Kevin Curry

Logan, these are helpful answers. The basis behind a mandatory cooperative purchasing agreement seems full of common sense. It’s a “write once, use many” constructive outcome. As you hint, though, it’s not just awareness, but willingness. Purchasers find reasons not to use contract vehicles that are available to them. It might be some other rule in the contract vehicle. It may often be a perceived or actual requirement. On the software side, I wonder if we don’t make further progress when we choose or require open source software. This leaves the door open to customization of an off-the-shelf product when it is needed and takes away a reason not to go with a best practices for purchasing. As for RFPs, I hesitate to even get started on the topic of “indefinite deliver, indefinite quantity” (IDIQ) contracts. In the fed space, companies are able to get in midstream, but only at the subcontractor level. These so-called “license to hunt” contracts are supposed to qualify a short list of tier one, prime contractors. I cynically suspect the purpose of this is to set up an industry bureaucracy that is capable of handling the government bureaucracy. It’s less about the companies and the tech and more about the plumbing between the gov & industry for multi-year engagements. New companies get to the IDIQ midstream by partnering with a prime contractor. This may be different at the local, state, and federal levels. You also seem to be speaking of software and hardware while I am thinking of services. But I don’t think the principles are terribly different. To sum up, 1) we can make governments, contracts officers, and purchaser more aware of mandatory cooperative purchasing agreement clauses. 2) We might be able to lessen resistance to using blanket purchasing agreements for off-the-shelf if we use open source. 3) For multi-year agreements we should allow for new providers to be included after the first year.