Program Support Center | Acquisition Management Services

News—Service Director's Corner

Third Quarter, FY 2018 - Issue 3

PSC Hosts Artificial Intelligence Industry Day

Earl Pinto Photo
Earl Pinto, Director, Acquisition Management Services, PSC

To enhance acquisition support provided by Program Support Center (PSC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), PSC hosted an artificial intelligence (AI) industry day on April 2, 2018 with vendors on “The Development of an Artificial Intelligence Solution to Assist with Category Management”.

The event, part of the HHS BUYSMARTER initiative under ReImagine HHS, provided HHS a tremendous opportunity to learn about emerging technologies that will enable us to streamline the acquisition process and bring about significant cost savings. HHS has a strong need for the development of an AI solution for category management (identifying and managing the categories of common spend goods and services), which aims to decrease procurement costs and improve efficiency through economies of scale. More than 200 industry business partners attended this dynamic and engaging event at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building in Washington, D.C.

The day featured a panel discussion and open dialogue with attendees. Patrick Joy, Head of Contracting Activity, PSC, served as the moderator and provided opening remarks. The panel included Jose Arrieta, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary for Acquisition, HHS; Ken Thomson, BUYSMARTER Solution Architect, HHS; Lori Ruderman, Director, BUYSMARTER Program Management Office, HHS; and Darryl Grant, Customer Liaison, Acquisition Management Services, PSC. The BUYSMARTER initiative was developed from ReImagine HHS in response to the Office of Management and Budget Memo M-17-22 for reforming government.

“With all the new and emerging technologies available to modernize federal processes and practices, it is critical for us to engage industry early and often in order to leverage these opportunities,” said Ruderman. “HHS is primed and ready for modernization and the vendor community can help us get there quickly and effectively.”

The purpose of this event was to familiarize industry with the potential opportunities of this acquisitions model while also determining industry capabilities, identifying potential sources, and obtaining industry feedback.

Various industry members, including the Small Business Community: Small Business, Section 8(a), Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUB-Zone), and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, were invited to add to the discussion about the development of AI solutions for HHS and PSC.

This industry day will be made part of the market research analysis to validate the overall acquisition strategy and further refine the requirement.

The event was well received. Feedback from the AI industry day participants was positive.

“Thank you so much for this Industry Day!” said Terri Hall, Director, Federal Advisory, KPMG. “I think it was the best one I’ve ever attended and especially appreciated your genuine desire to elicit the feedback and insights of so many stakeholders. The contracting community is super energized to help HHS on this journey.”

“It was great to have this AI outreach,” said Joseph Tatner, Director of Communications, Biswas Information Technology Solutions, Inc., a women-owned small business. “I wanted to again express my excitement about this project. The session was one of the best I have been to, with a lively discussion of important issues. I would be happy to participate in any panel discussions or as a presenter at any future events. As I mentioned from the floor, requirements analysis and strategic planning is key to any implementation to accommodate future growth. Since humans can never be taken completely out of the equation, properly planning the use of technology to support decision making is also critical.”

Shortly after the industry day was held, PSC released a draft request for proposal as a planning tool and as a means of soliciting industry comments for use in developing the final solicitation. More than 40 companies submitted detailed responses which are currently under review.

We look forward to utilizing AI to make the acquisitions process more robust and cost-efficient.

Check out the Artificial Intelligence Industry Day photo gallery.