Precious Patch, junior proposal manager at CollabraLink Technologies, and Polly Hall, strategy lead at the Department of Homeland Security Procurement Innovation Lab, detail their proposals to make the government contracting process smoother.
The Chief Acquisition Officers Council will examine two proposals to improve the contracting experience at their December meeting. One solution comes from the private industry, the other from government, but both won awards at the ACT-IAC Executive Leadership Conference last month. Precious Patch, junior proposal manager at CollabraLink Technologies, is looking to make the acquisition environment better. “We should have an acquisition platform that really eases the burden of submitting proposals. It’s a portal where people can log in, contractors are really able to understand the government’s requirements, they can look at videos, pictures, really understand the problem they are trying to solve and provide innovative solutions. It is a great way to draw in commercial companies and startups who are really fresh and innovative. They are a little burdened by the government process. And on the government side it frees up employees to be able to focus on what really matters.” Polly Hall, strategy lead at the Department of Homeland Security Procurement Innovation Lab, said that a good way to change the process would be to use “interactive dialogue” instead of paper proposals for acquisitions. The concept would give acquisition officers an additional hour of conversation time after an oral presentation to pose questions to the contractor. “Through the Procurement Innovation Lab we have piloted this with two teams at FEMA. The program manager for one of those procurements called this a game‑changer. She said that the end result, being able to truly understand the offers they have to choose from, transformed their decision-making process,” Hall said. “One of the offers in the post-award interview, summed it up in a way that really tells the story. He said, ‘The government provided us every opportunity to explain the value we bring to the table. If we don’t win this, it’s on us.’”