A Look at Avenues of Change Across the Federal Space

Published: June 06, 2019

Acquisition ReformGSAInformation TechnologyOPM

While the federal government isn’t always first to be thought of when it comes to vast, sweeping change, a closer look at its more recent developments provides a window into what change management, as well as the concept of category management, mean to the public sector, and how we are beginning to see both evolve overtime.

Change and Change Management

Change management can be viewed as a process by which an organization alters its approach to strategies, culture, technologies, personnel and/or processes to work toward more efficient and effective long term outcome and resource alignment.

In recent years, we’ve seen an uptick in the Govwin database of requirements focused toward this end. A decidedly strict search of Pre-RFP and Forecast opportunities within the federal Govwin database shows an estimated 72 opportunities currently active across both civilian and defense agencies.

The US Office of Personnel Management, OPM, recently released a Sources Sought Notice in February 2019, requesting industry response for development of a change management strategy for the Trust Funds Modernization Effort. The requirement, Govwin opportunity ID 174925, includes reference to “developing a change management strategy to include a roadmap of actionable milestones to enable TFM to effectively realign resources…improve the transparency of information to stakeholders, and create levers to influence the culture of the organization to support innovation.” There is no incumbent, which serves to reason, as a way forward will be inherently new.

Another effort taking shape and focused on change management practices is the Information Technology Enterprise Program Management Support Services, Govwin opportunity ID 165047. In this procurement, the IRS is seeking to provide an array of IT management and program support services, specifically citing change management as a key component.

These are just two examples of the dozens of active opportunities currently referencing the need for vendors to assist in the change management process within agencies. It is likely we will see continued growth in this need, as further change and work toward efficiency are prioritized by so many agencies.

Change and Category Management

In conjunction with the concept of change and the federal government, but standing on its own working toward efficiency as well, is category management. This is summarized as the federal government’s process to procure smarter, leverage best practices, and overtime work to eliminate procurement redundancies across both civilian and defense agencies. The focused effort toward buying common goods and services as an enterprise really is the main objective. In March of this year, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), released a memo regarding category management noting:

“To implement category management, the Office of Management and Budget (0MB) will require agencies to carry out a set of tailored management actions and provide updates on these management actions to evaluate their progress in bringing common spending under management. The expected result is more effectively managed contract spending through a balance of Government-wide, agency-wide, and local contracts; reduced unnecessary contract duplication and cost avoidance; and continued achievement of small business goals and other socioeconomic requirements.”

Subsequently, the government has defined ten categories of goods and services, with an additional fifty-three subcategories by which to procure goods through moving forward. This is designed to prevent duplicate contracts within different agencies that share the same purpose.

The process being implemented to achieve the long-term goals is being done through both a “best-in-class” vehicle and “spend under management” processes. Best-in-class suggests utilizing GWACS already vetted with long standing power; currently, there are thirty-eight best-in-class solutions. Spend under management directs to spend on contracts meeting defined criteria for management maturity and data-sharing, while using a tiered process to decipher from offices using the best solutions (tier three) to those with spending that is not aligned with the principles expected (tier zero).

Overall, the government is looking at six performance indicators overtime to assess an agency’s category management success. In addition to the best-in-class and spend under management concepts detailed above, cost avoidance, tier zero contract reduction, whether or not a small business was utilized, and government-wide category management training round out the evaluation criteria. In FY19, the government has set a goal of achieving $33.4B in spending on best-in-class contracts.

For vendors looking toward future business specifically within heavily used GSA Schedules, it is important to note GSA previously announced all 24 GSA Schedules will be consolidated in hopes of modernizing the entire procurement experience by late FY2020. This brings greater importance to vendors teaming effectively with one another and approaching the GSA Schedule process efficiently so as to place themselves in an advantageous position once the consolidation takes place. It is likely we will see fewer stand-alone procurements competed as the consolidated category management process matures, thus making it possibly more difficult in the long-run for some smaller business to participate in the federal procurement process without proper teaming arrangement(s).

Change Overtime

The effects of change within the federal landscape can be both valuable and jarring, as positive and negative effects are created from the ripples of processes enacted. Both change management and category management provide opportunities for alterations to the government that hopefully overtime will prove beneficial to both federal agencies and industry alike.