GTSC’s FITGov 2023 Summit: Procurement Professionals Know the Recipe to Advance IT Innovations
The first panel of the Government Technology and Services Coalition’s FITGov 2023 Summit in Tysons, Virginia on Wednesday was titled “IT Procurement Stew: Blending Innovation, Security, and Compliance.” And panelists offered a clear recipe (apologies, seriously) for the stew they think government and industry should be making to take advantage of cutting-edge technology.
Dictionary.com defines stew This way:
- To undergo cooking by simmering or slow boiling.
- Informal – Worrying, worrying or fussing.
- A preparation of stewed meat, fish or other food.
- Informal – A state of restlessness, unease or worry.
The panel’s recommendations? Communicate and collaborate to combine innovation, security and compliance. Failure to communicate and collaborate, and a purchase may bring the government And entrepreneur to worry in a state of agitation.
GTSC acquired the FITGov Summit in 2022 and refocused the Summit’s mission to provide government with the resources and information needed to rule cutting-edge technology before it rules us.
Moderator and FITGov Board Member Soraya Correa, who retired as Director of Procurement at the Department of Homeland Security after 40 years of federal service, opened the session with a crucial question: the world is more complex in part because we are more interconnected. This introduces and increases vulnerabilities, so how do you promote flexibility and agility with advanced technology while maintaining security?
State Department Deputy Director of Computer Acquisitions Jason Passaro is reducing the number of non-professional systems, which present their own security issues. Katherine Lugo, director of the IT outsourcing services division at State, ensures that experts talk to each other throughout a procurement. “We serve as a translator to clarify terms and concepts that different subject matter experts use to talk about the same thing,” she said.
Polly Hall, who championed breakthrough acquisitions as executive director of the Procurement Innovation Lab at DHS before assuming her current role as senior advisor to Chief Procurement Officer Paul Courtney, is building relationships with those responsible for procurement activities – in a large enterprise – to ensure cross-functionality collaboration.
Correa turned the conversation to security by asking how best to structure an acquisition effort to address vulnerabilities early in the process.
Passaro said the State Department’s seven-year, $10 billion enterprise IT services contract, EVOLVE, will include the latest cybersecurity policies. Mission orders issued under the multi-award-winning IDIQ to improve the state’s security posture and promote innovation and modernization will give government and contractors the right starting point, early on, to work on the balance between flexibility and innovation and security. It is essential to take advantage of technology so that it does not exploit us.
Hall emphasized the importance of bringing teams together to do early planning for acquisitions, in order to fully understand the needs and security requirements that come with it. She urges teams to think about how to understand what the end state looks like and not try to put all the requirements on paper at the start. This innovation – thinking about how to do work differently – includes risk discussions at every stage so that risk management emerges with the acquisition plan, and the team shares their understanding of risk and risk management. risks.
Passaro underscored how important that was with a vignette about working with grant managers who took three meetings to reach agreement on a term as fundamental as Date of grant. “On the one hand, it was when the grant was given,” he said. “For another, it was the day an award was signed. For a third, it was something else. They ended up agreeing.”
“But while we have different understandings and definitions of something so simple, we know how difficult it is to be on the same page to improve our security posture,” Passaro added.
Lugo recommended moving acquisition planning “to the left” and including standard cyber language – with the caveat that the team understand what that language means so they can modify the language, so appropriate, to define minimum acceptable risk standards. She also shared the Air Force experience in which teams received change management training so they could incorporate principles and practices into contract and project management.
Correa asked how the government could engage industry in this conversation. Lugo recommended building on the collaboration of major forums that have advanced dialogue between government and industry. His organization created a LinkedIn page to issue issue statements to the industry and solicit feedback. And she adds the Office of Federal Procurement Policy myth-busting memos to the policy in an effort to foster organizational culture change.
“The majority of IT needs are for commercial IT products and services, so we’re emphasizing the hard-to-engage industry,” Hall noted. She meets monthly with industry associations on a range of topics, including their help in shaping reverse industry days and workforce training ideas. The DHS Procurement Innovation Lab focuses on driving culture change, so it helps procurement teams share knowledge within government and with industry through events and bootcamps. They are currently collaborating, in particular, to discuss the implications of large language models for government and industry.
“It’s about the conversation,” Correa emphasized at the end of the panel. “What are we trying to do? What is the end state? What do we need to think about to get there, together?
Being on the same page on these issues has always helped government and industry meet contract and project management requirements and fulfill their missions. But in a world where big language models and generative AI are at our fingertips, communication and collaboration are essential for government and industry to benefit from these technologies, and not be exploited by them.
Stay tuned for more coverage of the FITGov Summit 2023 here at HSToday
GTSC 2023 FITGov Summit: Governing Advanced Technology Before It Ruled Us