Modernizing federal tech will require the government to work closely with startups and innovators, but before that can happen, agencies must make themselves more appealing customers, according to technology experts.
Agencies will have to adapt to being one of many customers when they work with companies from commercial hubs like Silicon Valley. Government and industry technologists said lengthy timelines and convoluted purchasing processes are deterring many startups from sharing their breakthroughs with federal agencies.
On Thursday of last week, experts offered a variety of strategies for lowering those barriers to entry, ranging from streamlining the Federal Acquisition Regulation to posting project solicitations on TechCrunch.
Within the startup community, “there is a perception the government is going to take a very long time” getting projects over the finish line, said Meagan Metzger, founder and CEO of the IT accelerator DCode, at a forum hosted by GovernmentCIO Media. While some vehicles exist for fast-tracking contracts, she said agencies’ largely opaque procurement process isn’t conducive to fledgling companies driven by quarterly reports.