DOT Looks to a Consolidated Contract Vehicle

By Kevin Shaker, Consultant

You probably have heard about the General Services Administration’s schedule consolidation initiative to make a single uniform offering available to vendors and the government partner community. Detailed in Adam Hyman’s recent blog, the GSA will spend the next two years consolidating the agency’s 24 multiple schedule awards into a single schedule. This will allow vendors to broaden their offerings while only having to maintain a single contract.

Other civilian agencies are also looking at ways to update their contract methods through a consolidated-contract arrangement. For example, the Department of Transportation is now beginning to re-architect the way they contract with their service partners.

While the Federal Aviation Administration will likely keep their FAA specific service vehicles, including the FAA Telecommunications (FTI) program (turning into the FAA Enterprise Services (FENS)), eFAST and eTASS, the DOT’s OCIO office will be consolidating their services contracts in a single Enterprise IT Shared Services (EITSS) contract as part of the DestinationDIGITAL modernization program. When it is awarded, every sub-agency will have access to the contract and will eventually have staff to run it within each agency. However, after the initial awards, all task orders will need to be addressed to the departmental OCIO.

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GSA MAS Consolidation – Streamlining Government Purchasing

By Adam Hyman, Director, Government Programs

Over the next two years, the General Services Administration plans to consolidate the agency’s 24 Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contracts into a single schedule. This change offers IT vendors an opportunity to expand their offerings beyond Schedule 70, without maintaining separate contracts — and this is a good thing.

The benefits to both vendors and government are many; eliminating duplication, providing a single set of terms and conditions, reducing “out of scope” issues and enabling greater flexibility for providing a total solution to government customers – to name just a few.

Currently, GSA organizes schedules by specific supply and service types into “categories.” Most of us are familiar with Schedule 70, the Information Technology category. But, in acquiring a total solution, our government customers have sometimes been required to use schedules from other categories to purchase everything they need. Categories that bleed over into IT solutions often include Office Management, Security & Protection, Total Solutions for Law Enforcement and even Facilities & Construction.

In theory, under the new initiative, vendors will only be required to hold one schedule contract and will be able to add any product and services category to that same schedule. If implemented correctly, this will reduce the administrative burden on the contractor, the government customer and GSA.

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Transformation May Be Your Foot in the Door for Federal Sales

By Kevin Shaker, consultant

If you have genuinely transformational technology, public sector IT executives may be willing to listen now more than ever.

In August, public and private sector officials held a series of short discussions on government IT and procurement, emphasizing innovation in everything from protecting critical assets to reforming acquisition methods.

Here are three top takeaways

GSA Schedules

Alan Thomas, commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, said plans are being discussed to consolidate schedules for easier acquisition.

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What’s the Future of NETCENTS-2 at Air Force?

Stephanie MeloniBy Stephanie Meloni, consultant

More details have begun to emerge about how the Air Force intends to fulfill procurement of products after NETCENTS-2 expires in November 2019. Recently, GSA blogged about the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Air Force and GSA. This MOU outlines a partnership between the two organizations that will allow the Air Force to establish a blanket purchase agreement (BPA) from GSA’s IT Schedule 70. This will entirely replace NETCENTS-2 for products.

The biggest change affecting potential bidders of this contract will be the requirement to be on GSA IT Schedule 70, which can take some time. However, teaming between companies is allowed, so subcontracting may be an option if that is the case. Many of the other details remain the same—the BPA will still be mandatory, as NETCENTS-2 is, and the competition type remains full and open. The ceiling value of the IT Products BPA is anticipated to be slightly lower than the current ceiling of $5.5B over five years. The number of awardees could marginally exceed the twenty-five NETCENTS-2 products category awardees.

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Agencies Starting to Embrace New Telecom Contract

By Kevin Shaker, consultant

In August 2017, the GSA awarded the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract to 10 companies that will provide systems integration work to civilian agencies to update telecommunications infrastructures with modernized next generation networks. The EIS contract replaces the current Networx contact, which expires in FY20. While most agencies are ramping up to use EIS and send out solicitations for telecom projects, the Treasury Department and the Social Security Administration seem to be ahead of the curve.

Iris Cooper, senior procurement executive at Treasury released a statement at the ACT-IAC Network Modernization Forum on June 19, affirming that the department is looking to move forward with EIS and was expected to release its first task order solicitation in early July. Eric Olson, who replaced Sonny Bhagowalia as the Chief Information Officer at the department, will be overseeing this solicitation. In a departure from standard procedure, the contract will not be managed by a contracting officer. Therefore, having his buy-in, along with the blessing of the prime contractor, will be crucial for getting your solution in the door.

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USSOCOM Fields Innovative Technology at SOFWERX

By Ryan Granato, analyst

Demand for new communications and network capabilities for both the Command and the operator are of the highest priority for USSOCOM these days and were oft-repeated themes during the recent Special Operations Forces Industry Conference. SOFIC has turned into the event where industry and government converge every year to showcase current capabilities and discuss mission-related technology challenges.

According to Jim Smith, USSOCOM’s acquisition executive, current communication requirements revolve around issues such as network visibility, assured communications and reduced digital signature to avoid detection in operating environments. Solutions that address IoT and edge computing complement the command’s need for a fully-connected and sensor-enabled operator. In doing business with USSOCOM, Smith emphasized the importance of utilizing SOFWERX.

USSOCOM typically fields new capabilities at a rate much higher than their counterparts. However, technology continues to advance at a rate that traditional government acquisition processes cannot keep pace with. In response, USSOCOM launched SOFWERX, a technology incubator of its own to increase government and industry collaboration through a variety of USSOCOM-hosted projects and events. Kelly Stratton-Feix, director of Acquisition Agility at SOFWERX, stated that the immediate priorities set forth for SOFWERX are shorter procurement cycles and increased support of small businesses.

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OTAs Are Heating Up in the DOD

Mark Wisinger_100x135By Mark Wisinger, senior analyst

Every program manager and acquisition professional in DOD has been leveraging the newest buzzword: OTA, which stands for Other Transaction Authority. OTAs have been in the acquisition arsenal for years, but Congress just recently relaxed rules and restrictions on their use, paving the way for OTAs to be the new hot method for rapid technology insertion and piloting. The Office of the Undersecretary of Acquisition and Sustainment recently has been working on an OTA handbook to help guide DOD acquisition professionals on the do’s and don’ts of this newly revitalized procurement method. It’s no surprise we’re starting to see the use of more and more OTAs.

According to Bloomberg Government, DOD accounted for $2.1B of $2.3B spent through OTAs in 2017. The Army has been a leader in DOD driving most of the OTA usage increases to date, concentrated in the Army Materiel Command, although the Army Cyber Command’s use of OTAs is growing. The Defensive Cyber Operations office, within Army’s PEO EIS is setting up a new OTA vehicle known as C-RAPID, which will be targeting rapid piloting and insertion of defensive cyber tools. Companies that sign on to the consortium will field between 6 and 24 Army technology requests a year for defensive cyber tools.

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