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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What Sales Reps Can Do During the Government Shutdown

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

So, here we are, a week and a half after my last blog about the shutdown and half the civilian government is still shut down. By now you’ve likely heard the news that the Trump administration has made the decision to call about 50,000 federal workers back to work. The good news is, that means critical safety and security workers, like food and airplane inspectors, are back on the job. The bad news is, much like I mentioned in my last blog, many of them are doing more than one job with a lot of their colleagues still furloughed. And, they’re still not getting paid.

So, it’s likely you’re wondering what you can tell your bosses if you’re trying to sell into one of the agencies where workers are furloughed. First off, you need to let your boss know that your forecasted deals aren’t going to close right now because the contracting shops at these shut-down agencies are generally all non-essential personnel.

But just because your forecasted deals aren’t going to close doesn’t mean there isn’t anything you can’t do. Reach out to your program manager customers (if they’re still working) and ask when they anticipate the deal moving forward once agencies get appropriations. Remember, things are piling up at federal agencies, so anticipate a bunch of pent-up demand once everyone gets back to work.

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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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How Vendors Can Deal With the Government Shutdown

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

Most of us have been surprised by the current partial government shutdown and how long it’s gone on. It’s on track to be one of the longest shutdowns in history, longer than 2013 (16 days) and getting very close to the 1995-96 shutdown (21 days), which it will pass by the end of this week.

Just because government is shut down doesn’t mean you’re completely out of luck trying to sell into government. You just need to be aware that folks may be under greater than normal degrees of stress and maybe be overworked. That may mean they’re less likely to be in a position to take your call.

So, who’s working and who’s not? Well, for starters, we need to clarify the difference between essential and non-essential personnel. It’s pretty simple: essential personnel at affected agencies are working without pay, whereas non-essential personnel are furloughed at home. Essential personnel are ‘emergency’ personnel who are critical to safety or national security. The departments shut down include: USDA, DOC, DOJ, DHS, DOI, DOS, DOT, HUD, as well as major independents like NASA and the EPA, and a lot of smaller entities that probably don’t affect your sales.

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Changes to DHA Will Impact Cybersecurity Needs

Lloyd McCoy Jr.By Lloyd McCoy, Market Intelligence Manager

The mandates in the National Defense Authorization Acts of 2017 and 2019 called for greater centralization of the military health system. We are now seeing these initiatives being set in motion. One prime example is the migration of the Army, Navy and Air Force’s more than 400 military hospitals and clinics under the umbrella of the Defense Health Agency. I recently attended an AFCEA luncheon where Dr. Barclay Butler, the Component Acquisition Executive for DHA, and Pat Flanders, DHA CIO, spoke extensively on the ongoing consolidation, as well as other initiatives which promise to impact how those selling IT should approach defense health IT leaders.

Measurability and efficiency are driving the trend toward centralization and standardization across the Defense Health establishment. This is particularly applicable for security vendors since DHA wants to instill commonality in cybersecurity services and tools — from the largest military hospitals to the widely dispersed clinics. The two leaders urged industry that when engaging with Army, Navy and Air Force hospitals and clinics, think of the big picture. How can your solution work and be applicable across the entire military health enterprise?

Measurability

Butler and Flanders spoke at length about the need to measure outcomes. For security solutions, that means being able to better monitor threats and speed of remediation. Nothing new on the surface, but this requirement becomes more complicated as more and more military facilities get subsumed under DHA, with all the network architecture and migration challenges that come with the transition. Having a steady dialogue with DHA or one of the service medical commands is critical to ensure that safety and security aren’t negatively impacted by these changes – while ensuring that the hospitals and clinics have robust capabilities for measuring and auditing their security posture.

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DEOS FY19 Update

By Ryan Granato, Analyst

In October the DOD announced it was moving the $8 billion back-office cloud solutions procurement to the GSA Schedule 70 contract, a move to make enterprise information technology services for office productivity available to not only DOD, but to other government agencies as well.

At a recent industry day, representatives from DISA and the General Services Administration provided an updated outlook on the Defense Enterprise Office Solution (DEOS). Dr. Brian Hermann, Unified Capabilities Portfolio Manager at DISA, provided insight into DEOS and how industry can participate.

DEOS will help create a simpler, defensible perimeter by reducing the DOD IT footprint and provides full integration across the DOD, while minimizing security risks and reducing costs. The DOD is continuing to see less data stored locally, meaning that an increased number of employees will be provided only with mobile equipment and a docking station that has access to enterprise services and data.

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Are E-Scooters the Future of City Transportation?

By Rachel Eckert, SLED Consultant

Electronic scooters seem to be just about everywhere these days, having appeared almost overnight. Companies such as Bird and Lime have placed these dockless e-scooters in cities around the country, in some cases successfully, in others with much resistance.

E-scooters can offer cities a way to meet environmental goals and reduce city congestion by reducing the number of cars on the roads — if incorporated into an integrated smart transportation plan in combination with other transit options. The apps these e-scooters leverage and the GPS signals they track can easily be integrated into existing traffic monitoring systems to provide a more complete picture of real-time traffic.

This new transportation option has not been met with open arms in every city. In fact, some cities have confiscated and impounded e-scooters after they have been deployed without city permission. Other cities have made pre-emptive actions banning the e-scooters. E-scooters appear to be facing similar city regulatory problems that ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft faced in the past.

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