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Even President Obama is sounding the procurement alarm

Even President Obama is sounding the procurement alarm

In Monday’s Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Special Report, President Obama was asked what he has learned from the Healthcare.gov experience.   In his response, he focused squarely on federal procurement problems, and particularly on the feds struggle in procuring IT, by stating, “[the] way the federal government does procurement and does IT is just generally not very efficient.  In fact, there’s probably no bigger gap between the private sector and the public sector than IT.”

The President is so right.

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Which model do you prefer?

Which model do you prefer?

Suppose there is a software application that is critical to the effective performance of your job’s requirements.

Suppose that application is accessed via a web browser.

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Contract management workflow: Could disjointed processes lead to contract management problems down the road?

Contract management workflow:  Could disjointed processes lead to contract management problems down the road?

Through marketing our GovProcure application, we have had the unique opportunity to meet with 10s of federal agencies and learn about their specific processes for contract management.  An interesting thing has come to light.  Many agencies do not have certified CORs involved in the full procurement lifecycle—all the way from Presolicitation through Closeout.  Depending on the agency, CORs can come in at any step along the way.  A common trend is to have program folks (who may or may not be certified CORs) write the statement of work, develop the IGCE and evaluation criteria and pass that off to the Contracting Officer/Specialist.  Then an evaluation team steps in for source selection, which may or may not be the same folks involved in developing the solicitation.  Finally, once a vendor has been selected, the contract is officially assigned to a COR, who may or may not have had any involvement in the procurement up to this point.

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GovProcure™ – critical requirements and design choices

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GovProcure™ – critical requirements and design choices

We built GovProcure with several basic requirements in mind. It would have to meet tough federal government standards for the security and privacy of the data it contains. It would have to be massively scalable, capable of supporting tens of thousands of users within a single organization. It would have to be highly reliable, offering better than 99.9% availability – that is, less than 10 minutes of downtime per year, on average.

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Contract Management- Lessons from the assembly line

Contract Management- Lessons from the assembly line

In some regards, the federal contracting process is much like a very complex factory assembly line.  The raw materials and inputs change with each run, but the process remains constant.  Some of the steps are serial and sequential, while others occur in parallel, with lots of moving parts and variables, but all of those steps flow toward a standardized result.  The key to keeping that assembly line moving efficiently is a well-defined process that provides the required elements on time and at the right place.

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Is the Federal Government Ready For Free Trials?

Is the Federal Government Ready For Free Trials?

Technology has evolved to the point where it is now possible (and easy) to trial software, or Software-as-a-Service and evaluate its usefulness before you buy.  Historically, the federal government has invested in costly and time consuming development contracts, only to find that, at times, their expensive investment doesn’t really fit the bill.

But SaaS is turning this situation on its head as agencies are now able to try it before they buy it.  So why aren’t they?

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How are we managing $500 billion in contracts? Does anybody know?

How are we managing $500 billion in contracts?  Does anybody know?

In FY 2013, the Federal Government will spend about $500 billion on contracts with private sector firms.  This number is down somewhat over the past few years as the Obama administration has sought to consolidate contracting activities and bring back some of this work in house.  Yet $500 billion is a huge amount of spending, and indeed, the US federal government is the largest single buyer in the world.

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