5 Years Later and FITARA Remains Relevant

By Tara Franzonello, Contracts Manager

FITARA, also known as the Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act, was enacted by Congress in December 2014 with an aim to reform government’s management and acquisition of IT. Although agencies have made progress over the last 5 years, there remain significant challenges in working toward FITARA compliance.

What does this mean for technology providers? Opportunity!

So, what is FITARA exactly?  FITARA was passed with the goals of improving the acquisition of IT and allowing Congress to track agency progress toward reducing duplication and achieving cost savings. A key component to accomplishing this goal was instilling power into the hands of an agency’s CIO. Another critical provision outlined in FITARA and the MEGABYTE Act included the establishment of a government-wide software purchasing program. This program allows the government to act as if they are buying software (and related hardware and services) as one entity, allowing agencies to address many of their issues, such as outdated legacy systems and the duplication of software licenses.

While the FITARA Scorecard, which grades each agency’s progress in achieving FITARA goals, includes many subcategories (Agency CIO Authority Enhancements, Transparency and Risk Management, Portfolio Review, Data Center Optimization Initiative, Software Licensing, Modernizing Government Technology, Cyber), all categories are aimed at achieving one common goal: IT Modernization. What’s the reasoning behind that?

As stated in the June 26th Congressional Subcommittee Hearing on Government Operations, it was estimated that the federal government will spend nearly $92 billion on technology in 2019, with an overwhelming large percentage of those federal IT dollars being used to maintain legacy systems. This results in a staggering amount of money that is going to sustain outdated technology!

To further support FITARA’s goals, the Modernizing Government Technology Act (MGT) was passed to establish working capital funds for use in transitioning away from legacy systems. As part of the MGT, the Technology Modernization Fund allows agencies to borrow money to retire and replace legacy systems. With the enactment of the MGT, it’s clear that strategic management and modernization are a real impetus driving FITARA.

There is a dire need to catch up with the newest technology, with an emphasis in cloud and cyber. However, the effort to modernize does not come without inventorying the current technology that the government already owns. Portfolio review with an emphasis on application rationalization activities, including retiring and replacing legacy systems, is critical to FITARA compliance success.

GSA’s role in FITARA is to implement strategy for the government to capitalize on the modernization of technology by giving the government freedom to (1) purchase solutions that address government needs, particularly in the areas of cloud and cyber and to (2) act as one single enterprise experiencing cost savings commensurate with the large volume of technology that the government as a whole will procure.

Cybersecurity has long been a major concern across government.  Agency systems continue to be breached due to outdated infrastructure and software. FITARA is forcing all federal agencies to make improvements in their cybersecurity postures by assigning a “Cyber” grade to its annual scorecard.  GAO continues to identify shortcomings with the government’s approach to cybersecurity. With GAO’s most recent recommendations, improving implementation of government-wide cybersecurity initiatives, addressing weaknesses in federal information security programs and enhancing federal response to cyber incidents are critical for agencies to improve their FITARA Cyber grade.

Cloud adoption is another critical element of FITARA. Several agencies have already made great progress in moving data from agency-owned data centers to cloud-based environments which has significantly improved their FITARA scores in the area of Data Center Optimization. According to the April 2019 GAO Report entitled “Effective Practices Have Improved Agencies’ FITARA Implementation,” NASA is in the process of closing its data centers and transitioning to a cloud-based environment with a commercial cloud-based model that hosts all its data in one location. Agencies, such as GSA, are also focused on optimized cloud computing environments and shared services – a trend that we will likely see taking hold throughout the government.

FITARA is continuing to turn up the heat on government agencies and there is some talk of the potential for Congress to attach dollars as penalties and rewards for FITARA compliance, so agencies are eager to up their grades. GSA has been encouraging IT vendors to partner with them and develop FITARA solutions that will help agencies make the changes. This will not only lead to higher scores – it will result in giant leaps forward on the IT modernization journey.

 

To find out more about how immixGroup can help you create FITARA-compliant offerings, please contact us at gsateam@immixgroup.com.

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GSA Making Headlines: Why You Need to Pay Attention

Adam Hyman, Director, Government Programs

If you haven’t noticed by now, you may have been too focused on the final season of Game of Thrones. However, it’s definitely time to turn your attention to what’s going on at the General Services Administration (GSA).

Over the course of the last year, GSA has been making headlines across the federal procurement marketspace by reaching agreement with various agencies to pull into the Schedule 70 program (via BPAs), former agency-specific requirements and IDIQs. While some may argue this is simply a grab for additional contract fees, it makes holding a schedule contract a critical prerequisite for even more federal opportunities. Recent and major opportunities have included:

  • 2nd Generation Information Technology (2GIT) BPA, formerly NETCENTS (valued at $5.5B)
  • Defense Enterprise Office Solutions (DEOS) BPA (valued at $8.2B)
  • Information Technology Supplies and Support Services (ITSSS) BPA (valued at $5B)
  • NOAA Mission Information Technology Services (NMITS) BPA (valued at $2.1B)

Approximately $20 billion in estimated business is expected to funnel through the Schedule 70 program. This doesn’t even include GSA’s plans for a DEOS sister BPA or the Civilian Enterprise Office Solutions (CEOS) BPA! Read more of this post

OTAs and Cloud: Hot Topics at AFCEA WEST

By Mark Wisinger, Senior Analyst

AFCEA West is the most happening event on the Navy IT circuit. The sunny San Diego weather draws a big crowd every February and it’s an excellent place to talk shop, learn about the latest Navy and Marine Corps trends and opportunities and soak up the California sun – despite the rain this year!

Here are a couple top-level trends I noticed during the conference:

OTAs are red hot
It seems not a month goes by without new OTA’s popping up. While the Navy did not announce a new other-transactional-authority vehicle, it did announce that within the next week or two, we’d see requests for cloud and networking through the Information Warfare Research Project (IWRP) OTA. We’re seeing the Navy continue to ramp up OTA usage and grow more comfortable with the OTA acquisition process.

NAVAIR appears to be the most popular Navy cloud broker
Each Navy systems command is in varying stages of maturing their cloud-broker offering for the rest of the department. But, it appears that NAVAIR’s AWS GovCloud environment is the most popular choice right now. The Navy cloud broker model is rather interesting, given the JEDI competition and DOD CIO Dana Deasy’s mandate to consolidate as much of DOD cloud purchasing through the JEDI cloud vehicle as possible. Read more of this post

Huge New DHS RFI Presents Opportunity for Technology Vendors

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security released a huge RFI for Information Technology (IT) Compute and Storage Modernization, Cloud Migration, and Data Center Optimization that needs to be on your radar. At $6.8 billion, DHS has the largest IT portfolio in the civilian government, so the funding available for a project of this magnitude at the department is likely to be significant, which means there may be extensive opportunity for technology vendors.

It’s also important to note that only 26 percent of DHS applications have thus far migrated to the cloud or are in the process – so there’s still a lot of work left to do.

Here are some of the key technologies DHS is pursuing in this new RFI:

  • Embracing automation, DevOpsSec, and optimized resource utilization – to improve efficiency and agility to minimize data center and other infrastructure footprints
  • Moving to cloud-native shared services – to modernize applications and adopting a vendor agnostic multi-cloud approach to spur innovation
  • Making increased use of data analytics technologies – to improve cybersecurity and decision making

Read more of this post

The Evolution of Cloud on GSA Schedule 70

By Adam Hyman, Director, Government Programs

As the government continues its initiative to modernize and transform IT across its ever-expanding network, cloud technology has been, and will continue to be, critical in achieving government missions.

While the government’s demand for cloud technology has grown, the largest IT government contract, GSA Schedule 70, has been slow to adapt. As a result, vendors have had to scatter cloud offerings under existing SINs, including 132-32 (Term Software Licenses) and 132-52 (Electronic Commerce), none of which are ideal because their terms did not align with how cloud is sold.

In 2015, GSA acknowledged the void and introduced SIN 132-40 (Purchase of Cloud Computing Services) to GSA Schedule 70 contracts. However, under this SIN, only the three NIST service models (SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS) are in scope, while any supporting hardware, software, and services are out of scope and need to be added on other GSA Schedule 70 SINs.

Read more of this post

NCPA Contracts Offer Access to a Wider Swath of SLED Marketplace

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Manager

The subject of contracts piques the interest of vendors – seasoned and new. Contracts are that tricky piece of the sales puzzle that can push a great opportunity just out of reach – if your products and services are not on the right contract!

immixGroup was recently awarded two additional IT-related contracts, for a total of three, with the National Cooperative Purchasing Alliance (NCPA) that will make it easier and more efficient to sell into the SLED marketplace – across all 50 states.

Contract categories are:

  • 01-75 Systems and Information Management Software
  • 01-83 Data Storage, Cloud, Converged and Data Protection
  • 01-88 Software Products and Services

NCPA, based in Texas, competitively solicits master contracts that are awarded based on quality, performance, and most importantly, pricing. The best part: NCPA contracts are written to be accessible nationally to public agencies in states whose laws allow for intergovernmental contract use – also known as “piggybacking” or “adopting.”

Read more of this post

The CSO: DOD’s New Way to Acquire Commercial Technology

Stephanie MeloniBy Stephanie Meloni, Market Intelligence Manager

As the use of Other Transactional Authority grows across the Department of Defense as a way to cut back on the time and cost of traditional acquisition programs, a new breed of OTA is emerging. The Commercial Solutions Opening, or CSO, has the potential to have significant value to commercial technology vendors and will give government procurement officers more flexibility in making commercial technology awards.

What are CSOs?

CSOs are a type of OTA designation aimed at buying new and innovative commercial technology. Whereas OTAs are designed for researching, developing and prototyping technology projects, CSOs are aimed specifically at commercial technology that already exists, but will be new to the Department.

Initially, the CSO was piloted only to be used by the limited number of buying activities with OTAs already in place, but a memo released last summer expanded their use across the entire DOD.

Read more of this post

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