A specially appointed task force made up of executives from the federal and state governments issued a set of 21 recommendations on Thursday to improve California’s information technology procurement, proposal evaluation and vendor management.
The task force, made up of experts appointed by California Gov. Jerry Brown and Controller John Chiang, provided recommendations on how to improve the state’s management of future IT projects from the stages of design and procurement though the final completion of the project in a report titled, “Recommendations to Improve Large Information Technology Procurements: A Road Map for Success in California.”
- The California Department of General Services, California Technology Agency and Department of Finance should abandon the Feasibility Study Report and restructure the project-approval process to create two stages: initial approval and detailed planning approval.
- Understand, document and validate business requirements and objectives before solicitation.
- Use business process reengineering to modernize and standardize state processes.
- The Procurement Authority should strengthen the market research requirement in the project-approval process and provide detailed guidance on how to conduct market research, including the use of one-on-one meetings.
- Require the acquisition strategy and procurement plans to describe the governance body for each project that includes a transparent, clear, timely, and robust decision-making process.
- Under the authority and direction of the CTA, extend the Office of Systems Integration (OSI) model to the rest of the state for large-scale IT projects.
- The Procurement Authority should require a formal staffing plan as part of the project-approval process.
- The Procurement Authority should develop a cadre of procurement and legal staff well versed in the use of PCC 6611 and expand its use for IT projects.
- At the recommendation of the project executive, allow for a contingency contract dollar amount consistent with the size and complexity of the project.
- The Procurement Authority should study and annually report on the viability and utility of using alternative contracting vehicles.
- The Procurement Authority should develop and publish a model procurement task plan that establishes the goal of a 10-month maximum timeline from RFP issuance to contract execution.
- The Procurement Authority should conduct formal post- project evaluation of major procurements, with annual reporting on lessons learned and needed improvements.
- Use a combination of quantitative and qualitative criteria to evaluate proposals.
- The CTA as the state’s technology leader must set an expectation that IT procurements are iterative and that staff should expect and plan for change.
- The Procurement Authority should develop and publish a standard, streamlined framework for the addendum process.
- The Procurement Authority should require a contract- management office for large-scale IT projects and should assess the need for a central contract management office.
- Develop and use contract incentive provisions to reward excellent performance and address underperforming projects.
- The CTA should identify methods to collect vendor performance data and incorporate it into prescreening of vendors for future procurements.
- Reduce and track vendor changes of key personnel and subcontractors.
- The Procurement Authority should develop an ongoing forum for vendors and state staff to meet outside of the pressure of solicitations.
- The CTA should review the procurement life cycle to identify opportunities to increase effective and fair communication between the state and vendors.