Information Technology

A Statistical Study of Acquisition Time Gao ID: AIMD-95-65 March 13, 1995

The federal government spends upwards of $25 billion each year on information technology. Too often, however, this investment falls short in improving service, increasing efficiency, or lowering costs. This lack of success can be traced to several factors, including (1) ineffective management practices for proposing, selecting, and controlling technology investments; (2) not defining outcomes in terms of quality, delivery and cost; and (3) poorly managing the acquisition process. This report focuses on the third problem area. GAO discusses how various factors, such as procurement dollar, size, contract type, bid protests, and whether the acquisition went through the General Services Administration's approval process, affect the length of time to award a contract.

GAO found that: (1) the average time taken to complete an IT acquisition varies according to the procurement type, dollar value, and whether a bid protest is filed; (2) hardware, software, maintenance, and support services are the major types of IT resources being acquired; (3) contracts under $250,000 take an average of 158 days to award, while contracts $25 million or more take 669 days to award; (4) most procurements are awarded either as sole source or full and open competition contracts; (5) the average time taken to award IT contracts increases as the contract value increases; (6) protested contracts take longer to award than nonprotested contracts in every dollar strata; (7) large dollar contracts are much more likely to be protested; and (8) other factors such as competition type and evaluation methods also increase contract award time.

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