The Acting Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Lesley Field outlined the key areas where OMB is striving to improve IT acquisition, and detailed the initiatives underway.
Speaking at FCW’s Federal IT Acquisition Summit last week, Field listed OMB’s key priorities on IT acquisition, includes leveraging the Federal government’s IT spend, adopting innovative business practices, building a modern acquisition workforce, and engaging industry partners. All of these priorities are laser-focused on delivering the mission better and faster, using better solutions and more innovative solutions and practices, all while being good stewards of taxpayers, as Field said here at the summit.
Field noted that her team is trying to move their valuable resources, time, vendor’s time, money, and workforce away from this unnecessary repetition of contracts, where they have a lot of duplication. She said they want to move all of those resources up the value chain, so the agency can spend more time and more energy on their high-value genera of contracts. To accomplish this goal, OMB brought category management under the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) to help bring more attention to the issue. Field pointed to the consolidation of contracts like the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Contract and mobile unlimited plans. She claimed that with category management, the program has achieved USD15 billion in cost avoidance across the entire Federal budget, with USD 1.2 billion for common IT goods and services.
As the agency moves up this value chain, they want to ensure that the agency is bringing innovative practices to the acquisition cycle, Field noted. She also emphasized the role of the TechFAR playbook in improving practices as a first foray into targeting acquisition strategies for a particular kind of commodity or services. Field said that as the agency was putting the PMA together, Margaret Weichert, who is the deputy director for management at OMB, reminded the entire team on the acquisition side, her team actually brought money to the table. The acquisition team, because they know how to get things done, they actually bring savings in terms of time and money to the table. The field also stressed the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting for Digital Services that was developed this year and anticipated to use that model for other kinds of acquisitions.