Federal procurement officials not ready for Web 2.0, survey says

Only 21 percent ready to invite citizen participation

While nearly half of federal procurement professionals want to improve transparency, most are not ready to leverage Web 2.0 technologies or invite citizens to participate, according to a new survey released today.

While 49 percent of the professionals surveyed would like to advance open government, only 18 percent are ready to use Web 2.0 innovations for reporting contract return on investment, and only 21 percent are ready to solicit citizen involvement, MeriTalk said in its new report based on the survey, titled "Federal Procurement Reform: Change Takes More Than Words."

MeriTalk is an online community founded by public relations consultant Steve O’Keeffe, in partnership with the Federal Business Council, Federal Managers Association, GovLoop, National Treasury Employees Union and other organizations.

To obtain its findings, MeriTalk surveyed 200 federal procurement professionals in January 2010. Most of those surveyed were civilian and defense agency professionals, and 16 percent were federal contractor executives.

Overall, the professionals surveyed estimated that they can save $158 billion a year from their budgets by improving acquisition efficiency.

A large portion of those savings, about $95 billion, would come from reducing the percentage of late projects to 10 percent, down from 28 percent.

The procurement officials said only about 17 percent of federal agencies have implemented and are consistently using Earned Value Management, and 59 percent of the federal professionals lacked earned value management training.

Only 14 percent have implemented and are consistently using capital planning and investment control, and only 15 percent have completed training in those procedures.

While the Obama administration has urged federal procurement officials to adopt fixed firm-price contracts to increase efficiency, only 36 percent agreed that such contracts would improve success rates, 38 percent disagreed and 26 percent said they were not sure.

Overall, 18 percent of the procurement professionals gave their agencies a grade of D or F, 27 percent gave their agencies a  C, 36 percent gave a grade of B, and 12 percent earned an A, the report said.

 

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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