Oklahoma’s First CIO Speaks to Procurement and its Effect on Innovation

With even greater attention focused on government expenditures, the need to acquire services for the lowest cost is increasingly in the spotlight. Innovation in information technology, however, may be suffering as a result of the procurement process.

In this interview, Alex Pettit, the current Chief Information Officer for the state of Oklahoma, discusses with Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER how the procurement process often discourages innovation. As he states, it is difficult to solicit creative ideas from vendors, knowing that the state will need to then put out an RFP to obtain the lowest responsible bid. The prospect of competing for their own project idea based on price often serves as a deterrent for collaboration between private companies and government agencies.

His mission is to transform the procurement process to allow for collaboration and innovation, while still being conscious of project cost. As he states, their goal is to “seek a different vehicle for bringing in new ideas and innovations into the state.” In Oklahoma, for example, they have identified six areas where they are looking for new, cost optimizing ideas and have put out RFPs for them. This process will allow the state to investigate and execute project ideas, avoiding low-bidding vendors on their own project ideas. If all goes as planned, they intend to use this process annually.

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