Integrating IT Accessibility into the Procurement Process

Integrating IT Accessibility into the Procurement Process

Recording Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Length: 1.5 hours
Speaker: Jeff Kline, Program Director, Statewide EIR Accessibility, Texas Department of Information Resources
Target Audience:  Accessibility and procurement professionals involved in IT procurements
Skill Level: All Levels

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No organization is an island when it comes to Information Technology. Whether in the public or private sector, every organization has a dependency on vendor offerings that must be procured in the marketplace. These procured products and service offerings are not only used within organizations in the running of their businesses, but can also be components in the products / services it externalizes to the public or its customers.

From an IT Accessibility perspective, many vendor products and service offerings still do not comply with established accessibility technical standards. This lack of compliance to such standards continues to be a key inhibitor to employment opportunities and for the delivery of IT to people with disabilities…something that most of us take for granted.

The courts, in many cases, view this lack of accessibility as discriminatory not only disenfranchising / excluding people with disabilities from many aspects of life in the digital age, it creates significant risk to organizations that use / offer inaccessible IT.

Many organizations today have become somewhat aware of IT accessibility requirements and the risks of inaccessibility, but there continues to be a lack of accessible offerings. There are many reasons (and excuses) why so few offerings are accessible, but one overarching factor is the lack of established accessibility policies and governance models at an organizational level that ensures accessibility is front and center in a way that drives accessibility improvements over the long term.

Even when such models are established within an organization, there remains the dependency on procured IT; however, many IT vendors (particularly medium and small) have not yet established accessibility policies and governance models, and therefore are continuing to produce inaccessible offerings.

Today, the list of accessibility lawsuits is growing at record pace. Many of the settlements, as well as 2012 OMB recommendations for federal agencies, include accessibility governance requirements as an effective approach for helping to ensure that IT accessibility will be implemented in future offerings. Such governance criteria; however, has never been formalized for consistent use…until recently.

This presentation will discuss:

  • The application of a governance model, Policy Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA), as an element of IT procurement / procurement decision process, used to ascertain a vendor’s level of accessibility maturity and its ability to produce accessible products and services.
  • How vendors can / should use PDAA criteria to formulate their own organization wide IT accessibility policies and programs to improve their accessibility maturity position and offerings for responding to future solicitations
  • How Texas DIR is applying PDAA in its IT cooperative contracts program.
  • Thoughts on the inclusion of IT accessibility requirements in solicitations and contracts
  • Analyzing vendor accessibility response documents such as VPATs and beyond.

For this presentation, PDAA will be discussed as related to IT procurement; however, it should be noted that PDAA can also be used by any organization as way to drive accessibility maturity.


  • Participants will understand the challenges and risks when purchasing inaccessible ICT products and services.
  • Participants will learn how to use the Product Driven Adoption for Accessibility (PDAA) Criteria and Maturity Models to gain confidence in vendor purchases and drive vendor accessibility improvements long term.
  • Participants will learn about vendor accessibility documentation tools used in the ICT accessibility procurement process and analyzing the results, and diligence.

Speaker Bio:  

Jeff Kline is the author of “Strategic IT Accessibility: Enabling the Organization.” He currently serves as Program Director of Statewide Electronic and Information Resources (EIR) Accessibility  at the Texas Department of Information Resources. Prior to his current position in public service, Mr. Kline managed IBM's Worldwide Accessibility Consulting and Business Transformation initiatives and other areas of product development during his 26 year IBM career including industrial design, OS software development, and system usability.

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