Briefing: Sound strategy key to successful IT procurements

Many government sourcing and technology procurement efforts are failing to deliver optimal value to customers and constituents, according to market research and consulting firm Gartner Inc., Stamford, Conn.

"The way government agencies source and procure technology is deeply rooted in the historical practices and challenges of government itself," said William Kumagai, managing vice president for Gartner Consulting.

"The net result is that large IT procurements often take more than a year to complete, an alarming number are curtailed by protests from the vendor community, and most fall short of meeting ever-increasing customer expectations," he said.

Kumagai's comments are part of a new Gartner briefing series, "Optimizing Public Sector IT Procurements" to be held next month in Chicago, New York and Sacramento, Calif.

To address these challenges, Gartner suggests that government agencies optimize the way they acquire solutions from and partner with the private sector.

They can do this by:

  • Developing an effective sourcing strategy. An agency must determine its business needs and compare them to the state of its technology-based solutions, then identify any needed improvements.

  • Evaluating their procurement resources and processes, and use best practices. If an agency has not completed a large systems integration contract or an advanced technology sourcing effort recently, then they should consider getting help.

  • Building contracts with terms and conditions, statements of work and key measurement criteria that are established and negotiated to protect the agency's needs.

  • "Many governments have determined that technology has much to offer in achieving government agencies' objectives. But progress must be monitored at the beginning of a project as well as every step of the way," Kumagai said.

    "Technology will change over time, and the perceived needs evolve as the project evolves," he said. "To reach a new desired state, the agency must be prepared to grow and the vendor relationships must allow for that possibility."

    About the Author

    William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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