Profiles of Professional Acccomplishment Series: The People Behind eVA’s Success

Posted on January 22, 2010


For those readers who have been following the Procurement Insights Blog over the past two to three years you are undoubtedly familiar with our coverage of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s highly successful eVA procurement program.

This coverage of course has extended beyond this blog to include the “Yes Virginia” white paper, as well as a PI Window on Business Show two-part series on last year’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s (JLARC) assessment of the program’s impact on Small-Medium Enterprises.

As an objective, third party observer offering a balanced view of eVA, Virginia has even established a page on its website listing these articles and broadcasts as an information resource.

Based on my ongoing review (re monitoring) of eVA as the standard by which other public sector procurement initiatives should be modeled, I will leave it to you to access the the above referenced articles and broadcasts through the link to the eVA website highlighted in the previous paragraph.

That said eVA and the technological platforms upon which it operates while important are merely an extension of the professionals whose experience, expertise and values it reflects.

While the success of the program has always been attributed to a collective team effort involving many, many individuals within the Commonwealth’s eProcurement Bureau and beyond, it would be impossible to list everyone who has made a contribution to eVA’s enduring success.  This is the point where everyone involved should take a collective bow.

Once again, and acknowledging the limitation to talk about everyone’s individual effort, I can however focus on a few people with whom I have had the opportunity to both meet and talk.  One such individual of course is Bob Sievert.

Bob, who is the Director at the eProcurement Bureau for the Commonwealth of Virginia, was the first person in which I had established contact back in late August 2007.  Although a more accurate recollection would be Bob establishing contact with me.

Shortly after writing about my series of interesting interviews with a senior executive from Ariba, Bob sent me an e-mail suggesting that it might be a good idea to view the vendor from the “other side of the fence.”  More specifically, representing one of the numerous interlocking solutions used by the Commonwealth to establish a higher bar of performance excellence, he offered to provide a client’s view of the software company’s offering.

My initial reaction was one of hesitation due not so much to anything Bob had said, but more attributable to general concerns that initiated contacts such as these were usually orchestrated by the vendor to create positive PR.  After all, the Ariba Interviews as the original article was titled was coordinated through and attended by the vendor’s PR firm.

It did not take long to realize that this was not the case as the subsequent interviews with Sievert, which resulted in the Yes Virginia Series and subsequent white paper and seminars were anything but a marketing perspective.

What the process did reveal was an individual who has a keen understanding of the growing complexity and at times seemingly competing (and conflicting) interests associated with a large eProcurement initiative in the public sector.  I of course place a great deal of emphasis on the public sector reference as the “challenges” associated with a government program are certainly subject to considerably more scrutiny than an initiative within the private sector.  Or as a senior executive from Colgate-Palmolive once told me, the rate of failures within the private sector are comparable to those within the public sector.  The only difference the executive added, “is that we are not going to end up on the front page of the local newspaper if a program fails to deliver the anticipated results.”

Operating within the fishbowl that is public sector procurement, Sievert has been a steadying hand of patience and political deftness while providing actionable leadership that continues to propel eVA into all it can be, and more.

With this in mind, I am pleased to introduce Bob Sievert as the first individual profiled in our new Profiles of Professional Accomplishment Series.

Bob Sievert, Director of eProcurement Bureau

About Bob:

Bob has 26 years Information Services, Project Management and Business Process Re-engineering experience in a variety of industries including Construction, Aerospace R&D/Production, Manufacturing and State Government.

He also has 11 years management experience, with up to 20 direct report personnel and large cross-functional/organizational teams.  In-depth experience with detailed analysis of core processes, defining strategic goals, establishing integrated systems and changing organizational culture.

He has had Strong successes in restructuring the IS role to closely align to the functional components supported, assessing IS performance from the success of the organization itself including the management of multiple IT, cross-functional projects at values over $10,000,000.

Bob also has expertise in EDI, Electronic Commerce and Internet applications, coupled with extensive experience with mini-computer, Client-Server, Windows, Unix and Internet environments/architectures.

Application and Office Automation product experience includes:  Ariba, Buysense, PeopleSoft, Oracle, SQL,  MS Access, Warehouse Management Systems, MS Office (Word/Powerpoint/Excel), WordPerfect, Lotus, MS Project, MS Front Page, HTML, ASP and others.

Based on eVA’s success, and the extensive role he has had and continues to have in the program’s ongoing development, Bob has made frequent appearances as an expert speaker on the international stage including his appearance as a keynote at the 3rd International Conference on Strategic Procurement in Lisbon Portugal in 2008, and at the Supply Chain Management Conference for the Ontario Ministry of Government Services this January.

About the Profiles of Professional Accomplishment Series:

Hellen Keller once said that “The world is moved along, not only by the mighty shoves of its heroes, but also by the aggregate of tiny pushes of each honest worker.”

It is this spirit of professional capability and personal integrity in which we are launching the new Procurement Insights Profiles of Professional Accomplishment Series.

Each month throughout the year we will feature a professional whose contribution has had a positive impact on his or her organization, and the profession as a whole.