0

GSA Solutions to Help Federal Agencies Comply with White House Cybersecurity Mandates

The government faces cyber attacks daily and we’re all sensitive to the importance of securing government information. To ensure our data is protected, there are long standing and recent federal mandates and guidelines in place to secure federal information systems. As quickly as the cybersecurity space changes, it can be challenging to keep current and stay protected.

At GSA, we offer a suite of cybersecurity products, services and solutions to help agencies comply with mandates and enhance security of our federal systems.

Below is a video from GSA’s Center for Strategic Solutions and Security Services, featuring Acting Director Shon Lyublanovits. In the video, Shon provides an overview of the current White House initiatives as well as GSA solutions that help federal agencies comply with cybersecurity mandates.

View the video on YouTube: http://youtu.be/KQXES4BwYf4

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

0

Small Business GWAC Program

(This blog post is part of a multi-week series reviewing data and trends from GSA’s IT acquisition vehicles for FY14. Read previous posts at http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/technology/)

Small businesses are the backbone of job growth and constitute a major force in the U.S. economy. They generate a vital portion of our gross domestic product (GDP) and contribute to growth and vitality of economic and socioeconomic development. In particular, small businesses create jobs and spark innovation, which complement the economic activity of large organizations by providing them with products and services that contribute to their bottom line.

Here at GSA, we pride ourselves on helping the government utilize small business. We have multiple acquisition vehicles that connect government to small business. This provides agencies the flexibility to choose the best acquisition vehicle to meet their need. Some of these vehicles reside in our Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC) program.

Small Business (SB) GWACs provide powerful and flexible contracts that support agencies’ complex projects and requirements. These contracts experienced a tremendous amount of growth in FY 2014. Total business volume growth increased by approximately $400M on our three active SB GWACs, comprising 8(a) STARS II, Alliant Small Business, and VETS, from FY13 to FY14; an increase of approximately 19%.

Scope Reviews: Lowering risk and increasing customer support

Part of that increase is due to our complimentary scope reviews for statements of work (SOW). The team works with agencies to help determine whether requirements are within scope of a GWAC within two to five business days. This service reduces the risk of protest.  The Small Business GWAC Pre-award Scope Review Team recently analyzed the pre-award scope review process to see how our contracts are being used.

The number of pre-award scope reviews conducted on our active small business GWAC increased by 12% (253 to 287) from FY13 to FY14.  Across all three of the small business GWACs, IT Support Services is the predominant type of work being considered.

During FY14, GSA conducted 285 reviews and performed those reviews in 1.3 days on average. Retrospectively, the scope review process provides a clear understanding of the requirements, establishes a baseline for proposal evaluation, reduces evaluation and negotiation time, and most importantly minimizes the need for future changes. Understanding the trends of these scopes gives us a better understanding of how to promote small business contracting and satisfy our customers’ needs.

Buying Trends

Some of the most popular uses were for IT Support Services like Help Desk, software maintenance, and system operations.

Small Business GWACs represent 45% of GSA’s total GWAC obligations for FY14.

  • The Alliant Small Business Program experienced a 17% increase in obligations for FY14 compared to FY13.
  • 60 of 80 Alliant small business primes have at least one task order award
  • The 8(a) STARS II GWAC is the follow-on to the very successful 8(a) STARS GWAC.  The contract was awarded August 31, 2011 and resulted in 645 awards in FY14 with over $641 million in obligations.
  • The 8(a) STARS II Program has seen a 41% increase in obligations for FY14 compared to FY13.
  • The Veterans Technology Services (VETS) GWAC has obligations from 16 different federal agency customers.  All contract holders have received task orders totaling over $1 billion in obligations. In FY14, VETS added 14 task orders with $17.1 million in obligations.

Looking Ahead

The future of Small Business GWACs is bright. We’ve seen agencies increase the use of our GWACs to reach their small business goals and meet their IT demands, and we’ve seen businesses grow beyond their small-business designation due to their participation on our program.

This next year is going to be an exciting time for our Small Business GWACs. We’re going to continue to exceed customer expectations by bringing additional value like our complimentary scope reviews and prices paid data. Our flexible vehicles and focus on customer service should help us continue to expand the usage of these vehicles as we look into the future toward our next generation Small Business GWACs.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

0

Schedule 70 in the State and Local Market

(This blog post is part of a multi-week series reviewing data and trends from GSA’s IT acquisition vehicles for FY14. Read previous posts at http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/technology/)

State and local governments are adopting Schedule 70 at a rapidly growing rate. They have the ability to receive the same benefits that federal agencies receive when using Schedule 70: fast and easy acquisitions and access to a large range of pre-vetted vendors at prices determined to be fair and reasonable.  The program is called the Cooperative Purchasing Program and allows state and local entities to use Schedule 70 and Schedule 84.

State and local: by the numbers

  1. Growth: The usage of Schedule 70 by state and local governments increased almost 30% last year to $846 million in volume. The projected IT spend at the state and local level has increased over the past couple of years, and the growth of usage of Schedule 70 has outpaced that growth.
  2. Outreach: GSA has increased overall focus on outreach and training to state and local governments on the use of Schedules 70 and 84.
  3. Local vendors: An enormous benefit to state and local governments is access to companies in their local communities.  Schedule 70 has thousands of vendors located across the US and many state/local entities encourage local businesses to consider GSA Schedule as an option.  80% of the companies on Schedule 70 are small businesses and GSA can provide support to those companies seeking to obtain a Schedule contract.
  4. Positioned for future growth: for state and local,  growth in spend is occurring in areas such as software, IT services, systems, and IT outsourcing. These are areas that we expect to see continued future growth in state and local markets.

Improving efficiencies in all levels of government

The state and local IT market is valued at over $60 billion. Although the market is significantly more fragmented than the federal market, GSA is ready to help all forms of government become more efficient, spend smarter, and support delivery of services to the citizens. We will continue to work with local governments and vendors in an effort to drive greater value for the taxpayer.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

0

FY 2014 Delivers Enterprise Growth in Wireless

(This blog post is part of a multi-week series reviewing data and trends from GSA’s IT acquisition vehicles for FY14. Read previous posts at http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/technology/)

As we all know, the explosion in demand for wireless and mobile services is continuing at a pace hard to keep up with. And with that popularity comes government’s continuing need to find ways to exploit those technologies while simultaneously saving money and increasing acquisition and operational efficiencies.

In FY 2014, we saw agencies increasingly turn to GSA’s Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Wireless Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs). Initially launched in the second half of FY 2013, the BPAs experienced substantial growth in FY 2014, with multiple enterprise level buys (greater than 2,500 units) awarded and task order-level competition yielding very competitive rates and cost savings for most federal users.

Since June 2014, month over month program growth exceeded 30%. Additional awards are anticipated in early FY 2015 increasing agency usage and savings (>20%) for the foreseeable future.

Cost Savings, Choice, and Efficiency

The growing demand of the FSSI Wireless solution is largely due to the >22% cost savings they deliver and the flexible features they offer (including no-charge refreshable devices, open market premium devices, agency-level pooling to reduce overage costs, and adherence to federal policies and administrative priorities). The achieved savings by participating agencies is compared to their prior rates or government-wide average and not list prices.

FSSI Wireless BPA task order competitions have driven rates lower from the award value to rates as low as $42, $40, $38, and $36 per user per month for many common smartphone plans.

This competition lowered the average monthly rate across all federal mobile users to approximately $40 per user. The prior average rate across government based on the contracts we reviewed was nearly $55, which was comprised primarily of devices with limited data capabilities. This means the FSSI Wireless BPAs are producing considerable additional savings for agencies as they deploy devices with a much greater data-intensive footprint.

The BPAs have the added advantage they include government-wide discounts that apply as government-wide usage increases, which adds even greater value.

The more agencies use the BPAs, the greater the current and future cost savings for the government and taxpayers.

Initial savings are through the discounted wireless plan pricing and no-cost devices. Two of the four carriers on contract have committed that the BPA prices are the lowest they offer government buyers.  In addition, agencies can see the published prices on all the BPAs in a single place.

In addition, the pooling option for data and minutes are saving agency dollars by allowing high-volume users to leverage the unused minutes and MBs purchased by lower volume users, further reducing overage costs.

Savings came in acquisition efficiencies too. In the past year, some agencies procured services from the BPAs in as little as 3-5 days.  One agency procured 3500-plus devices in less than two months and indicated they could have executed the order in less time.

Wireless Buying Trends

The most popular data add-on and data-only plans are the 500MB Pooled and Unlimited plans. The most popular voice plans under the BPAs are the 400 Minute Pooled and 100 Minute Pooled plans.

We’re finding agencies default to unlimited when they don’t know what they will use to avoid potential overages. The FSSI wireless contracts offer agencies usage data enabling them to structure the right plan and pooling arrangement that will satisfy individual needs reducing risk of overages.

During 2014, government agencies also took advantage of additional assistance offered by GSA to help manage the mobile component of their IT enterprise by using GSA’s Managed Mobility sources of supply list or the FSSI Wireless BPAs to add mobile management resources they can bundle with wireless service plans.

Overall, 2014 was a successful year for GSA’s wireless and mobile programs.  Building on the FSSI Wireless Program and Managed Mobility Program, we consolidated these solutions and category management approaches under the GSA Enterprise Mobility Program.

Going forward in 2015, we expect wireless BPA usage and savings to continue to grow. Several agencies indicate the BPAs will be their contract vehicle of choice for all future acquisition of wireless services.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.