Sometimes baby steps make sense.
The government is all about investing heavily in technologies like cloud and artificial intelligence. With these massive efforts come massive contracts, but is that necessarily the best way to innovate?
Many modernization efforts have been lackluster because of the way procurements have been structured. Massive, multibillion-dollar contracts spanning years with the same vendor means the government has put all their eggs in one basket; this has led to issues with integrating and implementing these “innovative” procurements. These mammoth contracts open the doors to legal disputes, among other bottlenecks to implementation, illustrated best in the legal battle over the Defense Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract.
Why Big Procurements Aren’t Always Better
Big contracts don’t set the government up for success. Agencies invest millions of dollars without the ability to test the vendor and the technology. Multiyear contracts allow few options for agile pivoting, in case something doesn’t work out and the mission needs to change directions.
Smaller procurements are more flexible and agile, and they also allow for increased competition, which leads to better solutions that are more impactful for government agencies. In addition, when contracts are narrow at a smaller scale, it diminishes the risk of a vendor protesting, which stops the entire project and pulls you into court. Thoughtfully planning smaller procurements can save the protest headache that will suck time and money away from your mission into a wearying process with a side effect of unsavory headlines.
Big contracts also can lead the government to vendor lock, which is problematic for a variety of reasons. When an agency is beholden to one vendor, system integration, maintenance, and future work become nearly impossible. (Big contracts can lead to vendor lock, which results in a lot of the IP struggles we see today.)
Keep reading this article at: https://www.nextgov.com/ideas/2020/02/modernize-push-smaller-procurements/162869/