Anne Rung took the stage at ACT-IAC's Acquisition Excellence 2016 conference on March 22 for what seemed a farewell lap as much as an update on the government's efforts to update its procurement infrastructure.

"If it's not too awkward, I am just going to put my resume up on the screen here," she joked.

With less than a year left on her tenure, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator delivered policy updates and goals for the rest of 2016, emphasizing the speed of digital services and the advancements it can bring.

"Technology is driving change so rapidly that only a few years ago no one was talking about cyber warfare, code and open source, data reuse rights, agile development or even apps," she said. "We certainly weren't thinking about these issues in the context of acquisitions."

The administration, Rung said, is focused on harnessing the possibilities these forces present, by utilizing them to not only drive procurement solutions, but to also foster cross-agency cooperation.

"We also need to catalyze partnerships within government – between bureaus, agencies, communities like it and acquisitions – to solve our technology challenges," she said.

The federal government is endeavoring to stay nimble through efforts like its category management program, which Rung said saved $2 billion so far in procurement costs. The OFPP administrator highlighted advancements in four areas of focus to streamline procurement in the category management field.

  • The General Services Administration’s Acquisition Gateway site has amassed 6,500 followers, on its way to a 10,000-user goal by the end of the year.
  • The selection of 10 senior executives to manage the procurement categories, including GSA Federal Acquisition Service Regional Commissioner Tiffany Hixson and former HP executive Kim Luke.
  • A 50 percent drop in some PC purchases following a category management memo from Rung and Chief Information Officer Tony Scott directing agencies to three government-wide contracts and reforming refresh cycles. A software policy change issued earlier this year is currently up for public comment.
  • Category management efforts in the U.S. Air Force have resulted in $500 million in possible savings through inventory management and new refresh cycles.

"I'm seeing and feeling the shift across government towards category management," Rung said. "People are talking about category management more, every major federal acquisition conference now has a category management track, businesses are hiring category management consultants and data analytic companies are organizing around our ten categories. The shift is happening."

To help drive the shift, Rung recently announced that all agencies would develop their own innovation labs to find new solutions for acquisition policy. These labs, she said, would provide agencies with new ideas on how to approach acquisition and procurement policy.

Finally, Rung said that OFPP is looking to gather information on all IT acquisitions over $500,000 by the end of 2016 through its Acquisition 360 transaction-based survey tool. The survey has gotten transaction data from 1,100 vendors to date with a goal of 6,500 by the end of the year.

The push to digital services has made it possible to streamline the acquisition structure, Rung said, but there is still work to do.

"The question that we must ask ourselves is: have we simplified our own federal acquisition marketplace to keep pace with the incredible opportunities provided by technology? Because fixing technology means fixing, in large part, IT acquisitions. Are we fast enough and nimble enough to adjust?

"I would concede that the answer is that we are not yet there – but we're planting the seeds and seeing positive signs of growth."