Over the past 15 years, the nature of procurement of information technology hasundergone radical change in government. These changes are due to the development ofnew technologies such as the Internet, changes in laws and rules concerning procure-ment, and a changed philosophy concerning government purchase of IT. Overall, thechanges have moved purchasing from a slow, legalistic process emphasizing lowest costto a more flexible process emphasizing best value (Rocheleau, 2000). At the Federal level,this change was marked by the replacement of the Brooks Act by the Federal AcquisitionsReform Act of 1996 that pushed streamlining of the procurement process. Similar changeshave been widely implemented in state agencies too (National Association of StatePurchasing Officers, 1996) including the following recommendations: (1) Simplify pro-curement to make it more effective and lower costs of purchasing; (2) Use electroniccommerce to speed the process and improve prices and competition; (3) Emphasize bestvalue rather than lowest cost; (4) Use a problem-oriented bid process to get the vendorcommunity to help use its creativity and discretion to solve problems; and (5) Study andrevise the processes linked to applications in order to make the process less costly andmore effective. In this chapter, I will break our discussion of purchasing into four keyissues that need to be performed well for it to be effective: (1) Needs assessment; (2)Sourcing issues; (3) The contracting process; and (4) Managing the project.
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