The Complexities of Government Acquisition

Acquisition-it's a complex topic for the government market. Private sector companies must navigate a complex system to make their solutions and services available to government customers. Federal acquisition professionals are working to ease this process and adapt decades old policies to meet the needs of modern technology buys such as cloud and as-a-service offerings. There are also new mandates and government-wide policies like FITARA that IT and procurement personnel have to understand and comply with.  Add to this the fact that the acquisition workforce is in an incredible state of turnover with older professionals retiring and new ones coming in without the guidance of procurement veterans.[Tweet "Acquisition - it's a complex topic for the government market. #GovEventsBlog"]

The ACQUIRE Conference and Expo that took place in June in Washington, DC was designed to help government agencies create, manage, and run successful programs. The conference program offered federal agency-led training sessions, and government & industry thought leadership panels and keynotes. At the event, the Professional Services Council (PSC) issued their biennial Acquisition Policy Survey that more definitively outlined the challenges detailed above. Some of the findings included:

  • Workforce -- While respondents reported positive trends in workforce capability, lingering weaknesses in critical skillsets persist. More than a competency gap, this year's interviewees expressed concern about a capacity gap. The existing workforce regardless of skill level simply does not have the time and resources to keep up with demand. The government also continues to suffer from a capability gap when it comes to hiring, training, and retaining acquisition workers, particularly in the face of ongoing retirements of seasoned contracting professionals.
  • Budget - While tight budgets are challenging for groups across government, acquisition professionals are largely unfazed by cuts as their work does not change despite the size of contracts awarded.
  • Communication and Collaboration - While acquisition professionals agree open communication and collaboration between government personnel and industry are important, regulations around fair competition make open collaboration and communication with industry difficult.
  • Innovation -- On the whole, respondents are concerned the government does not have a consistent, successful strategy for soliciting, evaluating, and contracting?for innovative ideas from industry. While there may be great solutions to government-specific problems in the private sector, the companies developing these solutions do not have a way to get the technologies to the people that need them the most.
  • Oversight and Compliance - Acquisition professionals feel that policy-makers, while well-intentioned, do not understand the impact regulations have on an already complex acquisition system.[Tweet "Acquisition professionals feel that policy-makers do not understand the complex acquisition system. #GovEventsBlog"]

To help everyone involved in the acquisition cycle, there are a number of events focused on training, networking, and general best practice collaboration. Here are just a couple we have listed on GovEvents.com through the end of the year.[Tweet "To help everyone involved in the acquisition cycle, there are a number of events. #GovEventsBlog"]

  • Growing Your Business in the Federal Contracting Arena July 19; Springfield, VA - Designed for small businesses looking to expand their work in the federal government, this four-hour symposium is the first in a 3-part series by industry expert and author, David Kriegman.  The interactive and collaborative session will prepare attendees for success in full and open competition.
  • World Congress 2016 July 24-27; Orlando, FL - Organized by the National Contract Management Association, this event is the largest education event for contract management, procurement, and acquisition professionals. Individuals from government (federal, state, and local), industry, and commercial business come together to engage and educate.
  • 930.gov: End-of-Year Intelligence August 24; Washington, DC - End of fiscal year is challenging for procurement professionals and contractors alike. This event provides education and tactics around making the most strategic and responsible plans for end-of-year funding.

For more events focused on the acquisition community and practices, see the full list on GovEvents.com.

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