5 Key Recommendations for Improving State IT Procurement

Published: September 21, 2017

Contracting TrendsGeneral Government ServicesInformation TechnologyPublic Private Partnerships

In a joint publication from leading government IT and procurement associations, communications and teamwork are listed as key to transforming IT procurement in the public sector.

A recently released report examining IT procurement by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) and the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) has found that State officials should focus on collaboration and teamwork to create IT procurement processes to foster innovation in their agencies, both within government and with outside entities.

According to officials at NASCIO and NASPO, a priority should be to move agencies away from the traditional definition of procurement – buying hardware and things – to the more current focus of problem-solving. The report made the following key recommendations for improving the procurement process:

  1. Build Closer Relationships: Within government, no department or agency is an island, and different departments should emphasize common goals and seek to attain them as a group. The report recommended that government departments should consider cross-educating and training all parties and clearly defining roles and responsibilities.
  2. Centralize IT Procurement: The report emphasized centralizing IT procurement under one umbrella to boost state buying power, save time and money, and increase clarity. Centralization is useful in that it helps with accountability, increases transparency, and maximizes value in large procurements.
  3. Negotiation Works: According to the report, most states do use negotiation in one form, and most entities find it beneficial. Negotiating earlier in the procurement process, rather than at the award or post-award stage, could be helpful for both parties, in that it ensures all are on the same page and drives a higher probability of a mutually beneficial partnership.
  4. Thinking Small is Big: The procurement cycle is oftentimes protracted and complicated, and this can contribute to difficulties with landing innovative technology quickly. Using different methodologies to procure smaller projects can be more efficient, effectively segment the risk, and increase the transparency of the process.
  5. Involve the Private Sector: The authors of the report suggest working with all parties, including from the private sector, to promote flexibility and communications. Private sector entities often have ideas of their own, which could be embraced and utilized, rather than simply seeking prescriptive specifications in the RFP.

Source: GovTech