We built GovProcure with several basic requirements in mind. It would have to meet tough federal government standards for the security and privacy of the data it contains. It would have to be massively scalable, capable of supporting tens of thousands of users within a single organization. It would have to be highly reliable, offering better than 99.9% availability – that is, less than 10 minutes of downtime per year, on average.
In some regards, the federal contracting process is much like a very complex factory assembly line. The raw materials and inputs change with each run, but the process remains constant. Some of the steps are serial and sequential, while others occur in parallel, with lots of moving parts and variables, but all of those steps flow toward a standardized result. The key to keeping that assembly line moving efficiently is a well-defined process that provides the required elements on time and at the right place.
Technology has evolved to the point where it is now possible (and easy) to trial software, or Software-as-a-Service and evaluate its usefulness before you buy. Historically, the federal government has invested in costly and time consuming development contracts, only to find that, at times, their expensive investment doesn’t really fit the bill.
But SaaS is turning this situation on its head as agencies are now able to try it before they buy it. So why aren’t they?
In FY 2013, the Federal Government will spend about $500 billion on contracts with private sector firms. This number is down somewhat over the past few years as the Obama administration has sought to consolidate contracting activities and bring back some of this work in house. Yet $500 billion is a huge amount of spending, and indeed, the US federal government is the largest single buyer in the world.
Washington Post by Lisa Rein
A wave of retirements by senior federal employees has begun rolling across the government as aging baby boomers who held on to their jobs during the economic downturn are increasingly calling it quits.
With retirement accounts on the rebound, many veteran workers are finding little reason to remain in government, especially at a time when agency budgets are being slashed, workers are being furloughed and morale is tumbling.
govexec.com by Eric Katz
Defense Department issues new details on sequestration plans for fiscal 2014.
Lots of Little Things – Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Updates from the Federal Acquisition Circular
Every now and then, the FAR Councils issue a Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC).
Business News By Lee Dougherty
Bid protests. Some contractors swear by their value, while others think that they are a waste of time. Some contracting officers view protests as a personal attack on their integrity, others just see them as part of the landscape. What few can argue though is that the informal nature and ease at which protests can be filed can result in filings with little legal merit, which in turn delay the whole procurement process.
Business News [u’Jill R. Aitoro’]
A decision by the Government Accountability Office provides some clarity to agencies managing multiyear contracts, reaffirming limitations on modifications that would bump up the funds needed for future work.
The GAO issued a decision Aug. 16 in response to a request from the chief counsel to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services. That individual was seeking affirmation for a 2011 determination by the HHS secretary, which essentially stated that the agency had not…