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GSA/NGA Partnership on Geospatial Intelligence

ITS prides itself on meeting the future needs of federal agencies to help them make smarter, more strategic decisions. We collaborate with agencies to create cost-effective acquisition strategies that provide innovative solutions and superior service. We continue to expand our outreach and increase our partnerships to bring the full value and benefits of category management to our customers.

This approach has lead to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s (NGA) recent implementation of the Commercial Initiative to Buy Operationally Responsive GEOINT (CIBORG) Program. NGA’s Source Operations and Management Directorate and GSA have created a partnership to leverage our schedules and contractual instruments to enable commercial purchases for geospatial intelligence (GEOINT) data, products, and services.

NGA is a member of the GEOINT community that uses this information. We are eager to enhance our current offerings, as new commercial imagery providers emerge in this market, to meet the needs of federal, state, and local governments.

Industry Day

On June 16, 2016, we are co-hosting an industry day with NGA to discuss our partnership with the commercial sector.  Please join us for one of our sessions to learn more:

REGISTRATION:

AM Session 1:  9:00 – 11:30 AM Registration: http://go.usa.gov/cJWGP

PM Session 2:  1:00 – 3:30 PM Registration: http://go.usa.gov/cJWfV

LOCATION:

U.S. General Services Administration
Auditorium
1800 F Street, NW
Washington, DC  20405

PM Session 2:  1:00 – 3:30 PM Virtual Attendance Registration: http://go.usa.gov/cJWf5

Join our conversations about government IT on Twitter @GSA_ITS and LinkedIn.

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Federal Relay Communications Accessibility Services

Note: This is a guest blog post by Amando E. Gavino Jr., Director, Office of Network Services, ITS/FAS/GSA. He is responsible for a portfolio of contracts that provide government agencies with a diverse set of telecommunications solutions, including Networx, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS), SATCOM, Enterprise Mobility, Connections II, and the Federal Relay Service.

 

Federal agencies employ many persons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or have speech disabilities.

The Federal Relay program offers technologies to remove communication barriers for individuals with disabilities, so they can do their jobs and communicate with coworkers, supervisors, and other stakeholders including the U.S. citizens they serve.

Agencies and tribal governments also use the Federal Relay program for employees with or without disabilities to conduct official business with U.S. citizens who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speech-challenged.

The program allows federal employees and citizens to communicate through specially-trained communications assistants or video interpreters.

In Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15), 99 federal agencies used Federal Relay services. The business volume for FY15 was $15 million.

Serves Veterans

Federal Relay has become an excellent resource for federal agencies that hire disabled individuals, including veterans who served our nation sometimes at great personal cost.  

When veterans come home, we can’t let obstacles get in their way. Veterans working for the federal government rely on effective and dependable Federal Relay services to perform their jobs and communicate independently.

Trends in Accessible Technologies

Federal Relay services include Relay Conference Captioning (RCC), Video Relay Service (VRS), Video Remote Interpreting (VRI), Captioned Telephone, IP Relay (IP), and Speech-to- Speech.  

RCC is the most commonly used service, followed closely by Captioned Telephone and VRS/VRI. RCC offers real-time closed-captioning. It allows federal workers with disabilities to fully participate in staff meetings, training, webinars, and conference calls.

Captioned Telephone amplifies sound and displays text on a specially designed telephone. It is the service of choice for hard-of-hearing individuals.

VRI allows employees with disabilities to communicate with supervisors and team members immediately and spontaneously via a sign language interpreter. VRI is ideal for interviews, performance reviews, and impromptu discussions with supervisors.

Meets Section 504 Requirements

Many agencies already know Federal Relay supports Rehabilitation Act Section 504 accommodations for employees with disabilities in the workplace.

You can learn more about easy-to-use Federal Relay services by attending a free training session. Contact your agency’s Section 508 Coordinator for assistance setting up an on-site Federal Relay event at your work site. Or you may contact GSA’s Federal Relay Program Manager at patricia.stevens@gsa.gov.

To quickly and easily order services, visit the Federal Relay website. Most Federal Relay services are accessible anywhere in the United States.

image of federal relay words flag_bkgrnd

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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GSA Makes it Easier for You to Get on Schedule 70

A few weeks ago, GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth announced the agency’s new Making It Easier (MIE) initiatives giving government suppliers and small businesses the support they need to help them work with the government. MIE provides strategies and tools that are especially helpful for new and innovative companies seeking an IT Schedule 70 contract, and this program supports the Administrator’s vision for enhancing GSA’s role as an economic catalyst in communities around the country and as a proactive federal partner.

Every year, tens of billions of dollars are spent through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), however the vendor community has told us that it’s just too hard to get on GSA Schedule. And how, once you’re on Schedule, it can be confusing to figure out how to make changes to a contract. MIE puts an end to all that.

Using Plain Language to Explain Complex Topics

Our website is full of very useful information about MAS and IT Schedule 70. But for first timers, the entire offer process leading to getting on Schedule is quite daunting. And it can be particularly challenging for small companies. We know many vendors hire outside help to advise them, or, in some cases, even fully manage the entire contracting process. So when our industry partners suggested we come up with a way to describe the process of getting on Schedule using plain language, GSA’s 18F and IT Schedule 70 teamed up and took on that challenge.

The IT Schedule 70 Roadmap: A One Stop Shop for Becoming a Schedule 70 Industry Partner

We listened, we heard you, and we worked with you to clarify the process for becoming an IT Schedule 70 contract holder. We’ve created the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap that explains the offer process in plain English and also provides step-by-step instructions on how to successfully navigate it. What’s more, we’ve made it easier for you to find the most relevant information by consolidating existing tools and information into one place. We’re hoping that these changes, plus an increase in available support offered from our end, will result in even more highly qualified companies successfully supporting our government customers.

From start to finish, the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap helps our future industry partners prepare for and complete the offer process.

This initiative, with the other MIE projects, encourages all of our industry partners – especially those with innovative solutions – to join GSA in providing the best solutions to our agency customers.

Visit the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap today.

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Director of IT Schedule 70 Programs Job Posting (Revised)

As many of you know, GSA has been fortunate to have Kay Ely serve as the Director of IT Schedule 70 for the last 4.5 years. Schedule 70 is one of GSA’s largest programs, supporting $15B in agency IT procurements annually. In addition, Schedule 70 serves as the backbone for many government wide initiatives such as FSSI WIreless, the Satellite program, our software program DHS’ Continuous Diagnostic and Mitigation (CDM) program, National Information Technology Commodity Program (NITCP) BPAs, and the Government-wide Strategic Solutions for Laptops and Desktops, just to name a few.

Kay has recently been named as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of ITS, and we are now seeking a new Director of IT Schedule 70 Programs, a Senior Executive Service (SES) position, to lead our team of highly engaged and dedicated professionals as we drive our organization forward during a period of tremendous change and incredible possibility. The Director is responsible for leading a workforce of 150 acquisition professionals and for developing, managing and executing the IT Schedule Program, which provides access to private sector solutions for a wide variety of IT products, services, and solutions for federal, state, local and the tribal governments.

To give you a better understanding of this opportunity and what we are looking for, we decided to ask Kay to describe her experience, the expectations of the position,and what we seek in the next leader.

As you know, Schedule 70 is the largest, most comprehensive, and most widely used IT acquisition vehicle in the federal government, providing direct access to products, services, and solutions from more than 4,700 qualified industry partners to the tune of $15 billion in business volume. The program plays a significant role across all IT Categories.

At times, leading Schedule 70 has been the most challenging job I have ever had, but it has also been the most rewarding. I have grown personally in this job in more ways than I can name. I have also had the pleasure to lead one of the most innovative and hard-working groups of acquisition professionals in all of the federal government.

Schedule 70 has evolved over recent years and is on an upward trajectory of business growth. We expect to reach $15.2 Billion in FY2016!

How will we do that? Focusing on our core mission–to provide the best acquisition solutions–and we do that by working closely with other federal agencies and with industry. This is evident in the governmentwide teams we lead to create new common solutions for IT products and services. The Director of Schedule 70 must be able to forge partnerships with other federal agencies and with industry. We are working hard to make significant changes to the program to make it easier for our suppliers to do business with us. And we are putting new programs in place for our government buyers to help them find the very best solution possible. The job entails a lot of communication, both internally and externally, and lots of listening, considering our stakeholders’ diverse views, and ultimately finding a way to to negotiate solutions that serve many. The Director interacts at the most senior levels across government and with OMB to implement many acquisition- and IT-related initiatives.

In addition, as ITS undergoes an organizational transformation to support category management, the Director will be a leader and partner with our category teams, helping to ensure that Schedule 70 and the other acquisition solutions in ITS meet the needs of the agencies and understand the changes in the technology field that ultimately impact what agencies our buying across the IT categories. Schedule 70 will grow in this respect and needs a forward-thinking, innovative leader to shape the future of the organization.

Schedule 70 is on the horizon for the next big evolution of superior customer service. It is a great opportunity to shape the future of a program that is core to the success of government as a whole, including state, local, and tribal government.

I’ve heard government described as an oil tanker compared to a speed boat. A speed boat can zip around the water quickly, and an oil tanker has to adjust course methodically, but when it does, the wake and ripples it creates are much greater.

In the world of IT, Schedule 70 is that oil tanker, but with how quickly IT changes and shifts, we have to become a speedboat. We have done some great work to make that transition and I’m so proud of what we have accomplished, but our work isn’t done yet. The next person will have a great opportunity. The demands are high and so are our standards. Are you up to the challenge?

Our mission is to help other federal agencies get the job done; if you think you’re up for the challenge go to USAJOBS.gov and apply. Use job announcement #16110081. It closes on Thursday, March 31, 2016.