Contracts that changed the game

These contracts forever transformed the government market

Usually, we write about upcoming contracts. We cover how much they are worth, what they do and who is likely to bid on them.

However, this issue we’ve taken a different tack. We are taking a look back at the contracts that made a lasting impact on the way agencies conduct procurements.

Most of these game-changers rose to prominence because of timing and leadership.

Many of them came on the heels of procurement reforms in the 1990s that streamlined acquisition processes. And the agencies that led these contracts had managers who were eager to take advantage of the new rules.

Today, a multiple-award, task-order contract might seem blasé, but try it in 1993. It was revolutionary at the time.

Or try outsourcing your entire infrastructure, down to the desktop. Well, the jury is still out on whether that is a good concept, but cloud computing does seem to be picking up steam.

Some of these contracts taught tough lessons about how to procure complex information technology systems.

We developed the list by tapping some of the leading thinkers in the government market and through our own institutional knowledge. But we make no claim that this is the definitive list, and we invite you to add your thoughts on our Web site as to what other contracts should be included and why.

It is healthy, we think, for a market so focused on rapid change to pause and look back at where it has been. This is your chance to add your own perspective.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

Reader Comments

Tue, Jul 7, 2009 JustMe

I worked at GSA's Services Acquisition Center back in "the day", and we certainly were attempting to come up with every conceivable services schedule and building them from the ground, up. I was on the team that transitioned the TQM contracts into the MOBIS Schedule, and in fact, we named MOBIS (at the time: Management, Organizational and Business Improvement Services). I can remember when we presented the name, as a team, to Bill Gormley and he immediately said "MOBIS - Mo' Biz'. I like it!" And yes, it did translate to more business for GSA, as did many of the schedules we developed in the mid-90s.

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