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SmartProcure: Why I Code for America

This post is part of a series to about the Code for America Accelerator companies.

Why are we Coding for America? I believe SmartProcure is in a unique position to do two great things at once—save the government millions of dollars and help government contractors become more profitable.

smartprocure

That’s a tangible, measurable boost to the US economy from both directions, and we do it by connecting thousands of local, state and federal agencies to government contractors. Furthermore, our platform makes the entire process fully transparent for all parties involved.

We’ve aggregated more than 50 million purchase orders into a single database and made it available over the web. SmartProcure provides government vendors with access to this database, and it’s offered free to participating government agencies. This use of technology for transparent information sharing, to us, is the essence of Gov 2.0.

The team at SmartProcure have decades of experience buying on behalf of government agencies.  We understand the struggles of limited budgets & resources.  Many government agencies make individual purchasing decisions, but we knew there had to be a way to use technology to consolidate the purchasing power of multiple agencies.

Our solution was to use shared data to create better value for government agencies and connect them with thousands of vendors. Our data allows government agencies to easily perform due diligence on any vendor. You can see every government agency that any vendor has sold anything to, see the the direct contact information for each government purchasing agent, and immediately reach the person you need.

Without shared insight into the purchasing of each organization, each government agency is making purchasing decisions based on limited information. When we help agencies gain visibility into who other agencies are buying from and precisely what they are paying, we’re giving government incredible insight into strategic sourcing.

Another benefit to government agencies is inherent in the data itself. SInce our database includes actual purchase order data at the line item level, government agencies can use our system to perform highly detailed Spend Analytics in seconds. Want to know how much you spent on toner? Paper towels? Printers? Pens? Laptops? In the past, government agencies would either need to bring in an expensive outside resource to perform this function or weigh down their own internal resources to do it–and both approaches were (are!) labor-intensive and time-consuming. WIth SmartProcure, one individual can instantly search all purchase orders for any desired data. Government agencies save time, money, and resources.

Government vendors love SmartProcure because we can identify previously unknown government agencies that buy the precise good and services they offer.  Recently, we were talking with a government contractor who was convinced he had no true competition and adamant that he was the top seller of his services to the government. He was shocked when we told him he was #9.

Not only were we able to show him unknown competitors, but we are also able to show him potential customers he didn’t know existed.  Data like this is highly valuable to a government vendor, and we are currently the only source of this data.  You know who you’re competing with, what they’re charging, every government agency who’s buying, and what they’ve paid in the past.

Put all of this together, and you have a system that provides complete transparency and total information visibility for everyone. This benefits government agencies and government vendors. Better value, better insights, and fast.

The four month Accelerator 2013 program begins next week, and I will be there with my team. for intensive collaboration on improving civic excellence through technology. We are excited about this opportunity to advance SmartProcure’s civic technology and positively disrupt the $140 billion government IT marketplace.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the results!


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