3 Ways Procurement Teams Can Make Smarter FFYE IT Purchasing Decisions
The 2018 federal busy season, or FFYE, is upon us. With almost one-third of agency dollars being awarded during the last quarter of the fiscal year, this is peak buying season and the busiest time of year for federal procurement officers.
But with the pressure to make smart IT buying decisions – and very little time to do so – FFYE is also a stressful time. However, procurement teams are not alone. There’s an entire ecosystem of federal IT and contracting subject matter experts and resources that they can draw on to help make shrewd IT purchases with those “use it or lose it” dollars and take advantage of this crazy time of year. Here are three ways to do just that.
1. Lean on Vendors
Industry vendors are acutely aware of the challenges facing procurement officers and government buyers at this time of year, and they don’t sit on their laurels watching them struggle to spend appropriated funding. Many vendors have strategic relationships with government technology providers and resellers, like DLT Solutions, who can help the public sector make smart technology choices and simplify their technology procurements.
DLT has been there for procurement and contracting offices for more than 25 years and knows what ffye entails. We put in the extended hours, commit to a rapid quote turnaround, and offer the convenience of online chat. We can also connect agencies with more than 45 leading IT brands and contract vehicles including GSA IT 70, SEWP V (a big favorite this time of year because of its short processing times), CIO-CS, and multiple DoD ESI BPAs. A range of contracting options is important, but DLT also has the in-house knowledge to educate procurement teams on how each contract works and how it can benefit their agency while making the procurement process efficient and pain-free.
2. Have Candid Conversations About Your Needs
Procurement officers must exercise strong oversight and be even-handed in their dealings with the private sector, but at the same time don’t let this discourage communication. Vendors, resellers, and contractors are there to help you meet the needs of your agency’s mission. As such, they need to understand your procurement needs and the outcomes you’re seeking. The risk of not communicating can lead to poor buying decisions and, potentially, longer-term risk. With a persistent spotlight on how the government spends its budget, candid conversations about program needs and agency budgets can help shape a more successful procurement outcome.
3. Focus on Curbing Wasteful Spending
The year-end spending spree has been under much scrutiny in recent years, with agency heads and watchdogs warning that the rush to spend leads to lower-quality acquisitions and that emphasis should be placed instead on long-term investments. Consider this: in 2017 agencies spent a whopping $11 billion in the final week of the fiscal year on everything from alcohol to clothing, pest control to public relations.
Procurement officers know that smart buying decisions are much easier to make during Q1, Q2, and Q3 when agencies have more time to search for the best product or service, but, with talk on Capitol Hill about curbing wasteful spending, the pressure during Q4 2018 is heating up.
In the craziness of FFYE season, how does a procurement officer differentiate a smart IT purchase from a wasteful one. Once again, look to the vendor community. Because much of the government’s IT is procured through resellers, it’s important that these resellers have technical experience on-staff, not only on the products they’re selling but how those solutions work together and with existing legacy investments in mind.
For instance, in addition to helping agencies make smart, strategic IT buying decisions, DLT has developed an innovative, customizable tool – the Enterprise Agreement Platform – that helps agencies make informed investment decisions, improve operational efficiencies, and identify opportunities to reduce costs. For example, data analytics helps procurement officials identify trends and make data-driven investment decisions. It also prevents duplicative spending by centralizing management and establishing a comprehensive inventory of licenses, and more.