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FCW : January 2013
January 2013 FCW.COM 25 ment s experience has been on nibbling grapes." In the meantime, he said, of cials will turn to other money-saving methods. He believes reverse auctions for general commodities could become more prominent. In such auctions, sellers bid prices down rather than up. The approach is effective for commodities, but it s another tool agencies have had available for some time and not used as much as they could. Burton said agencies have access to a number of other cost-saving techniques, such as earned value management and continuous performance improvement, that can help streamline operations. This year, "agencies will look at them more seriously," he said. Another resource that has been around for years is indus- try. In 2013, Allen said, agencies will make greater use of requests for information, perhaps to the point of asking for what amounts to free help in planning acquisitions. "I suspect we will also see the use of more contests, where the government tries to obtain state-of-the-art solutions out- side the acquisition landscape," he added. "You can t fault agencies for trying to be innovative when they don t have a lot of money to spend. Companies, however, need to be mindful of what they re getting into before they win." Speaking broadly, Jordan had some simple advice for agencies that he hopes they will take to heart in 2013: Inno- vate. If a particular purchasing approach has the potential to bring good value to the agency and it s not forbidden in the Federal Acquisition Regulation, then "you are empow- ered to do it," he said. ACQUISITION WORKFORCE THE CAVALRY ISN'T COMING Although agencies have tools to make procurement more effective, 2013 is likely to remain a dif cult year for acquisi- tion workforce challenges. Insuf cient training and a dearth of opportunities for professional development will continue to bedevil employees in acquisition roles. For example, "we talk a lot about cloud, and there isn t a lot of cloud experience" among the acquisition workforce, said Lisa Mascolo, CEO of Optimos. "The same goes for open source and mobility. We talk a lot about them, but the acquisition workforce hasn t had the training they need in order to properly procure" the products and services. When training does happen, it tends to be basic. Oppor- tunities to learn more advanced skills or deepen existing knowledge are rare. Older employees who retire and take their institutional knowledge out of the organization add to the growing skills gap. Acquisition professionals "don t grow on trees, obviously," said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council. "The only way to train H MP h p s p th s u t f th u - s p t s us f th s st th s th -p t G t s s, " Ex . th s s s ss , " k c c y , xp t s uss ut th MP p . Y u : H th s u t st sh p 's u st t H t su ssfu p p s u t uth z t u t t f th MP p ss H th MP p ss s th th N ST 800-37 sk t f k St tu f f t th s s s: .fc .c / ED SPONSO ED BY B OUGHT TO YOU BY A FE A A S EGISTE NOW AT: .f . m/FE A F