The Department of Health and Human Services’ Buyers Club, a platform looking to revolutionize the way the agency acquires new IT systems, has launched its official website.
Under the umbrella of the department’s IDEA Lab, HHS Buyers Club continues to ramp up its efforts to consult with internal component agencies on the use of more-agile procurement methodology. The new website, while much of it is a rehash of existing documents and resources, gives HHS programs a central repository to learn about more meaningful and effective procurement strategies.
Mark Naggar, the lead on the HHS Buyers Club program, said the most important element of this website — it’s essentially a landing page with some important information and links to essential resources — is the introduction of the HHS Buyers Club strategy.
“This is where we’re sort of spelling the problem, what we hope to achieve here, how it’s different, etc.,” Naggar said. “Where the rubber really meets the road here is where we talk about the key internal and external stakeholders and what role they can play and the benefit they’ll receive by becoming involved.”
While Naggar and his team played a large role in facilitating the first HHS Buyers Club procurement for the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, he said that’s not the intention going forward, and he hopes this website helps in educating HHS internally on the processes that can be used to acquire new IT. The Buyers Club, he said, is more of a consultant to “springboard and help launch ideas.”
That doesn’t mean, though, that parties outside of the department have no use for the website. “Our primary audience, of course, is going to be HHS,” Naggar said. “But it’s a public-facing website. We want to be very transparent about what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Naggar said he shared the website with the federalwide Buyers Club “to let them know what we’re doing in that space; collaboratively we’re trying to share what each group is doing so we can learn from each other,” he said. It’s also important to leave this open to contractors and vendors, he said, as they play an important role in helping shape the process on their side.
The landing page is a work in progress and will continue to grow in an agile manner, Naggar said. “This is very much a living, breathing document, it’s going to keep changing over time.”
Though a website dedicated to procurement may bring to mind the General Services Administration’s FedBizOpps.gov, Naggar said they don’t intend to host contracting opportunities on this page. “We may blog about something or tweet about something and link to it … but this isn’t going to replace what FedBizOpps does,” he said.
“We’re really trying to focus on ways that we can achieve success with the acquisition of IT services,” Naggar said. “And we think that by focusing on process improvement, communication and experimentation through all these different goals and metrics that we should be able to accomplish that. I’m not saying we’re going to succeed on all of them — we’re probably not. But we’re going to take a very good approach at it.”