CDT held a “Tech Talk” on Thursday, Sept. 22, that featured a discussion breaking down the ins and outs of procurement.
CDT Chief Deputy Russ Nichols joined CDT Deputy Director Tiffany Angulo and DGS Deputy Director and State Chief Procurement Officer Angela Shell to discuss the different types of procurements–leveraged procurement agreements, master service agreements, and software licensing programs.
Leveraged procurement, in particular, allows vendors that already have in-place relationships with the state to continue to procure within existing contracts. In some cases, leveraged procurement can benefit vendors immensely when it comes to showcasing their products.
“One of the best ways to market what your software is, or your goods, or your services is looking at what’s on those leveraged procurement agreements, understanding that it’s a large scale agreement,” State Chief Procurement Officer and Deputy Director of Procurement Division of DGS Angela Shell said. “It’s not necessarily a guarantee of a contract, but it’s a vehicle that a state department can use if they have a need.”
Leveraged procurement serves as an informal, quicker way for partners to make a transaction without having to navigate through any additional red tape.
“In terms of conditions, a lot of things are already taken care of, you’re really dealing with the minutiae statement of work or whatever document really supports that for the specific purchase,” Chief Deputy Director and Deputy State CIO of CDT Russ Nichols said.
When contracts aren’t included in a leveraged procurement agreement, there are minimum cost thresholds that will trigger a need for bidding competition–whether that’s an RFP or RFQ.
“There are some things that are so small that the overhead of a full RFP or competitive process wouldn’t make sense. And there is a mechanism to acquire things that are under that threshold,” Nichols said.
However, those built-in thresholds for competition make it all the more important to stack leveraged procurement agreements with the right language and options to free up purchasing authority.
Ultimately, leveraged procurement agreements are another way of achieving the best outcome via the path of least resistance.
“We use contracts to accomplish outcomes,” Nichols said. “And a lot of times, for whatever reason, sometimes we forget that the outcome is what we’re shooting for. And we get wrapped up in some of the contract conversations. And I think the general goal of both DGS and CDT is meeting eye to eye with the vendor community.”