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May 18, 2015

IT Solutions Challenge 2015 Problem Description - Ursula Nkwantabisa

By Ursula Nkwantabisa


On April 9th, team FALCON (Team 6) ended the first IT Solutions Challenge workshop with an idea of creating a common IT acquisition platform where acquisition and IT professionals may exchange knowledge on past acquisitions, best practices, and other useful information. Between April 9th and April 28th, our team met to draft interview questions as well as to share research information related to our proposed idea.

The team generated a number of questions which we used to gather stakeholders’ thoughts and help frame and narrow our issue. The general themes among our questions for stakeholders were:

Knowledge of existing platforms where IT acquisition information may be found to assist during the planning process Which type(s) of IT acquisitions are most challenging or where in the acquisition process the most challenges arise Our team interviewed some ten senior and junior IT and acquisition professionals from five agencies.

On April 29th, the team met with the goal of analyzing research responses and framing a problem statement that captures stakeholder concerns and also that will be workable within the time limit we face. It was apparent through interview responses that various vehicles with similar functions to what the team had proposed to build already exist. Chief among these vehicles was the GSA Acquisition Gateway. The Gateway serves as a “workspace for acquisition professionals to learn, connect, and act upon acquisition information, expertise, and advice.” Respondents also cited a number of issues they faced during the IT acquisition process; a majority of the issues being related to the time factor.

The team concluded the April 29th session with the following:

Create a “Reddit” like community forum to discuss only IT acquisitions which will serve as the one place to go to ask questions/hold discussions pertaining to past acquisition information, best practices, innovative acquisition methods other agencies are doing to expedite acquisitions and save cost, etc. It is the team’s belief that this will help professionals save on planning and research time which will in turn, lead to some time saving in the overall acquisition process.

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