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Improved IT procurement adds greater efficiency, improved bottom lines

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Last month in Hawaii, a state emergency employee accidentally sent an alert to residents and tourists stating: “Emergency Alert: Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill.” For 38 minutes people in Hawaii panicked until a follow-up message was sent alerting that the missile warning was a mistake.

The false alert in Hawaii placed a magnifying glass on the ailing state of government technology, exposing a larger problem: The government’s technology systems are not only outdated and problematic, but the process to buy, build and use new technology is just as archaic.

Older information technologies, time-consuming procurement practices and expensive solutions plague government technology. Even when a new technology solution is procured, by the time it is launched, the technology is already outdated. Considering the time challenges of the digital age, using the procurement expertise of the U.S. Communities Government Purchasing Alliance becomes a necessity.

Local and state governments can save valuable time and money by lowering the effort and cost associated with traditional procurement.  Being able to work with a cooperative purchasing alliance such as U.S. Communities and use their meticulously sourced suppliers takes the guessing game out of identifying the right supplier from a never-ending list.

“With U.S. Communities, you know the products and services have been pre-vetted,” said Dr. Alan R. Shark, executive director and CEO of the Public Technology Institute.

“You don’t have to start from scratch,” he said. “Vendors are already picked via an IT advisory group which combines technical people with IT procurement excellence, which is a dialogue that does not normally exist. By fostering both sides, the IT advisory group makes collective recommendations on guidelines for improving government IT and streamlining the IT procurement process. The vendor selection process is rigorous and I have not seen another cooperative purchasing program have such a high standard of excellence.”

States and counties have realized over the last few years that in order to stay ahead of the ever-changing technology solutions, the old way of procuring goods and services is not going to cut it. To procure solutions for cyber security and cloud services, which have been identified as the top two of the Top 10 State CIO Priorities of 2018, agencies should turn to U.S. Communities to ensure they have the best overall government pricing for solutions that are delivered in a timely manner.

“There have been many times when we have chosen cooperative contracts to save money and shorten the process of accessing important resources, eliminating the lengthy bid process,” said Chip LaMarca, Broward County, Fla. commissioner. “As we constantly strive to be more efficient in local government and do more with less, cooperative purchasing provides vetted solutions you can trust.”