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Is Smarter Spending in Government an Oxymoronic Illusion?

  • Broadcast in Business
Jon Hansen

Jon Hansen


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In a previous segment I talked about a March 4th, 2009 speech President Barack Obama delivered regarding his commitment to “changing how government contracts are awarded and who can get them.” The President went on to say that “The move will make the process more competitive and will save taxpayers up to $40 billion” per year. Specifically the U.S. President emphasized that “reforming our broken system of government contracting,” which includes; massive cost overruns, contracts being awarded without competition, contractors overseeing other contractors, outright fraud and, the absence of oversight and accountability” are the targeted problem areas upon which his new initiative will focus. Response to the President's plan ranged from skepticism in terms of being a realistic and achievable goal, to outright cynicism regarding possible motives for pursuing such a plan, and just a dash of optimistic pessimism. Suffice to say, and against such a backdrop of underwhelmed expectation, if we faced life's challenges in similar fashion I doubt that any of us would ever get out of bed in the morning. Don't get me wrong, the above cauldron of discontented disbelief in the virtue and intelligence of our public institutions has at times, been well earned. In the realms of supply chain, the VHA's $650 million write off odysseys with Oracle and JD Edwards is enough to make anyone throw in the proverbial towel. For this reason alone, Coupa's decision to offer all government agencies free use of their innovative technology as a means of improving spend may conjure up images of Eddie the Eagle whose heroic feats on the ski jump at the 1988 Winter Olympics while not earning him medals did inspire empathetic fan support. So why do it? Joining me to review the program in greater detail, including the reasoning behind its creation as well as what Coupa hopes to achieve by its introduction, is the company's CEO Rob Bernshtyn.

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