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BPM Improves OMB s Acquisition Processes in Federal IT Restructuring

Malcolm Ross, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy, Appian
January 18, 2011

Part Three of a Four-Part Series (see Part Two)

The White House wants to make some substantive changes to the way the federal IT acquisition process works. Beyond creating a specialized group of IT acquisition professionals, it's looking to identify IT acquisition best practices and adopt them across the government.

The goal is so important that the OMB has integrated it into its recently announced 25-point plan for restructuring federal IT, in what OMB calls "aligning the acquisition process with the technology cycle."

Fortunately for OMB, this goal has come many steps closer to being met with the application of BPM at the Defense Acquisition University (DAU). DAU is the Department of Defense's corporate university for acquisition education, providing continuing education for over 126,000 military and civilian acquisition personnel. As the government's expert on procurement and acquisition, DAU is using BPM to run its own operations.

The first application DAU found for business process management was micro-purchase management, creating a system to reduce processing time, eliminate repetitive data entry, and create reports on data and statistics about requisition training trends. Ultimately, DAU's vision is to use BPM as its central business system, migrating into a larger procurement application.

If one of the OMB's plans for restructuring federal IT is to identify IT acquisitions best practices and adopt them government-wide, it can hardly do better than to start with DAU. After all, the university's job is to teach best practices. DAU is using BPM now to understand and optimize its own practices. What DAU learns will become,by default, industrybest practices, or at least critical factors in understanding those practices.

In the final installment of our series, we'll look at OMB's notion of governance and accountability, and the role of BPM in meeting that goal in the restructuring of federal IT.