3 Strategies for Procurement Success

Published: September 08, 2017

ARIZONAContracting TrendsGeneral Government ServicesInformation TechnologyOHIOSAN FRANCISCO, CITY AND COUNTY OF (SAN FRANCISCO) (CALIFORNIA)

Departments are exploring solutions that bring creativity, flexibility and agility to procurement.

Public agencies have been working to improve how they find and purchase technology for decades, and yet procurement has been one of government’s most sensitive points. One issue is that public-sector technology today is largely unrecognizable from that of a few decades ago. While the pace of technology innovation has grown exponentially, timelines for procurement haven’t kept up. Additionally, the RFP process can be time-intensive and costly, and rigidity often found in RFPs can inhibit creativity and flexibility for the procurement of effective IT solutions.

To contend with these challenges, public entities across the county are adapting and incorporating new strategies to improve the IT procurement process. In Arizona, procurement officials have emphasized a nimble approach to procurement, which includes renewing contracts more frequently to keep the technology fresh. Officials in Ohio have noted the time and cost of responding to a complex RFP, which can inhibit smaller, but potentially more nimble and innovative firms, from responding. Revising terms and conditions and simplifying RFP response requirements led to greater accessibility for vendors of all size and makeup to respond. Officials in San Francisco have realized the value of investing in local and small to medium sized tech firms to incorporate forward-looking ideas. The San Francisco Startup in Residence (STiR) program embeds young tech companies within the government to familiarize them with the problems governments face, resulting in more effective public-facing products.  

These three strategies have resulted in successes for the respective governments. It is clear, however, that government IT procurement still has areas for improvement, and these three cases represent only a few of numerous possible approaches that are being adopted to improve the procurement process for both governments and vendors.

Source: GovTech