States need to change how they do IT procurement, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) announced Feb. 25. Citing a survey it conducted last year called The Value Equation, the organization uncovered that 47 percent of state CIOs have negative outlooks on IT procurement processes, while 70 percent of NASCIO’s corporate partners shared that outlook.
One of the association’s corporate partners characterized its dealing with government as “disorganized, inconsistent processes, governance and standards across agencies even with a supposedly centralized procurement function.”
NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson noted in a Feb. 25 blog post that procurement problems in state government are nothing new, but remain a critical problem.
"In 2004, during my first year as executive director, NASCIO released a recommendation for states to remove unlimited liability provisions from procurement law. And this topic has been one we have discussed consistently in the years since," Robinson wrote. "... In the end, if something doesn’t improve, states will never be able to achieve their vision of digital government and enjoy cost savings, efficiencies and transformation of service for the citizens they serve."
Darryl Ackley, secretary of technology for New Mexico and NASCIO president, stated in a press release that while procurement’s problems can’t be fixed immediately, the road to change must be embarked upon now. “State CIOs must work together with their governors, legislatures, chief procurement officials and private-sector partners to ensure that states can achieve their vision of digital government and enjoy cost savings, efficiencies and enhanced services for the citizens they serve,” he said.
For states that want to get started, NASCIO offered five crucial steps that must be taken to improve procurement processes:
New approaches to procurement are one of the fastest moving trends in the government technology space today, but states lag behind. Georgia, Virginia, Minnesota, Utah, Massachusetts and Ohio lead the states, while organizations like 18F borrowed experience from the startup world to speed up federal procurement. On Feb. 23, 18F announced it would extend services to state and local governments with the creation of a new program that could save millions in procurement costs.