAP customer to conduct an annual needs assessment to determine whether the scope of the agreement should be expanded or reduced,  based on the changing needs of the customer, Miller said. Most MAP deals are designed to provide flat expenses for a period of five years; however, the Charlotte deal extends for seven years with different expense levels in different years, he said.

“With Charlotte, [a flat expenditure each year] wasn’t as important to them as a predictable spend,” Miller said. “So, they chose to not have it really be flat, but they could plan for their scope and their cost over multiple years and know, ‘OK, we’ve got to budget this for 2020.’”

Indeed, such financial visibility is critical to the city of Charlotte, according to Barry Robbins, IT chief operating officer for the city.

“The flexibility of Motorola Solutions’ migration assurance program allows us to concentrate resources on our overall mission of protecting our residents while our network remains at peak performance,” Robbins said in a prepared statement. “The service is an efficient and cost-effective way to meet our ongoing technology needs with a predictable funding structure that eliminates surprises.”