Can Technology Solve Government Procurement?

A common thread among the recent spate of state health insurance exchange rollout failures (e.g., Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon) was the states’ inability to effectively procure, manage and coordinate IT services from multiple contractors.

In each case, the aftermath was a rash of finger-pointing between and among agency managers and contractors, and in some cases, massive lawsuits.

Complex and fast-moving IT projects demand a modern approach to managing multiple contracts and contractors, especially when, as is typical in these projects, the delivery schedule involves numerous and complex interdependencies.

The traditional methods – project management software, spreadsheets, email – just don’t cut it. In a typical scenario, there may be 10 or 20 or even 50 contractors involved, managed by an overworked cadre of government managers, who in turn may report to a number of senior managers. In these circumstances, it is virtually impossible to get an integrated, near real-time view into the status of the various procurements, contracts, and deliverables that are planned, underway, due, or overdue.

I found that across the federal government, where there may be hundreds of thousands of managers with COR responsibilities, there were essentially no practical, integrated software solutions to help them and their supervisors and managers manage these challenges efficiently and effectively. Certainly no commercial products, and the agency-built systems that provided support in these areas tended to be a patchwork of legacy systems that fell short in terms of features, ease-of-use, flexibility, and cross-agency integration.

Jim Tyson – Word to the Wise

I am an IT Senior Executive www.linkedin.com/in/jimtyson1/ with over 30+ years of experience. I have a passion for human nature and Information Technology.

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