Government Procurement on the Cutting Edge: 5 Trends You Need to Know Now

Liz Alton

Today’s procurement trends are all about speed—enabling public agencies to serve the public and fulfill their missions without delay. Whether you offer services directly to the public or drive back-end processes to keep government agencies running smoothly, it’s essential that your procurement process is dynamic and efficient. Agencies need a procurement solution that vets vendors, adheres to the essential rules and regulations, and monitors ongoing compliance and risk management gaps. Here’s a closer look at five emerging trends in dynamic procurement that are helping public agencies get more done.

Stronger Vendor-Qualification Management Tools

Vendor-qualification management, verification, and compliance are important parts of procurement. Your qualifications management process ensures you’re hiring the most qualified contractors, and that every organization or individual you work with adheres to your agency’s guidelines. Increasingly, agencies are turning to procurement solutions that can help them dynamically vet prospective vendors. Technology tools are making it easier to gather the necessary documents from vendors, run them against watch lists, verify certifications and insurance, and centralize documents for ongoing compliance and monitoring.

Contracts Management Technology

Your agency may manage numerous contracts or subcontracts—and overseeing those relationships can be time consuming. Today, there are technology solutions to help agencies strategically manage their contracts. For example, procurement solutions can monitor contract terms and details to track when an expiration date is approaching. Technology can alert a procurement professional, so they can decide whether the contract should be extended or renewed, open a request for quotes, and ensure all steps are followed to successfully complete the contract. By simplifying the process and alerting your agency team to critical dates, it’s possible to eliminate many of the administrative tasks associated with contract management. Instead, your team can focus on building strong partner relationships and maximizing the work they do with your agency.

Technology Procurement and Procurement Technology Are in the Spotlight

Your procurement team already has a busy mandate, from saving costs and managing budgets to ensuring compliance and mitigating risk. Yet, especially in the face of modernization efforts across public agencies, there’s an increasing focus on acquiring the right technology to drive growth, process innovation, and deliver faster service. As one Gartner research director notes, “Technology procurement is no longer a tactical function. It now plays a strategic role and has the ability to differentiate the organization from the competition.”

For agencies, that means procurement staff have to play a larger role in understanding their agency’s priorities, long-term modernization, and IT goals. Armed with that information, they can work to find the right vendors, systems, and solutions to transform that vision into reality. As a result, many agencies are looking at technical skills when they’re hiring, promoting, and training their teams. This makes it easier to stay on the cutting edge of what’s available and meet the agency’s future goals.

Marketplaces Streamline Procurement

Increasingly, public agencies are turning to marketplace models to simplify their procurement processes. A marketplace offers a simple, self-service solution to make buying easier. With a marketplace, agencies can select the products and vendors they want to work with and negotiate the best prices. The marketplace is then populated with those products at on-contract prices. The agency’s employees can visit the marketplace and make whatever purchases they need, up to an authorized dollar amount. The agency maintains control over budget, and has access to products and buying on contract, while employees have the flexibility of a familiar, ecommerce-like experience. Today, many marketplace providers invest in assisted sales, from expert consultants to dedicated agency account managers and informational and educational resources, to help buyers make informed choices and select the right technology.

Procurement Professionals’ Roles Evolve

With all these changes on the public sector procurement horizon, the right talent is needed to drive those initiatives. Human capital management is another area seeing big changes in the procurement world. Today’s agency procurement staff are undertaking a wider range of initiatives than ever before. They negotiate contracts, evaluate performance for compliance, manage sophisticated technology, and play a key role in bringing an agency’s vision to the forefront. They’re also under pressure to consistently be innovating and eliminating roadblocks to efficiency.

According to EY Consulting, “Leading procurement functions will become part of an organization’s value stream and be more influential in contributing to the overall business strategy, growth agenda, and competitive advantage. Procurement leaders will be expanding their remit from a focus on cost leadership to enabling innovation, agility, and supply certainty.” Public agencies at all levels need to hire and train procurement staff who can help support the organization’s long-term strategic objectives.

Procurement is becoming an increasingly strategic function across the public sector. Today’s professionals aren’t just controlling costs, enforcing contracts, and monitoring for compliance. They’re at the forefront of decisions that will have lasting impacts on agencies’ productivity, modernization, and ability to deliver. By tracking the emerging trends now and adopting best practices, agencies will be poised to offer dynamic procurement experiences that meet their evolving needs. Choose Connection to help you simplify purchasing, streamline reporting, and save time with access to powerful self‐service features and dedicated IT specialists. Discover how Connection makes eProcurement seamless.

Liz Alton is a B2B technology and digital marketing writer and content strategist. She has worked with a variety of brands including Google, Twitter, Adobe, Oracle, and HP, and written for publications including Forbes. She is a regular contributor to Connected, Connection’s official blog.