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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.

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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.

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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.