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TMCNet:  ACT-IAC Identifies Do's and Don'ts of Communication in Federal IT Acquisition Process

[February 02, 2011]

ACT-IAC Identifies Do's and Don'ts of Communication in Federal IT Acquisition Process

FAIRFAX, Va. --(Business Wire)--

The American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council (ACT-IAC) has released a report designed to improve communications between government and industry in the Federal IT acquisition process by providing a list of Top 10 Do's and Don'ts. ACT-IAC believes that better communication and collaboration between government and industry will result in more effective and innovative technology solutions for the government and improve the effectiveness of the acquisition process.

To improve communication between government and industry, ACT-IAC's Acquisition Management Shared Interest Group (SIG) sponsored a workshop on RFP-related communications that included over 80 acquisition experts and program officials from government and industry. The results of the workshop are being published as a list of Dos and Don'ts for government and industry. Among the recommendations:

For Government:

  1. DON'T call the procurement best value if it isn't best value - be clear about the evaluation criteria
  2. DON'T provide a point of contact who doesn't answer phone calls or emails
  3. DO allow at least a 2 week period after the final answers to questions are posted to allow industry to adequately address clarifications or changes in the RFP
  4. DO use Statement of Objectives (SOO) - have true objectives and not "shall statements". Encourage innovation on both sides. Promote more industry involvement through RFIs, one-on-one market research & other techniques
  5. <>DO establish a realistic schedule - be mindful of major holidays

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For Industry:

  1. DON'T go around proper communication channels, violate the black-out period, or ask unnecessary questions
  2. DON'T inflate or misrepresent your expertise or bad mouth your competition
  3. DON'T blindly cut & paste (from draft response, company literature or previous proposals) - customize to agency requirement
  4. DO understand your own capabilities and decide accordingly (and realistically) on what to bid
  5. DO put client interests first

"Better communication between government and industry in the acquisition process is a winning proposition for every one - government, industry and the public," said Ben Coit, ACT-IAC's Acquisition Management SIG chairperson. "This workshop brought together experts from both government and industry. The result is a consensus list of Do's and Don'ts for both government and industry. We look forward to continuing this conversation."

The importance of better communication between government and industry was one of the key points raised in ACT-IAC's October 22, 2010 comments to OMB on recommendations for improving the acquisition of large-scale IT systems. OMB concurred with this comment and emphasized the importance of better communications in the 25-point plan issued by U.S. Federal CIO Vivek Kundra to improve the management of Federal IT. Point 24 of that plan includes a "myth busters" campaign directed at improving government-industry communications.

For additional details on ACT-IAC's recommendations to OMB, or to download key findings from the "RFP Communications Workshop" please visit www.actgov.org/RFPCommunications

About ACT-IAC - Advancing Government Through Collaboration, Education and Action

ACT-IAC is recognized as the premier government IT community's public-private partnership and is an example of how government and industry work together. We are a non-profit educational organization created to advance government in serving the public through the effective application of IT resources. Our education, training, programming and collaboration opportunities enhance and advance the government IT profession. ACT-IAC's objective, vendor and technology-neutral, and ethical forum allows government and industry to collaborate and improve government through technology.

Learn more about our organization and how to become a member at www.actgov.org or call (703) 208-4800.


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