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It is not novel to suggest that the federal IT acquisition process needs improvement. For one, the issue is well documented and seems to be receiving ever more attention. And many institutions are already pursuing large scale, creative solutions to the problem.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services is using a “Buyers Club” to bring agile concepts to acquisitions.
  • The General Services Administration is consolidating professional services contracts and using category management to reduce administrative overhead and simplify acquisitions.
  • Even the private sector is getting into the act with the Govtech Fund’s “SmartProcure” that is establishing a global procurement intelligence platform.

We are all anxious to see these bold initiatives take hold and transform the federal acquisition process. But until then, and maybe in conjunction with these solutions, we should ensure that there is no duplication across our current portfolio of IT service contracts.

It is not uncommon for training, change management, testing, data migration, communications, or advanced customer support services to appear in multiple contracts within the same IT shop. We can find the duplication by scrutinizing the contracts or the activities of the contractors performing the services.

It would seem that unless we have thoughtful acquisition business processes to remove duplication these larger efforts may not be as effective as intended.