On January 7 the Office of Management and Budget issues a memo reminding US federal agencies of the importance of technology neutrality in procurement.
The one-page memo reminds that
[…] policies are built around the use of merit-based requirements development and evaluation processes that promote procurement choices based on performance and value, and free of preconceived preferences based on how the technology is developed, licensed or distributed. In the context of developing requirements and planning acquisitions for software, for example, this means, as a general matter, that agencies should analyze alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.
Although there is probably no direct connection, it is difficult not to relate this memo to the recent decision by a federal judge to stop the procurement by the US Interior Department of a Microsoft email solution. It is certainly wise to remind agencies that procurement needs to be open and technology-neutral. Without any reference to the DOI case, there will be cases where technology-neutrality lead to higher costs and changes in risk profiles: in fact vendor lock-in is a risk, but so is a change of architecture or a new licensing model.
Public procurement must be driven by value for money, and while all available options need to be examined, choice must be based on a clear and transparent assessment of benefits, costs and risks.
View Free, Relevant Gartner Research
Gartner's research helps you cut through the complexity and deliver the knowledge you need to make the right decisions quickly, and with confidence.Read Free Gartner Research
Comments or opinions expressed on this blog are those of the individual contributors only, and do not necessarily represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management. Readers may copy and redistribute blog postings on other blogs, or otherwise for private, non-commercial or journalistic purposes, with attribution to Gartner. This content may not be used for any other purposes in any other formats or media. The content on this blog is provided on an "as-is" basis. Gartner shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever arising out of the content or use of this blog.