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A Day in the Life – Roz Ingram

“A Day in the Life” is a new series here on Procurement Pulse! We will give you insight into one of our NASPO member’s busy days in the central procurement office of their state, and allow a small peek into their lives. So look for your favorite friendly neighborhood procurement official to be featured here! 
This week we caught up with Rosalyn Ingram, Director of State Purchasing & Chief Procurement Officer for the State of Florida Division of Purchasing to learn more about her role.
Roz has a B.S. degree in Business from Florida State University. She is also a Project Management Professional, Certified Public Manager, and Florida Certified Negotiator. She has 30 years of state government experience and has worked in several agencies to gain her diverse knowledge of state government and best practices in procurement. The Division of State Purchasing, led by Roz, creates state term contracts that leverages all state agency spend, as well as spend created through cities and counties that are able to use them. Her division also provides training for Certified Contract Managers, Certified Negotiators, and Project Management Professionals. They are also charged with rule promulgation and policy initiatives.
 NASPO STAFF: Roz, first of all congratulations on your re-election to serve a second term on the NASPO Board of Directors. You are one of the many energetic CPOs and dedicated NASPO Board of Directors member. Why do you value your membership with NASPO?
ROZ INGRAM: Thank you! It’s been an honor and I look forward to continuing to serve the NASPO membership! NASPO provides such a unique collaborative experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else. That value cannot be overstated. Although there are many places to go to get information, this association puts you together with people with not just similar   – but the EXACT – challenges your state is experiencing. I learn something new from every interaction.
NASPO STAFF: In the words of a recent NASPO conference participant “If I could clone Roz’s brain, that would be amazing”. You seem to have quite a few followers in the NASPO community. Tell me about your involvement with NASPO and what motivates you to be a part of this nationwide organization of great state procurement professionals such as yourself?
ROZ INGRAM: Yikes! Being inside my head is a scary prospect! I was embraced fully by this organization as soon as I was appointed CPO. It took me a few months to begin to see the breadth of reach you can attain with these folks. When I first volunteered on a project I wasn’t sure what to expect. That first one was amazing (remember our panel at NCMA, Larry?) and I have tried to be more involved since that time. I have thoroughly enjoyed my opportunity on the board as we move forward to even more challenges ahead.
NASPO STAFF: If I were a fly on the wall in Roz’s office in Tallahassee, Florida, what would I hear and see every day? Walk me through a day in the life as the CPO of the Division of Purchasing.
ROZ INGRAM: Another frightening place to be on any given day! Above most everything else, I try to have fun every day while doing the people’s work. At our core we are servant leaders and I think that to be the best at our craft we should believe that we work together as a unit. Many days are uneventful as far as anyone from the outside can see, but as we all know, there are pitfalls in every step of a procurement. I like the mental picture of the duck calm above the water, but furiously paddling underneath.
Other days are a bit more exciting. There could be interviews, calls with the Governor’s office, rule promulgation, and my fave – protests! I have the best staff that a person could have so any success that occurs in Florida rests fully on them! They are awesome!!
NASPO STAFF: Florida is one of the early implementers of the complete source-to-pay eProcurement solution for vendors and agency customers. I know you’ve had many successes since the deployment in 2003. One of the major hurdles states face when implementing eProcurement solutions is limited utilization. Can you talk about how mandating it statewide helped increase utilization, standardization and customer satisfaction?
ROZ INGRAM: Agencies benefit from increased control and management of contracts, reduced cycle time for orders and payments, improved training offerings with increased opportunities, and increased competition from the vendor community. Vendors benefit from the agencies’ use of standardized documents and procedures regarding the source to pay process and improved training offerings with increased opportunities. We measure utilization monthly and send reports to agency executive leadership to ensure consistent utilization. We measure customer satisfaction every year and the MFMP Program has achieved an increase in customer satisfaction ratings, year after year. Last year MFMP customer satisfaction exceeded 96 percent statewide, our highest rating in program history.
NASPO STAFF: Name one accomplishment you are most proud of since you became the CPO in Florida.
ROZ INGRAM: I think I’d have to say that there are two I feel equally proud about. One is our collaboration over the last three years with the IT vendor community. The events we have held to dispel rumor from right – along with intent – has been a great experience for us. We feel much stronger as we move forward in this intensely fluid arena.
The second and most surprising for me is our rule promulgation. We have updated or repealed most of our rules. At the onset, I had no idea of the steps and time this took. I am very proud that we are almost through!
NASPO STAFF: Any words of wisdom, things you’d like to share with our Procurement Pulse blog community and procurement professionals around the country?
ROZ INGRAM: Yes! Develop relationships with other members of NASPO! One, they are all superstars, and, two, you can easily reduce your resources by adopting what another state has tackled and finished. This group loves to share! Another valuable morsel – get involved! You will really enjoy serving on committees and helping to further the profession we’ve all chosen.
NASPO STAFF: What keeps you up at night?
ROZ INGRAM: Arranging major to minor challenges that may be coming at me the next day, but most often I worry about my two beautiful grandchildren and their health and happiness.
NASPO STAFF: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
ROZ INGRAM: We love our boat and motor coach and try and combine them, our family, and the gaggle of dogs whenever possible. For stress relief, I mow the grass and paint my walls. I know – sad, BUT they provide immediate gratification!
NASPO STAFF: What is your greatest personal achievement?
ROZ INGRAM: Bringing four individuals to adulthood in a difficult world, and having the good sense to marry my husband Robert who is the most aggravating and wonderful man – as well as my best friend.
NASPO STAFF: If you didn’t work in public procurement, what would you do?
ROZ INGRAM: Career-wise, I would love to get back into event planning. I did that for a couple of years and really enjoyed the fast pace of it and the feeling of accomplishment when an event was successfully completed. If I won the lottery/etc. – we would run a dog rescue. We love dogs of all types and would like to see them with families.
Survey of State Procurement Practices

Surveys that Matter

How many surveys have you completed this year? Chances are you have already participated in several reviews and customer satisfaction surveys. The real question is how many surveys we complete actually matter? In today’s big data world, businesses need to gather data and understand customer behavior in order to gain a strategic advantage or identify new business opportunities. Requests to participate in customer satisfaction surveys, guest surveys after returning from a domestic or international travel, or surveys to evaluate your recent dentist’s visit have become a part of life. The average consumer seems to be bombarded with a lot of “tell us how we did/tell us about your visit” surveys and requests for feedback. Researchers try to strike the right balance between gathering the right amount of information while being mindful of survey fatigue which can lead to low response rates. Rightfully so.
If you are interested in a survey that matters, a survey that offers a comprehensive nationwide perspective of state procurement practices, look no more! NASPO has the best vantage point to provide insight into how various state central procurement offices handle the procurement of goods and services across the country and infer valuable trends. NASPO’s Survey of State Procurement Practices is a comprehensive data collection, and the longest running survey for the association.

Read more “Surveys that Matter”

Procurement Process Improvement

Building a Procurement Team for a Digital Future

Want your procurement staff to be ready for the next big thing? There is undeniable value in a staff that is savvy with current technology, but how do you prepare your staff to be ready to keep up with the digital trend that’s here to stay? In many cases, trends come and go, but sometimes they are the forces that drive innovation and success for businesses worldwide. Organizations of all sizes who embrace changing times are better able to develop strategies to manage change in a way that positions themselves for the future. Digitalization is achieved through the use of technology to strengthen existing processes and practices. It can also be looked at as the thread that is woven through multiple silos of information as means to integrate people, processes, and data throughout an organization. Outside of cost savings, there is value in digital efficiency, especially since procurement plays a vital role in shaping strategic models that support the execution of a multitude of contractual goods and services.

Read more “Building a Procurement Team for a Digital Future”

Emerging Technology

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

Living in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
In the previous installment of this two-part series I discussed the amazing transformation and evolution made possible by automation and technology advancements of the 20th century. Today’s technology transformations such as robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, and the Internet-of-Things will have a great impact on society, disrupting every industry and improving many aspects of our personal and work lives. They also create problems for governments around the world that must now figure out how to regulate this new environment and respond to socio-economic concerns such as displacement of workers by automation, or inequality.
Of all big tech companies using AI to enhance their products or services, Amazon is clearly leading the pack with home automation products like Alexa, its version of a personal assistant. Facebook has recently sunset “M,” which hoped to take current personal assistants to the next level where the trained AI machine would have had the same knowledge as the user and do more things than regurgitating various scenarios scripted by app developers. However, the race to lead in AI as a service is on.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part II”

Emerging Technology

The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part…

The Benefits of Automation
The Technological Revolution, including automation in manufacturing and the automotive industry is synonymous with great innovations and rapid developments taking place during the Second Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century through the early 1900s. Advancements like the assembly line and automated machines, which replaced work that used to be performed manually, led to positive outcomes, including efficiency and mass production of manufactured goods at significantly higher rates.
It’s a known fact that in a manufacturing setting, robotics and automated machines improve productivity and reduce labor costs. And yes, they replace workers. So, it is not surprising that businesses will always embrace automation. To business, automated machines are like the perfect worker who works seven days a week, never takes breaks, never asks for a raise, and never gets sick. Sounds like a deal you simply cannot resist, doesn’t it? Ask the same question of a blue-collar worker displaced due to automation and expect a different answer.

Read more “The Age of AI: Will Robots Take Over? Part I”

Contract Management

NASPO’s Contract Administration Workshop

Training and professional development are essential to the state procurement office. Many procurement offices deliver internal training to their staff on a regular basis. The topics of these offerings can be everything from how to conduct an RFP evaluation to how to use the office P-card. Whether an office has a formalized training program resulting in a certification or less formal “hot topic” training, the intent is the same: to improve the procurement process.
In addition to providing internal training, many procurement offices are tasked with delivering training to the agency staff responsible for contract administration. These agency staff may not have a procurement or contract management background but are tasked with the administration of contracts related to their job duties. However, there is a great deal of responsibility delegated to the agency contract administrators, as they are interacting with the contracted supplier most often. Ineffective contract administration can affect the overall success of the contract.

Read more “NASPO’s Contract Administration Workshop”

Contract Management

Through the Vendor’s Eyes: Procurement and Contract Management

NASPO recently held the REACH (Regional Education and Connection Hub) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. 270 state members representing 47 states and the District of Columbia came together to participate in the first “super regional” conference in NASPO’s history, bringing together the Southern, Eastern, Midwestern, and Western Regions. The event was filled with educational and professional growth opportunities that expanded NASPO members’ support network into all four regions. In this series of blogs, NASPO staff will share key takeaways and highlights from REACH’s expansive programs agenda. 
“How many people have experienced frustration with a vendor?” Valerie Bollinger, State Purchasing Manager for the State of Idaho asked participants at a recent NASPO REACH conference. The room quickly filled with laughter as many state procurement professionals attending the breakout session titled Procurement and Contract Management Through the Vendor’s Eyes realized they can relate. Public procurement professionals and vendors alike are occasionally frustrated with each other and feel like it’s “them vs. us” when doing business together. The group exercise, led by Valerie, was an introspection and challenge to participants to put themselves in the vendor’s shoes and think through solutions that could inform better processes and relationships during the contract management phase, which is an important piece of the complex state procurement process.

Read more “Through the Vendor’s Eyes: Procurement and Contract Management”

NASPO

What has NASPO done for you?

Through conferences, research, informative publications, and various member benefit programs, NASPO is dedicated to providing educational and information-sharing opportunities to the state government procurement community. Curious to learn more about what NASPO membership can do for you? Don’t take our word for it – check out this new video which features some of our members discussing the benefits of their NASPO memberships!
Ethics

Choosing the Best Path: Ethics and Accountability

Ethics and the professionalization of public procurement have been among NASPO’s Top 10 Priorities for elevating and advancing public procurement for several years. NASPO is excited to announce the release of a new research paper discussing best practices for applying ethics in public procurement.  NASPO’s Best Practices: Ethics and Accountability explores demonstrating accountability by choosing the best path; best practices in ethics programs; conflicts of interest and vendor relations; and adopting proactive transparency practices.  The paper also includes three case studies at the end of each section, which aim to delve more deeply into these interrelated topics and help illustrate the ethical dilemmas that state procurement officials may face.
The modern public procurement office is faced with ever-growing challenges in areas such as project management, performance, and employment. This paper helps to lay the groundwork for accountability through choosing the “best path,” performing due diligence in contract management, identifying conflicts of interest in vendor relations, and exploring the changing paradigm of transparency.  This NASPO paper was written as a collaborative effort of the Accountability, Transparency, and Conflict of Interest Work Group, led by Valerie Bollinger, Purchasing Manager, Division of Purchasing for the State of Idaho.
NASPO REACH

Negotiating for Value

NASPO recently held the REACH (Regional Education and Connection Hub) Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. 270 state members representing 47 states and the District of Columbia came together to participate in the first “super regional” conference in NASPO’s history, bringing together the Southern, Eastern, Midwestern, and Western Regions. The event was filled with educational and professional growth opportunities that expanded NASPO members’ support network into all four regions. In this series of blogs, NASPO staff will share key takeaways and highlights from REACH’s expansive programs agenda. 
One conference. One session. Many lessons to be learned. Getting the best value out of contracts was a main learning objective during one of the REACH General Sessions. Developing a negotiations strategy to aid in accomplishing that goal was another one. Continue reading to find out what our members learned during this session, and how to become a more successful negotiator!

Read more “Negotiating for Value”