• The Latest Federal IT Procurement Reform: Get Ready for RFP-EZ

    February 1st, 2013 by admin Categories: Blogs Tags: , , , , ,

    We are beginning to see some early results from the Obama Administration’s Innovation Fellows Program created last year. The Presidential Innovation Fellows program is designed to pair “top innovators from the private sector, non-profits, and academia with top innovators in government to collaborate on solutions that aim to deliver significant results in six months”.

    One of the most intriguing initiatives is RFP-EZ which was just announced this month by Fellow Clay Johnson:

    Today we’re taking the wraps off of a new experiment in government contracting: RFP-EZ. Our intent is to make it easier for small businesses to sell to government and easier for government to buy from small businesses. RFP-EZ is a marketplace, specifically built to buy high end professional services from small businesses in the technology sector.

    Starting right now, you can bid on a variety of contracts today ranging from video transcription to web design to web application development. If you’ve never done business before, you don’t have to worry about getting on any schedules or long, cumbersome registration processes. We’ll deal with that when you become a potential awardee, and help you through the process.

    You can register and start bidding now, here: http://rfpez.sba.gov

    See full story here.

    Yesterday the venerable Federal Computer Week weighed in on RFP-EZ. Can RFP-EZ really change procurement?

    RFP-EZ was one of five projects the fellows program began in August 2012; its beta version launched in December. In an interview with FCW, Clay Johnson, an innovation fellow focused on RFP-EZ, said the initiative will streamline the process for certain procurements. Specifically, it is designed to make it easier for small businesses to join the federal contracting marketplace and easier for contracting and program offices to find low-cost, high-impact solutions to meet agency needs.

    RFP-EZ’s most interesting aspects include software to help contracting officers draft statements of work through a template-driven process. Plus, they can store, reuse and even share SOWs. For companies responding to the solicitation, they can respond online “rather than having to download a solicitation and develop a bid off-line.”

    While the process is too early for thorough reviews the federal IT community has a mixed reaction at this point. TechLeader.TV friend Paul Brubaker now at DOD had these thoughts:

    When the project was first announced, Paul Brubaker, who was in the private sector at the time and is now director of planning and performance management at the Defense Department, said RFP-EZ could encourage a proliferation of poorly conceived mobile apps, similar to the way agencies once rushed to build websites that then went largely unused.

    My reaction to any innovation in procurement, I like to say, has always been consistent. Given the legacy of challenges and disappointments surrounding the entire IT procurement process whether at the federal or state level, new ideas should always welcome, and should be given an opportunity to improve what virtually all agree is a process that can always use further improvement.

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