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FCW : February 2015
February 2015 FCW.COM 31 Acquisition of the Future is an initiative that seeks to frame a vision in which acquisition creates significant new value for the government through fresh approaches, modern technologies and a new generation’s capabilities. Participants include a grow- ing number of federal executives, industry leaders, notable academ- ics and rising acquisition profes- sionals who have been meeting since 2013 to create a framework for what federal acquisition can become to meet the demands of the Collaboration Age — and beyond. Supporters are continuing their quest to find and capture real-world examples that uncov- er emerging trends. AOF capital- izes on those initiatives to dem- onstrate the value that vibrant, forward-focused federal acquisition can provide and to model the strate- gic decision-making and investments required now to transform the future. Such experiments are emerging everywhere, especially in the realm of IT. Because technology is evolving so rapidly, the government has difficulty acquiring, modernizing and maintain- ing it in a way that keeps pace with innovation and commercial best prac- tices. Current government buying pro- cesses and culture also make it hard for agencies to take advantage of the pace of technological innovation. Con- sequently, IT is a hotbed of acquisition experimentation. A common language We have entered another of the peren- nial seasons of teeth-gnashing over the government’s inability to buy quickly and creatively enough to capture tech- nology’s promise. Predictably, calls for acquisition reform are also reaching a crescendo. Rather than joining that chorus, AOF offers a different perspective: Let’s stop trying to fix the current, antiquated sys- tem. Instead, let’s build in a new direc- tion through common goals to create more value, modern technologies and business models, and a work environ- ment that will draw talented profes- sionals to perform some of the most complex, important and impactful jobs in our country. To support this undertaking, AOF features a free, open and sharable Transformation Frame- work and Guide. The guide puts forth a much- needed common language describing stages of development. It allows users to assess, plan, experiment and share. Specifical- ly, the AOF Transformation Guide describes, rather than prescribes, options at five levels of evolution in five critical dimensions: buy- ers (the acquiring team), culture, acquisition methods, marketplace and external forces. To help users focus on the most important activities of envisioning, experimenting and collaborating, the guide was designed to incorporate everything needed to enable applica- tion today. It takes account of evolv- ing global and federal dynamics, new opportunities presented by this changed environment, a vision of alter- native directions for federal acquisi- tion, a menu of strategic choices that BY KYMM Mc CABE Today’s pockets of innovation and IT buying experiments give glimpses of tomorrow’s federal buyers and marketplace Previewing the future of acquisition AcquisitionMatters AOF offers a different perspective: Let’s stop trying to fix the current, antiquated system. Instead, let’s build in a new direction through common goals to create more value, modern technologies and business models. 0215fcw_031-032.indd 31 1/26/15 9:32 AM
March 15, 2015