Improve Your Government Procurement Processes with a Modern Acquisition Solution

Ben Allen, Director, Federal Acquisition Solutions
February 8, 2022

Government organizations rely on cross-functional collaboration and workflows to procure anything and everything they need to meet their missions. Every dollar must be accounted for and reported on to ensure transparency for constituents. The US federal government alone committed 10.1 trillion USD in spending in FY21—and this doesn’t even account for state and local government spending or any international, federal, or local procurement dollars. 

As you might imagine—or know first-hand, if you’re a government employee—this need for meticulous tracking and reporting can lead to drawn-out processes and plenty of inefficiencies for agency procurement teams. Acquisition teams often rely on technology that is inflexible, limiting, outdated, expensive to support, and that hinders agency workflows. Agencies aren’t given a wealth of resources and often rely on spreadsheets, email, shared drives, and other manual documentation methods to develop requirements and communicate with contracting teams. 

The result is a slow, drawn-out process with little visibility into status or estimated time to completion, making it difficult for agencies to accurately plan, monitor for roadblocks, and deliver goods and services on time. This is where a modern acquisition solution comes in. 

Disparate technology means antiquated, cumbersome workflows for government agencies.

Stuck with solutions that are outdated and siloed, procurement teams in federal, state, and local governments face several challenges:

  • Disorganization and wasted resources. Agencies and programs risk wasting billions of dollars when they cannot accurately plan, track, or manage awards for the goods and services that they need to accomplish their missions.
  • Delivery delays. With inefficiencies in the acquisition cycle, delivery of critical goods and services is delayed.
  • Tedious, costly tasks. Manual management processes are time-consuming and expensive.
  • Communication difficulties. There is often poor collaboration between contracting organizations and government customers.

Procurement leadership recognizes this isn’t sustainable for government organizations. These teams need technology that helps them do more, better. 

Acquisition modernization impacts the procurement process from end to end.

From market research through contract award and closeout, modern acquisition solutions help government organizations be more efficient throughout their procurement process. The key word here is “modern”—not all acquisition solutions offer the same functionality and therefore present different benefits to users across the acquisition process. 

Requirements

Requirements set the foundation for the rest of the procurement process. Pertinent information must be accessible for requirements staff to make informed decisions on what’s needed for the contract. 

With a robust acquisition solution, requirements teams can easily collaborate with their customers to execute an application. By pulling historical data from other systems, strong acquisition solutions offer suggestions and guide users through the requirements development process, helping to eliminate confusion and boost efficiency.  

Solicitation.

Ideally, the solicitation phase is holistic rather than centrally focusing on a single document. A holistic approach ensures stakeholders are informed and included and that the selection of clauses and provisions, which is often the most tedious, manual task,is simple and streamlined. Eliminating the need for contracting to interpret every clause is essential. 

Look for a solution that centralizes government-wide and agency-specific clauses and provisions. With wizard-driven information obtained from the user, a solution should suggest the appropriate set of clauses based on configurable rules derived from legal regulations. As robust artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities mature, they can be easily integrated into acquisition solutions, making clause selection more efficient. 

Evaluation. 

The process for evaluating vendors is complex, regulated, and the decisions are often protested. On top of that, choosing which vendors to contract with is complicated for procurement teams largely due to management overhead and document-heavy processes. 

To resolve this complexity, transparency is key. The right acquisition solution will generate necessary documentation, minimize manual input, and ensure sensitive documents are kept secure. Evaluation teams also benefit from process automation, because it allows all of the data to be collected within one system and easily combined to build consensus. 

Award.

Once the award process kicks off, contracting staff have to document progress, seek approvals and signatures, and ensure contract file compliance. Managing these tasks means managing the myriad systems that must be checked or updated before the vendor can receive the contract.

Acquisition solutions simplify award report-outs to other core systems, like finance management, invoicing, and government-wide repositories. It also distributes the award to the customer and the vendor. Integrations help government agencies easily verify the status of their vendor with results from vendor verification automatically stored in the contract file. 

Post-award.

Agencies will do their best to avoid costly contract actions, but that’s easier said than done when they cannot accurately plan, track, and manage existing awards for the goods and services that they need to accomplish their missions.

With complete automation capabilities, modern acquisition solutions help staff more readily unlock workflows without manual effort. This functionality offers an early view into option exercises and contract expiration dates, helping to eliminate expensive bridge contracts or lapses in service. 

Acquisition solutions built on low-code platforms simplify and streamline government procurement processes. 

Modernization can be a daunting undertaking for government agencies. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be as cumbersome as it may seem. Low-code platforms help agencies unify and extend their existing legacy systems to maximize benefits and bring mission-critical data into a single view. This helps acquisition teams do their jobs more effectively and take action quickly. Acquisition solutions built on a low-code platform augment human actions within the acquisition experience while automating lower-value tasks.

If your procurement team is looking to identify roadblocks, unify data, and improve manual, challenging, and process-hindering workflows, consider a modern acquisition solution. You can learn more about the benefits government organizations reap from a low-code acquisition solution and how agencies like GSA, DISA, and the US Air Force benefit from this technology in our eBook, Streamlining Government Procurement with a Modern Acquisition Management Solution