Redesigning Software Procurement through Intelligent Agents

M. Nissen and A. Mehra

Software procurement represents a process of vital importance to most enterprises in the public and private sectors, but particularly in the U.S. government, the software procurement process is highly pathological. Intelligent agent technology offers the potential to remedy this process pathology and an agent-based redesign transformation is recommended to dramatically improve the performance of the software procurement process. This paper outlines a number of contemporary agent applications and presents the results of a measurement-driven redesign analysis of the government software procurement process. We discuss intelligent software procurement agents that are developed to automate and support this process using a novel tool called the Agent Development Environment (ADE). The paper highlights the behavior and utility of intelligent software procurement agents and presents some preliminary results associated with their application to an operational government organization. We show how this agent-based process redesign offers excellent potential for improvement in both cost and cycle time for the process and offer an agenda for continued research along these lines.

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