Fairfax, VA, USA – December 10, 2020 – Data and Analytic Solutions, Inc. (DAS) and academic researchers have received a contract from the Internal Revenue Service for research on applying data science techniques to improving procurement operations.
The Government has a Cross-Agency-Priority goal of delivering commercial items at the same speed as the commercial marketplace and managing customers’ delivery expectations for acquisitions of non-commercial items. New regulations that standardize Procurement Action Lead Time (PALT) have resulted in the largest-ever dataset on timeframes for federal contract awards – timeframes for roughly half a million contract awards. DAS brings a multi-disciplinary team comprised of practitioners, professors, and students with both procurement and machine learning experience who will examine a dataset with award timeframes on approximately half a million contracts executed by federal agencies, as well as the length of time it takes to award a contract at the IRS.
Additionally, the DAS team will research how data science techniques can be applied to improve the accuracy of an algorithm that predicts likelihood of successful contract performance, and use machine learning to translate unstructured text such as contract performance work statements into spreadsheet form to create meta-data for analysis of unique attributes. Text classification algorithms could also potentially help the government to perform deeper category management and ensure the right legal clauses are included in contracts. Machine learning can use these data assets to predict and forecast future activities such as spending and contract outcomes.
Shanna Webbers, the IRS Chief Procurement Officer says “As with many agencies, we have a wealth of data available to us to understand where time is being spent in our contracting process. The intent of this research project is to enable us to hone-in on key factors impacting our time to award and identify tools that can be utilized to make process improvements to shorten our lead time, more effectively allocate our human resources, and better serve our customers.”
The contract also includes plans to train contracting officials on best practices from acquisition research and grow a talent pipeline of data-savvy acquisition professionals.