Standardize electronic contracting systems
Federal agencies use different electronic procurement systems, such as AMS's Procurement Desktop and Compusearch PRISM. There's a plethora of them out there. It takes lots of time to train specialists on the use of new systems when they move from one agency to another. Imagine a world where the new contract specialist could simply log on and start using the same system because they knew how it worked. All agencies should use the same software for procurement.
Just to amplify on the lack of competition and eroding industrial base, another downside to having a single government-wide electronic contracting system is that it crowds out small business participation from the competitive process – and we know small business is the engine of innovation and creativity especially in the advancement in technology solutions.
Regarding the “push for a standard procurement process across the federal government”, on the surface this sounds like a sensible approach in the short term. However, once you peel back the onion several trends appear.
(1) The “Technology” phobia and barriers will be a thing of the past
The acquisition workforce is getting younger and technical savvy. The new generation of acquisition professionals don’t get “hung up” about technology as some of us “seasoned” acquisition professionals do. These young professionals will need continual challenges and will not be satisfied with the same old same old – they do not view themselves as back office, transactional electronic “paper pushers” but as forward thinking strategists. They are not challenged buy technology, they will need to be challenged based on the degree of trust and empowerment that management and leadership bestow upon them. This will impact on their ability to effectively structure the appropriate types of business arrangements and creative solutions. Technology is not a barrier.
(2) Technology obsolescence & lack of a competitive marketplace
If one source becomes the sole provider of electronic contracting systems across the government, the result will be that many potential competitors’ will target another sector such as state and local governments or completely shift to another line of business. This will erode the industrial base for federal acquisition management systems.
(3) Been there – done that
DoD tried this one-size-fits-all approach with the Standard Procurement System more than a decade ago. This standardization effort failed for many reasons.
Sarah: Interesting and intriguing concept. IMHO it would be pretty tough to narrow down to a single "one size fits all" solution given the fact that there are currently multiple commercial sources that can meet the needs of the government competitively. These sources will demand, and rightfully so, fair opportunity to compete for agency requirements. Unless our national focus shifts away from CICA, fair opportunity, socio-economic advantages, harnessing the strength of the competitive marketplace, etc. to some other less open and competitive process, it is unlikely that one source will provide these solutions. Additionally, when you have only one source you create artifical dependance and monopoly and you can see your costs skyrocket.
Within Federal agencies (DOD, Marines, Army, USAF, Navy) use different everything electronic procurement forms, systems.... Presently you re-wright SOWs/PWSs... many ways for each Acq/Contract. One set of requirements, but many ways to get requirements to an RTEP. In the past 12 months I have used three different contracts for task and writing requirements different each time (this is a health/stress issue).
Automate more, get IT/Services...Weapon requirements from the source customer, feed the requirements to academia for reality checks, solutions, and finally project presentation to industry for proposals, then let industry do what they do best make a product that an Independent party (academia) has well defined .
Yep, and FBO needs a new up-to-date user friendly system with more options for searches, etc. They need a system that does not have so many logins and clicks