The arduous process that small technology vendors must go through in order to contract with government agencies is preventing government innovation when we need it most. As the CEO of 12-person tech firm that recently went through the process, I have experienced this first hand. [Note: This article represents the personal views of Kuang Chen is the CEO and founder of Captricty, a government contractor.]
While a partnership with the federal government is unusual for a company of our size, we got lucky. We were introduced early on to an internal advocate who saw the value of our solution to transform paper backlogs into digital data at the Food and Drug Administration — performing weeks of manual entry in hours to update a critical drug safety database. As we learned, even with a strong advocate, the procurement hurdles were significant. After getting proof of concept in two short weeks, it took two more months to prepare the paperwork for a security authorization to operate (ATO) and five months for a stop-gap contract. Even after clearing the original paper jam, we are without a contract to handle the additional demand that is now flooding our way.
So where should government begin when thinking about how to streamline the process? Here are three observations:
- Security review is confusing and cumbersome.
- Complex contracting offers no simple path for a relatively small project.
- Existing procurement models don’t work for new technologies.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/technology-news/tech-insider/2014/01/analysis-three-procurement-problems-worth-solving/77918