2015 Rising Star Awards
IT vendor management specialist and Buyers Club project manager, Department of Health and Human Services
- By Mark Rockwell
- Nov 23, 2015
In the world of federal IT acquisition, Mark Naggar is a revolutionary firebrand on a search-and-destroy mission.
"The federal government spends around $50 billion on IT services each year, and we're plagued by ineffective and inefficient acquisition of IT services," he said. "The acquisition approach and subsequent implementation and maintenance of IT systems [are] outdated and long overdue for improvements."
At the Department of Health and Human Services, Naggar has used his Buyers Club initiative to touch off a reform movement that is spreading to other government agencies.
He began by setting up a two-stage online system that skips the rigid, cumbersome acquisition process in favor of eight-page concept papers and statements of objectives. The Buyers Club approach streamlines activities for government and industry alike and allows vendors to show off what they can do. It also minimizes the risk to federal agencies by freeing them from long, expensive, multilevel contracting processes, which have all too often wound up failing.
"There's a high failure rate associated with the acquisition of IT services, at HHS and throughout the federal government," Naggar said. "Given previous failures -- of all sizes -- associated with the acquisition and implementation of IT services at HHS, there's a tremendous need to mitigate risk of failure and ensure success."
Like most common-sense, innovative ideas, Naggar's Buyers Club is generating wider interest, with acquisition officers at other agencies eager to learn how to use it. The Inaugural Conference for Innovative Acquisitions in February drew more than 500 employees from 20 agencies, despite a snowstorm that slowed Washington to a crawl the day of the event.
Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
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