GSA takes the easy way out to solve contracting challenge

The General Services Administration’s choice to create a blanket purchase agreement for Salesforce cloud integration and support services on the surface seems logical.

GSA Salesforce DecisionIt’s a widely used platform — according to a simple search on website there have been 227 contracts worth more than $61 million since fiscal 2011— and one that needs more structure and control across government.

“The marketplace for Salesforce implementation and integration services was fragmented and had some disparity in there,” said David Shive, GSA’s chief information officer during a press call on Jan. 20. “When we looked, we saw there were no established quality standards for Salesforce development. We saw there were inexperienced vendors that were winning with new Salesforce customers, but sometimes had some dubious results coming out from those inexperienced vendors. We saw there was inconsistent delivery of code and configuration from agency to agency. There was failed implementations that was negatively impacting adoption of the tools and the processes surrounding those tools. And we saw that some vendors were rebuilding the same apps for the same agency and were developing closed systems in an otherwise open environment.”

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Transforming the federal acquisition marketplace: A progress report from OFPP’s Anne Rung

Bloomberg GovernmentIn December 2014, I laid out twenty-two strategic actions to create a new model for the federal marketplace – one that is more innovative, efficient and effective to support the needs of a 21st century government.

As we complete the first year of our implementation efforts, I am pleased to share a progress report. While there is much left to be done, I’m proud that we’ve moved forward in 21 of the 22 actions, thanks to the incredible work of our federal acquisition workforce.

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Past performance: A challenge to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy

Anne Rung is the intelligent, personable administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, and thus the government’s senior procurement policy official.

OFPP(The author of this article, Steve Kelman, held Anne’s job during the Clinton administration in the 1990s.)

On the job somewhat over a year, she counts among her proudest achievements the innovative digital training effort that I blogged about a while ago, as well as the new policy for IT commodity buys (which I also blogged about) that tweaks the balance between getting volume discounts and giving agency managers the freedom to order exactly what they want.

With this blog post, I would like to propose a signature initiative for Rung for the final year of the Obama administration. I suggest she reverse the failure spiral that has devastated the government’s effort to factor in contractor past performance when making new contract awards. The way to do this: Repeal the ability of contractors disappointed with their past performance rating to have the decision reviewed at a higher level in the contracting organization.

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Adjusting government buying habits

The White House and General Services Administration’s category management initiative isn’t just the province of procurement offices and the contracting corps. It will have real impact in program offices as well.

ombEven more so as the practice evolves from its current focus on common purchases to those that are unique and critical to the missions of a few or just one agency.

Managing spending by category won’t just change how common goods and services are bought, it will affect why they’re bought. Both ingredients of the “why,” requirements and demand, are generated by programs and need to be aggregated in ways that make sense for effective and efficient acquisition to achieve the desired outcomes of the agency.

The Office of Management and Budget and its Office of Federal Procurement Policy are creating an infrastructure that will affect every agency and everyone involved in acquisition one way or the other.

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Transforming the federal marketplace: Reflection at Year One

Dec. 4th marked a significant anniversary in the procurement community — the one-year anniversary of the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Anne Rung’s memorandum for all Chief Acquisition Officers and Senior Procurement Executives entitled, Transforming the Marketplace: Simplifying Federal Procurement to Improve Performance, Drive Innovation, and Increase Savings.

OFPPAnniversaries are a time of reflection, evaluation and motivation. Indeed, in just a few short weeks, one of our most significant anniversaries will be upon us, New Year’s Day.  Each year all of us look back upon our successes, as well as our shortcomings, and make commitments to better ourselves in the New Year.

Rung’s memorandum, which sets forth the administration’s vision for improving the procurement system, contained many promising themes that were welcomed by many as timely and encouraging. Many of these themes were detailed in the Far and Beyond Blog from Dec. 12 of last year. With its first anniversary upon us, today presents a significant opportunity to reflect upon the OFPP memorandum and its impact on commercial item contracting.

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