Acquisition and Procurement: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

With another Government Fiscal Year ramping up, we're starting with a whole new year of budget and contract opportunities in the government market. As we've written here before, the acquisition and procurement process in government is evolving to adapt to the technologies and services being procured as well as changes in the workforce that supports it.

The federal government has been rolling out a number of changes to modernize the procurement process. The Government Services Administration (GSA) is taking steps to streamline their scheduled offerings from two dozen into one. The goal of this consolidation is to remove overlap between schedules and eliminate confusion around what schedule should be used. This shift is happening in three phases:

  • Phase 1 -- Issued a consolidated schedule solicitation with a simplified format, streamlined terms and conditions, and new categories and special item numbers (SINs) This phase is complete.
  • Phase 2 -- Mass modifications of existing contracts. Finishing in 2019.
  • Phase 3 - Final consolidation. Slated for July 2020.

In other efforts to be more efficient, procurement teams across government have been looking at implementing emerging technologies to automate manual processes, plus speed up and secure the overall acquisition lifecycle. For example, the use of blockchain is helping buyers "comparison shop" for pricing as well as closing out contracts.

Finally, acquisition groups are playing a big role in ensuring new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) are consumable by the federal government. GSA is partnering with the Pentagon's Joint Artificial Intelligence Center to advance the efforts of the AI Center of Excellence, employing tactics that have worked in other agencies including the Department of Agriculture.

We've pulled together a number of events that are applicable to the procurement community as well as industry and government looking for ways to introduce new technologies and services into the government.

  • Shared Services Summit 2019 (November 14, 2019; Washington, DC) - This event brings together more than 400 individuals from across the federal CxO community (acquisition, financial, HR, IT and performance) to address common opportunities and challenges in sustaining progress in shared-services implementation.
  • SMART PROC GovCON 2019 (November 18-19, 2019; Frederick, MD) - In its 17th year, this event connects attendees with government, academia and industry leaders discussing trends in defense and civilian agency program priorities. The event includes insight on pricing intelligence, compliance and other key factors for successful procurement.
  • ACT-IAC Small Business Alliance: Straight Talk Featuring Category Management Discussion (November 20, 2019; Falls Church, VA) -- As the federal government works to buy smarter, government-wide category management is an approach being used to support the federal agencies and their need for savings, value, efficiency and responsiveness in the purchasing process. This collaborative discussion will allow industry to learn about this all-encompassing acquisition strategy, the ways they can position themselves through category management and how they can better service the federal government as partners in the buying process.
  • Government Contract Management Symposium (December 9-10, 2019; Arlington, VA) - The theme of this year's annual event organized by the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) is "Driving the Future of Acquisition - Focus on What Works." Through keynote addresses from contracting and acquisition leaders, nontraditional panel discussions, 35 breakout sessions, and many networking opportunities, attendees will be immersed in the trends and best practices in today's market.
  • GSA FAST Conference (April 14-16, 2020; Atlanta, GA) - This training conference is designed for government employees who manage programs or influence and make acquisition decisions as well as current and prospective industry partners interested in supporting government mission work. Sessions will focus on honing acquisition fundamentals (for both industry and agency partners), sharing underutilized acquisition strategies and demonstrating their value, exploring what's on the leading edge (legislation, reform pilots, and initiatives), and connecting pockets of innovation across government to accelerate the pace of transformation.

We always love to hear from you. Please share other events that relate to contracting, procurement, and acquisition in the comments below.

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