Digital technologies are transforming consumers’ every day lives. Today’s citizens, warfighters and veterans expect a government that can provide the same on-demand digital services. Empowered by digital transformation, warfighters can retrieve critical geospatial intelligence and enable successful mission completion at the push of a button and doctors can identify patterns in health data that can pinpoint whether a veteran is prone to contracting a specific illness.
To enable such innovation, government must first be able to easily purchase these technologies and the infrastructure necessary to support them. Yet in many cases the current IT acquisition process limits advancement. For example, not all agencies conduct the tailored market research necessary for each unique RFP, potentially costing government. Additionally, RFP requirements frequently specify a solution or vendor, rather than a statement of needs, desired capabilities, functions, and or service levels linked to mission outcomes.
For government to unleash innovative solutions, we recommend five steps, with one critical element being market research. Often a lack of market research leads to RFPs that include requirements based on specific brands, for example, iPad or similar, rather than agency needs, which might actually require a tablet that can take high quality pictures and send email. Market research should include meeting with and learning from industry to educate decision makers on capabilities they otherwise would not be familiar with.
Backed by market research, agencies can define requirements by needs, rather than brand names, enabling them to find more cost-effective solutions tailored to their mission objectives. Such requirements support a more competitive RFP process, ultimately driving down agency costs.
What are the other four steps to an efficient acquisition process? The Take Action: Modernize Your Network eLearning course outlines a federal acquisition process that allows agencies to harness the latest digital tools and lower costs while improving services and support to citizens, warfighters and veterans.
You can learn more about federal IT acquisition reform and other important topics in federal IT through a series of eBooks and insights from the 2016 Brocade Federal Forum: http://www.modernizeyournetwork.com
I welcome a conversation on how we can improve federal acquisition. Please connect with me on Twitter @TCeleste2014 to continue the conversation!