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NCMA World Congress 2018 Recap

NCMA Woodlawn,

As this (federal) fiscal year comes to a close and our events wind down, many of us are wrapping up final projects and proposals. Indeed - at this time of year, we are all focused on the present. Very soon, our lens will shift from the present to the future looking toward next year to plan and prepare for the next generation of contracting opportunities that will fuel our personal and professional growth. As our community is in the business of federal contracting and subcontracting, this means that we look for the latest and greatest in government procurement trends and models.

This year’s theme at NCMA World Congress in Cleveland provided an excellent insight into those trends and models. For those that attended, it was an invaluable few days that gave us an advance look into what to expect not only in the next year, but also the next several years. The lineup of Keynote Speakers was packed with leaders in both private and public industry. Though there were too many to list, just a few to name are:

  • Greg Williams, Editor in Chief, Wired Magazine (UK)
  • Jose Arrieta, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, DHHS
  • Jack Pellegrino, Director of the Dept. of Purchasing & Contracting for San Diego County
  • Anne Rung, Director of Government Sector, Amazon Business
  • Emily Murphy, GSA Administrator

 

Hot topics like artificial intelligence, block chain, and smart contracts were covered at length. Also, familiar but nonetheless crucial topics like Agile methodology and the importance of a robust IT modernization/security plan were reinforced over and over again.

Not surprisingly, almost every topic and speaker touched on some aspect of technological advancement and the need to embrace it rather than avoid it. Though each speaker had a different story to tell about how they were embracing and applying advanced technologies to their organization, they all echoed a common sentiment: disruptive technology should be viewed as an opportunity, not an obstacle. The advances of technological modernization are inevitable and will ultimately yield a net good when the dust settles. Leaders of industry look at how their organization will be impacted by it and view it through a lens of what can be gained.

As usual, World Congress brought together not only captains of industry, but also rising stars both in the public and private sector. Despite the fact that we are all constantly aware of the public/private stratification, the reality that speakers from both sides were touching on and advocating for so many similar ideas and themes serves as a cogent reminder that we are all in the same boat at the end of the day working to deliver for our US tax payers and citizens. As we head into the next fiscal year, World Congress was a timely emphasis that delivering quality and value to the American public through wise investments and careful planning is the penultimate goal of our national contracting community.

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