When It Comes to Fed IT Contract Competition, People Matter

April 21, 2011
Cyber Security, FedCyber Wire
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via eCommerce Times

Retooling federal IT management won’t come easily or quickly, but agencies increasingly are including management capability criteria in their “requests for information” to vendors. With this aspect of contracting gaining more attention, vendors that can enhance their technical offerings with tools that federal project managers can use to better plan, manage and track IT procurements may have an edge.

Vendors competing for federal information technology contracts are required to meet a broad array of standards reflected in much of industry jargon, such as cybersecurity, interoperability and scalability. Technical factors are critical, of course.

At a Senate hearing last week, however, it became clear that as the federal government strives to improve the productivity of IT, another factor is equally important: people — especially the people who are most directly involved with federal IT direction and procurement.

Sen. Thomas Carper, D-Del., chairman of a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee dealing with information technology, covered a wide range of issues dealing with federal IT at the hearing. But Carper, as well as several witnesses, emphasized factors dealing with the competency and behavior of IT personnel.

For example, Stephen O’Keeffe, founder of MeriTalk, reported at the hearing on the results of a survey conducted by his organization. The poll measured attitudes of respondents about the 25-point federal IT reform plan rolled out by the White House Office of Management and Budget last December. Respondents included 159 federal IT employees and 100 private sector staffers. The results were not encouraging in terms of the federal employee attitude on the potential success of the reform plan.

Continued here.