Not All Federal IT Procurement Is Broken

This post, written by Jonathan Messinger, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum.

We mentioned yesterday in our news round-up the launching of the Defense Intelligence Agency’s Needipedia, a site that allows tech users within the agency to communicate their needs directly to vendors through Open Broad Agency Announcements. It’s an interesting new venture from DIA, though they clearly lost an opportunity here to name it the much more mellifluous Wikineedia. FedNewsRadio has the full story on their site, but I thought it was worth highlighting a few points about how the new site, launched in October, highlights some of the common problems with not just federal IT acquisition, but federal procurement in general.

  1. Long Lead Times. Over and again we’ve heard that government is unable to acquire innovative solutions because the acquisition process can take even a year to complete. But by using BAAs, and allowing the users of the technology to communicate their needs directly, the DIA hopes to cut down on those lead times considerably.
  2. Muddled Requirements. With many IT acquisitions, because they are not experts in the field, buyers have a difficult time expressing precisely what’s needed from a tech solution. The announcements on DIA are simple and broad, simply naming what capabilities the agency needs, and allowing the vendors to shape how they would solve the problem.


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