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Have any evaluations coming up?

Have any evaluations coming up?

Spring is a time for renewal, growth, and of course, government contracting.

As we move into the heart of the procurement season, many of you are busy developing new procurements and will be managing evaluations as the proposals come in.

The evaluation phase brings with it a whole new set of pressures:

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How to Protest Proof your Evaluations

How to Protest Proof your Evaluations

Contract protests are on the rise—with sustained protests more than doubling over the past 5 years.  From anecdotal evidence, it appears that over the past 1-2 years, they have gone up even more.  Among the agencies we meet with, we are hearing stories of up to half of acquisitions being protested when the dollar amounts are high and especially in IT.  It seems what was once taboo is now just a normal cost of doing business.

If this is the new normal in government acquisitions, then agencies would be wise to plan for this also.  I propose that you build ‘protest planning’ into your evaluations as well.

What does this look like?

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Protests have doubled over the past 5 years—what’s an agency to do?

Protests have doubled over the past 5 years—what’s an agency to do?

According to a 2012 GAO Protest Report, the number of sustained protests on federal procurements have doubled over the past 5 years.  Protests can cause an immense amount of stress and strain on any agency, as they are forced to put a halt to important projects and devote their time and resources to gathering materials, conducting forensics, and responding to questions from investigators.  How can agencies reduce the chance that they will end up in a costly protest?

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Why aren’t we meeting small business goals?

Why aren’t we meeting small business goals?

Agencies are required to meet small business contracting goals but every year, it is only a small percentage that actually comes close.   Why is this?  One very simple reason is that information on qualified small businesses does not flow to the CORs who are conducting market research.

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Are your contracts REALLY compliant?

Are your contracts REALLY compliant?

Most of the time, our contracts seem to hum along without too much drama.  Our contractor does what they’ve committed to do, the COR seems to be on top of things, and so far we are within budget.

But all that glitters is not gold, and it can be hard to tell the difference.

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Do you want to know what’s under the contract hood?

Do you want to know what’s under the contract hood?

Contract oversight can be like buying a car.  You walk the lot and find a real beauty of a car—shiny, blue, just like you always wanted, and at a price you can afford.  You start to fall in love with it, and know you should ask to look under the hood.  But do you really want to take a look?

If you do look under the hood, chances are you will see some flaws.  They might be little problems, or they could be catastrophic.  The question is, how hard do you want to look?

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What’s your contracting legacy?

What’s your contracting legacy?

Federal managers, especially those involved in procurements, say that they want to have a lasting impact and leave their organizations better off than before they came. Most start out with grand plans, an open mind, and a real desire to make positive changes.

But then something happens… The change is much harder than they realized, or they come to understand that their organization is more interested in avoiding trouble than making things better. They may start to implement a new system, but when it doesn’t really achieve the goal, and it becomes more trouble than it was worth, they give it a rest. Or the whole process is just too burdensome to begin in the first place. So risk aversion becomes the goal, not transformation. Managers become discouraged, hold the line, and fire up the retirement clock to count the days.

But what if you really could have an impact?

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Top 10 ways to avoid contract oversight

Top 10 ways to avoid contract oversight

While contract oversight and transparency is a lofty goal, some folks would rather avoid it.  Here is my top ten list of how to avoid contract oversight:

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Does doing a great job just get you more work?

Does doing a great job just get you more work?

In every organization, there are the superstars and there are those who are struggling.  The level of skills and capabilities can vary greatly across members of the acquisition team.  But what happens when you are one of the superstars?

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How analytics can cure today’s procurement woes

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Via Washington Technology by Walt Sirene

Using spend analytics can help solve many of today’s procurement woes. Here are 10 questions to ask that can make for better acquisitions.

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‘Bridging the Gap’ in IT Leadership

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‘Bridging the Gap’ in IT Leadership

Via ncmahq.org by Michael Fischetti

While it may be some time before it becomes clear what went wrong in developing the Healthcare.gov website, some themes emerged from a recent Time magazine article.

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Acquisition in the crosshairs amid DOD restructuring

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Acquisition in the crosshairs amid DOD restructuring

Via fcw.com by Amber Corrin

The Defense Department is facing significant challenges and changes in the coming months and years, and with a mandate to streamline and cut spending, acquisition is emerging as a critical area. DOD officials expect to see big changes in acquisition, whether they involve reforming how the military buys its weapons, IT, services and other goods; improving the workforce in charge of purchasing; or handing off certain responsibilities.

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DHS to centralize budgeting, aquisition

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Via Federal Times

The Department of Homeland Security is beginning to centralize its budgeting and acquisition processes in order to boost efficiency, according to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson.

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Two bills look to give small business an edge in contracting

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Two bills look to give small business an edge in contracting

Via fcw.com by Adam Mazmanian

House Small Business Committee, is introducing a pair of bills Feb. 26 designed to increase small firms’ participation in federal contracting and improve the quality of contracting data. The Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act would raise the percentage of small businesses among prime federal contract recipients from 23 percent to 25 percent, and the percentage of subcontract recipients to not less than 40 percent of the total.

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What Federal IT Managers Are Doing Instead of Hiring

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What Federal IT Managers Are Doing Instead of Hiring

Via nextgov.com by Brittany Ballenstedt

Hardware skills and IT procurement were the only two areas where IT leaders said they had adequate talent.

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Agency FOIA officers discontent with House reform bill

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Agency FOIA officers discontent with House reform bill

Via FederalNewsRadio.com

The FOIA Act of 2014 would amend the Freedom of Information Act in 12 ways. It calls for the online portal and requires more oversight by agency inspectors general. But some agency FOIA officers say the bill only would improve the information disclosure process minimally.

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Government Owning the Cloud, Big Contract to Adobe: Procurement News Round-Up « Public Spend Forum Public Spend Forum

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Government Owning the Cloud, Big Contract to Adobe: Procurement News Round-Up « Public Spend Forum Public Spend Forum

Via publicspendforum.org by Jonathan Messinger

In a good example of shared services, more and more agencies are choosing to use other federal agencies’ private clouds instead of building their own or relying on a commercial provider to host. The Agriculture Department’s National IT Center (NITC) became the first federal cloud provider to be certified last summer and today, NITC’s cloud customers include nearly every USDA agency and office, plus a growing list of federal agencies, including the Homeland Security and Labor departments, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration. The Defense Department has also used the NITC cloud for several one-off applications.

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