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EIS Takes Big Steps to Collaborate

It’s April. It’s Spring. And, it’s the time of year when we do spring cleaning to revitalize our lawns, clean messy garages, and refresh our winter-weary homes.

It’s also a great time to kick off a series of live GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) “Information Exchange” sessions with industry and launch a new EIS interactive online community for federal government agencies and potential industry partners.

EIS is the main component of the Network Services 2020 (NS2020) Strategy. It will replace GSA’s Networx and regional and local contracts, which many agencies currently use to acquire best-value IT, telecom, and infrastructure. Agencies will start to transition in 2017.

Attend Information Exchange Days

We issued an EIS Draft Request for Proposal (RFP) in February. Our partners in government and industry responded with more than 1,500 comments on the Draft RFP. We’re excited about the amount of interest in the Draft RFP and we’re looking forward to good, constructive conversations.

We’ll continue this productive dialog during “information exchange” days before we issue the RFP.  These “information exchange” sessions are open to government and industry and will take place on April 27, May 28 and June 30.

The information exchange sessions will give government and industry a chance to talk about the upcoming RFP and discuss common themes, insights, and issues. Stay tuned to the EIS Interact Community for how to register for the remaining sessions. Space is limited.

Join EIS Interact Community

To make EIS a success, we must ensure continuous collaboration and feedback. The EIS Interact community opened on April 17. This open forum is for GSA, agencies, and industry to continually collaborate and share ideas.

The EIS transition planning process, for example, has started. In order to be successful, we need to share insights and lessons learned. On the Interact community, we can jointly share transition insights and lessons to add value for every agency and make government-wide transitioning smoother overall.

How valuable the open forum will be depends on the value of member contributions. When we share good generic tips, ideas, and helpful insights, we serve our shared needs.

For any non-public discussions, including those related to proprietary information, you should use the EIS mailbox, which is EIS.Mailbox@gsa.gov.

To join the Interact community, visit the site to become a member. You will have access to community postings, including from GSA, and can participate, share and receive helpful information via the discussions.

Collaboration is Shaping EIS from the Start

These efforts mark the next logical steps in our continued emphasis on EIS collaboration.

Government and industry working together has been part of the EIS acquisition effort from day one. This is vital to ensure federal agency needs are met and industry partners have input early into the contract.

Our first step was to gather feedback and input on lessons learned from current contracts and past telecom transitions.

We’ve issued Requests for Information (RFIs) and posted a Draft Request for Proposal (RFP) on FBO.gov to gather EIS input and recommendations from stakeholders and share the planned EIS approach.

We continue to work in partnership with government agencies and industry partners, such as with one-on-one meetings, working groups, advisory panels, and by participating at other government and industry events.

This Spring marks a new season in collaboration. We encourage you to join the EIS Interact Community and come to information exchange days. Let’s keep moving in the right direction together!

If you need help or information on GSA’s EIS acquisition, go to our EIS Webpage.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join GSA’s IT acquisition conversation.

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Connecting with ITS

If  you’re a regular reader of the ITS blog, you already know that we provide the government IT and acquisition communities with private-sector solutions for everything from simple IT commodities to complex infrastructure and emerging technology. Now, we’ve made it even easier for government buyers and our industry partners to get the information they need, whether it’s acquisition assistance or information about the latest telecommunications and technology initiatives: just visit gsa.gov/technology to connect with us.

gsa.gov/itshelp also provides access to statement of work (SOW) templates, ordering guides, ordering systems and the other tools government buyers need to get the job done, including the IT Solutions Navigator, a self guided decision tool that can point you to the contract vehicle that best meets your IT needs.

Check out what’s new  — The Acquisition Gateway

Among the challenges facing acquisition professionals when purchasing products and services is understanding how individual submarkets approach pricing and offerings, and what contracts already exist government wide to support acquisition of these services.

To address this need, GSA has turned to category management to reinvent acquisition, a tactic already used to help many Fortune 500 companies buy smarter. Work is now underway to develop the new Common Acquisition Platform (CAP), which will provide access and insights into transactional data from across government and help guide buyers through every step of the full acquisition process to include shared best practices from industry experts and thought leaders alike. CAP will also reduce the need for maintaining redundant and duplicative acquisition vehicles, systems and tools.

GSA has also launched the Acquisition Gateway, a space for acquisition professionals to  learn, connect, and act upon acquisition information, expertise, and advice.  Content on the Acquisition Gateway is divided into product and service category hallways and resources.

The IT category already has two active hallways, IT Hardware and IT Software, providing pricing tools and information, sample SOWs, best practices, and expert articles relative to that specific category for contract solutions across government. The Acquisition Gateway will be an important tool in supporting and improving how the federal community acquires IT.

By May 2015, additional hallways will be launched for Telecommunications, IT Security, IT Consulting, and IT Outsourcing, in addition to other categories outside of IT.

This is an exciting time to be a part of IT acquisition and I’ll have much more to discuss in June, but in the meantime, I recommend all government employees access the Acquisition Gateway.  Check back often as this is an agile platform that is expected to grow as its user base increases and becomes more collaborative.

Resolving Your Issues

Our goal is to resolve your issues within 48 hours and, even though federal acquisition can get complex, we’re doing quite well.

ITS FY15 Case Origin – How Customers /Vendors Reach Out to NCSC Number of FY15 Cases (Issues / Inquiries) Average Case Resolution Time Percentage of Cases Closed Within 48 Hours
Phone 693 36 Hours 85%
E-mail Inquiry 405 42 Hours 82%
Live Chat 244 34 Hours 87%
FY15 Total 1,342 38 Hours 84%

 

Stay Tuned

Getting updates on gsa.gov pages is an easy way for agencies and Industry to stay up to date on contract and program features, innovations, and changes.

For example, when GSA updates the free downloadable SOW templates on our website, you can receive an alert to let you they’re available.

You can subscribe to updates for a wide range of topics, including Technology and Telecommunications, Schedule 70, and Cloud IT Services. Just go to Get Updates, enter your email address, select your interests, set any preferences you prefer (including how often you’d like to receive alerts), and you’re ready to go. It’s that simple.  Of course, we’ll continue to share news “as it happens” on this blog.

And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join GSA’s IT acquisition conversation.

We Value Your Feedback

Our goal is simple: provide the support agency buyers and Industry partners need. Receiving feedback at every stage of the journey is critical to continuous improvement, driving value, and outstanding customer service. GSA already reaches out to agencies and vendors when we’re shaping specific programs, receives continuous feedback from customer and industry groups, and looks at our impact through our customer and vendor satisfaction surveys. You can find “Rate This Page”on the bottom right of our IT webpages.

Please help us to help you meet your IT acquisition needs by using the “Rate This Page” tool to fill out this form. It will just take a few seconds, but the information you provide about what’s working well and what’s not is invaluable.

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Big News for Govt Telecom, IT, Infrastructure

GSA is taking two key steps in our efforts to establish the future acquisition contract for government-wide IT, infrastructure, and telecommunications.

  1. On February 28 we issued a draft Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contracts. EIS will be the follow-on contract vehicle to the existing heavily-used government-wide Networx and regional telecom contracts.
  2. We are beginning discussions with current Networx contractors for three-year extensions to existing Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. Originally set to expire in March and May 2017, the contracts will expire in March 2020 and in May 2020.

Our goals with EIS are:

  • Simplify the process of acquiring information technology and telecommunications products and services
  • Provide cost savings through aggregated volume buying and price and spend visibility
  • Enable the procurement of integrated enterprise-wide solutions
  • Foster competition and promote participation by small businesses
  • Offer a flexible and agile suite of services that supports a range of government purchasing patterns

Give Us Your Input on the Draft RFP

The draft RFP comes after significant and extensive industry and agency engagement.  We are encouraging comments and suggestions from both industry and government to help us finalize and further shape our program and contract.  We are extremely interested in ideas that will streamline the requirements for, or result in, an expedited transition and allow agencies and industry to transition to EIS in a timely and efficient manner.

The deadline for comments for this draft RFP is March 31, 2015. You can send feedback and comments to EIS.mailbox@gsa.gov.

Next steps will include:

  •  Continue to work with industry and agencies to implement ongoing Networx and regional efficiencies
  • Review draft EIS RFP feedback and make changes when it makes sense
  • Schedule an industry day to go over the draft RFP and updates
  • Issue the final EIS RFP in July 2015
  • Work with agencies and industry in transition planning for Networx and expiring regional contracts prior to award of EIS; in fact, GSA has already begun inventory analysis and validation on all expiring contracts
  • Target award of EIS contracts and issue Notification To Proceed to successful offerors by January 2017
  • Plan for agencies to start transition from Networx and regional contracts to EIS in 2017
  • Complete transition of Networx and regional customers to EIS no later than May 2020

Networx Extensions: Next Steps

Today, most federal agencies purchase network services through the Networx telecommunications program.  In FY 2014, Networx business volume was $1.5B.

The Networx 3-year contract extensions are designed to provide time for a phased and orderly transition to EIS.

We are working with existing Networx Universal and Enterprise contractors to complete the modifications to extend the contracts so they will be available in parallel with the EIS contracts for three years after the EIS award.

The Networx extensions will simplify and make the transition easier by ensuring agencies uninterrupted existing services during this time.  GSA is increasing staffing and support to provide agencies with requirements development, acquisition assistance, and transition assistance.

Staggered agency implementation across government will support strategic deployment of GSA’s and contractors’ resources and expertise to assist agencies.

The three-year extension and transition period will also give agencies flexibility as they balance internal resources between transition activities and other agency priorities.

The EIS acquisition, along with the Networx extensions, are the cornerstones of the NS2020 strategy, which is designed to lower the cost of providing network services and improve acquisition efficiency.

Finally, we are continuing to take a close look at the best ways to continue services provided through existing regional contracts, including WITS 3, prior to also transitioning those services to EIS.

Remember to send feedback and comments on the draft RFP by March 31, 2015 to EIS.mailbox@gsa.gov. If you have any other questions about EIS, the draft RFP, or Networx extensions, check out our Need Help webpage for the ways you can contact us.

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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.