Andrew McMahon, now atDCode42, worked in the Obama Administration on technology policy and building sustainable innovation in government. Here, he examines what inhibits government from effectively building and buying modern technology. Unsurprisingly, procurement processes play a key role. Some agencies, like DHS, make a space for emerging technology to be adopted to meet key program needs, he says.

“DHS accepts that companies have likely already built product to meet most of the need and DHS shouldn’t try and reinvent the wheel for themselves by building out requirements.”

For others, getting procurement processes right becomes the sought-after outcome, not improved program effectiveness.

McMahon also laments missing expertise in programs an procurement that leaves agencies unable to “differentiate between companies with great products and mediocre ones.”

His observations are timely at a moment when the Trump White House is calling for government reorganization focused on improving program effectiveness and endorsing category management–with its focus on building market and supplier analysis and intelligence–as a better way for procurement to support programs.

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