Competition brings out innovation

Direct competition with companies for information technology projects is

the key to bringing out innovation, according to a leading federal procurement

officer.

Competition called for by the Office of Management and Budget's Circular

A-76 has proved to be an effective way to inspire government innovation

and save money, said Deidre Lee, the administrator of OMB's Office of Federal

Procurement Policy. Lee, who will become director of procurement for the

Defense Department in June, spoke at SAS Institute Inc.'s executive conference

Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

Lee said that government and the private sector win about half of the time

in A-76 situations, but the taxpayer saves about 20 percent all the time.

OMB Circular A-76 calls for agencies to prove that government workers can

accomplish the agency's mission more efficiently than a contractor.

"Government folks have the innovation in us; the competitive process just

brings it forward," Lee said.

Also on the procurement front, Lee said performance-based contracting for

federal IT procurements would not yield the desired outcomes if "results-oriented

requirements" were not built into the language of the contracts. Simply

automating systems and claiming to follow performance-based practices will

lead to wasted time and money if open lines of communication are not built

into the process.

"Automating systems where the information doesn't go where it is supposed

to and doesn't deliver on the mission [at hand], only allows you to buy

the wrong thing faster," Lee said, adding that "results-oriented requirements"

are the keys to a successful IT procurement.

MORE INFO

"Group offers option to A-76 competition" [Federal Computer Week, Aug. 23,1999]

OMB Circular A-76

BY Dan Caterinicchia
May 3, 2000

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