Bridging the gap between public and private sectors is no small task, with no small impact.
Where the private sector has the luxury of selecting a target customer, and designing a product or service accordingly, the public sector must serve everyone. Where the private sector can pick and choose between partners based on a number of competitive advantages, the public sector is often encouraged to work with the partner that can provide the highest quality service at the lowest cost—determined by the review cycles of the public procurement process. What may seem like cycles of unnecessary government overhead is in fact a system carefully designed to drive the kind of competition that fuels innovation, for the benefit of an industry that does not always have the ability (or the budget) to experiment. Every dollar saved is a dollar that can be used to support mission-critical programs and services; education, healthcare, public safety, transportation, and more.
As essential as the procurement process is, the operations behind it are still one of the most costly and time consuming government models, largely because many agencies still use a paper-based process for issuing RFPs and evaluating vendor proposals. “Currently, when you look at most of the processes of the government today whether its HR systems, procurement, how they do delivery, or policy design - most of the systems are incompatible with the digital age and they need to be modernized,” said Executive Director for Deloitte’s Center for Government, Bill Eggers, on a recent episode of Our Digital Nation. “There are a lot of government transactions and services that can be 100% digitized. You would never have to fill out any forms on paper again.” And Eggers is not the only one noticing this gap; in a recent survey of government IT, finance, and procurement decision-makers, the Center for Digital Government found that 31% of respondents do not have a portal or eProcurement system where they can post bids and RFPs online.** In fact, many leading agencies have manual systems with at least 100 steps in the procurement process, each of which lack consistency, flexibility, and thus the ability to be repurposed. The resulting lag time can have a major ripple effect on public services, holding agencies back from maximizing their impact.
But not in Texas.