Here’s what to expect at the end of the fiscal year. (Hint: It’s going to be more chaotic)

Chris Wiedemannfederal budget, fiscal year, procurementBy Chris Wiedemann, consultant

The end of the federal fiscal year is just around the corner and it always brings its share of chaos as agencies scramble to make the most out of their “use it or lose it” money. This year will be no different.

In fact, given the truncated nature of this year’s omnibus funding bill, the situation on the buy-side has become even more chaotic, as customers try to move through FY17 appropriations and secure FY18 budget requests at the same time.

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Are commercial online marketplaces in the government’s future?

By Steve Charles, immixGroup co-founder

Proposed legislation out of the House Armed Services Committee would give the Department of Defense and other federal agencies the ability to buy commercial items (COTS) via online marketplaces without contracting officers having to determine price reasonableness before ordering. To make sure prices paid are competitive at the time, the marketplaces would provide all kinds of data to the government, including posted prices for similar, competitive items on the system at the time of sale. Suppliers would be able to update pricing in real-time.

DOD has long complained about GSA Schedule contracts, as well as GSA’s online marketplace, GSA Advantage, arguing that it’s not a real marketplace.  Product catalogs are not current, pricing is not maintained in real-time and many of the contractors lack strategic relationships with the manufacturers of the products represented.  Agencies put in orders on GSA Advantage, only to learn two weeks later that those ordered items are not actually available. Even people at GSA have told me that it’s much more reliable and cheaper for them to leverage the micro-purchase rules and use commercial shopping sites.

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New OFPP Memo: a Beacon of Opportunity for Technology Companies that do Business with Government

Tomas OKeefe_65x85Tomas O’Keefe, Senior Analyst, Market Intelligence

The new OpportunitiesOffice of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) head, Anne Rung, released a memo focusing on updates to federal acquisition policy. It’s no secret both agencies and vendors have struggled with overly long solicitations and proposals, complicated contractual language, and unique government requirements. The OFPP memo outlines specific actions that agencies are expected to adopt in the coming year in an effort to improve acquisition and transparency across the board. This falls in step with a new trend brought to the forefront by the Obama administration that aligns with the Digital Services Playbook, modernizing IT infrastructure and how the government purchases IT.

The memo entitled “Transforming the Marketplace: Simplifying Federal Procurement to Improve Performance, Drive Innovation, and Increase Savings,” highlights three areas that agencies will focus on in FY15:

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