Government to Improve IT Acquisition with Collaboration Tools

Collaboration_KSKevin Shaker_65 x 85by Kevin Shaker, Analyst, Market Intelligence

Lack of transparency and communication is one of the fundamental challenges facing government agencies. DOD struggles the most to communicate effectively between information silos. DOD CIO, Terry Halvorsen recently highlighted this problem as it pertains to the IT acquisition process. Halvorsen stated that too often federal contracting officers are not embedded in groups that deal directly with the programs they support. Therefore, purchase criteria is not always based on sound decisions — the government obtains goods and services that may not be well suited for certain agencies. Sometimes IT officials sitting in the room of acquisition deliberations is not enough — the government needs better alignment between product requirements development and acquisition professionals.

COTS collaboration tools ultimately can align the IT community’s needs with the acquisition community’s phrasing, language, and resources.  However, it’s not just the DOD that has the need for collaboration solutions, civilian agencies need them too. For example, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of the Chief Financial Officer has been scrutinized by the GAO for poorly communicating requirements and financial means for its New Core System, as it transitioned to the Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s shared services. In retrospect, better collaboration and program management tools could have helped HUD with program implementation, meeting requirements, and generating cost savings — as the Department is now under budgeted, with unmet requirements.

Portfolio and Program Management (PPM) products augment collaboration tools, driving better IT acquisitions. Together, they create a robust solution that coordinates process planning with understood requirements and expectations. The Office of Management and Budget recently issued a mandate that states desktop and laptop purchases must go through Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs). OMB issued this ruling in an attempt to gain better visibility into these kinds of purchases. To give you some context – In FY15, agencies awarded more than 10,000 contracts, combined worth over $1 billion for basic hardware. If you sell inventory, portfolio and project management solutions, there is opportunity for you here. In most cases, the issue is lack of visibility into what contracts acquisition groups have. Here’s where your solution can help identify what contracts the agency has used in the past and what IT purchases of products and services makes sense for future. The broader idea is to make government acquisitions as efficient and effective as possible, and PPM and collaborations tools do just that.

Need help identifying top federal IT decision makers and opportunities? Contact immixGroup’s industry-leading Market Intelligence team today to learn about specific programs and contacts that have a pressing need for your IT solution.

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