If at first you don't succeed...

Last week the National Institutes of Health concluded a procurement Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners that is perhaps the most unusual in decades. Some participants even think it will redefine how the government buys products and services.

But awarding contracts even in record time is the easy part. The true test of whether the CIOSP procurement has worked will be whether contracting officials at NIH are able to get the best deal on every task for customers and taxpayers from a field of vendors that counting subcontractors seems to include every company of consequence in the federal marketplace. Sorting through marketing hype and steering customers to the best - rather than the most familiar - products and services among so many choices will be enough to make the heads of even the most seasoned buyers spin.

As if that weren't enough of a challenge NIH having made itself a test case for procurement reform is already feeling the pressure to succeed. Make mistakes contracting officials have been warned and they could ruin things for everyone else.

Procurement officials should hold themselves to high standards and we should expect the best not only from CIOSP but every other buy. But we should also be prepared to put any mistakes in this or any acquisition in perspective. Part of trying something new is learning how to do it better the next time.

Featured

  • IT Modernization
    Eisenhower Executive Office Building (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

    OMB's user guide to the MGT Act

    The Office of Management and Budget is working on a rules-of-the-road document to cover how agencies can seek and use funds under the MGT Act.

  • global network (Pushish Images/Shutterstock.com)

    As others see us -- a few surprises

    A recent dinner with civil servants from Asia delivered some interesting insights, Steve Kelman writes.

  • FCW Perspectives
    cloud (Singkham/Shutterstock.com)

    A smarter approach to cloud

    Advances in cloud technology are shifting the focus toward choosing the right tool for the job and crafting solutions that truly modernize systems.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.