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GSA’s Startup Springboard Speeds Access for Small Businesses to Government

By Kay Ely, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Information Technology Category

Just a few years ago you’d be hard pressed to find a tech startup with a GSA contract.  But that’s a thing of the past, thanks in part to GSA’s innovative IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard, which offers new and smaller IT businesses an easier and faster way to get a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract.

What is the Startup Springboard?

An integral part of GSA’s Making It Easier initiative, the IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard offers tech startups and young companies an alternative to the two-year professional experience requirement traditionally required of a company trying to get on a GSA Schedule.

With Springboard, prospective industry partners can use their executives’ professional backgrounds, key personnel’s project experience, and related financial documents to complete their IT Schedule 70 proposals.

Making It Easier

For years we heard from industry that the unique government requirement of two-years of corporate experience before becoming a schedule contractor caused problems for small businesses, and were particularly challenging for startups. Vendors had previously found it very difficult to navigate the complex path to getting on the schedule while customer agencies were not able to access the emerging technologies available in the market particularly from startups.

The Startup Springboard addresses our customers’ emerging technology needs by getting companies and their innovative solutions onto IT Schedule 70 and into the hands of customer agencies faster, increasing acquisition and operational efficiencies, providing greater opportunities for small businesses, and saving taxpayers money.

Success Stories

As of September 2017, 14 companies, 13 of them small businesses, have been awarded IT Schedule 70 contracts under the Startup Springboard initiative. Among them is Vricon, a provider of imagery solutions to the intelligence and military communities. Vricon had its first deal within a week of getting on IT Schedule 70: a $2 million contract with the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM). And with $5 million in sales to the government to date, the young company quickly helped us prove the Springboard really does what it was designed to do: make it easier for new and innovative companies to start working with government.

Security Solutions Technology (SST) had only been in business eight months before joining IT Schedule 70 through the Springboard program. SST provides IT and cybersecurity services and solutions to federal, state, and local government agencies and has more than $1.8 million in sales so far.

Springboard has also helped HUBZone and certified veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB) and woman-owned small businesses (WOSB) get on IT Schedule 70. See the complete list of businesses now on IT Schedule 70 that went through the Springboard process at the end of this blog post.

Bringing it All Together

The success of the IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard and our other tools is a direct result of our commitment to addressing longstanding concerns of industry partners and government agencies. We’re addressing our customers’ emerging technology needs by getting companies — and their innovative solutions — onto IT Schedule 70 faster.

For general information about the program, visit the IT Schedule 70 Startup Springboard page.

The following companies have been added to IT Schedule 70 via the Startup Springboard since the program began in April 2016:

  • Alpine Consulting Partners, LLC — providing computer systems design services
  • Cambridge Federal, LLC — a HUBZone VOSB providing IT and Investigations and Security (I&S) Security: providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Coffmatech — an economically disadvantaged minority woman owned small business (EDWOSB) providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Concept to Integration Technologies,LLC — a service disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • The Crevalle Group, LLC — providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Nala Digital Solutions, Inc. — a SDVOSB providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Planet Defense, LLC — a woman owned business providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Resilient Solutions 21 LLC — providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Security Solutions Technology ,LLC — a veteran owned a VIP-certified SDVOSB providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Spathe Systems, LLC — an 8(A), small business, and SDVOSB-certified business providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Tangent Technologies, Inc. — a woman owned SDVOSB providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • TrussWorks, Inc. — providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services
  • Vricon, Inc. — providing commercial IT equipment, software, and services

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

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Art of the Possible in Innovative Acquisition Solutions

(Note: This is a guest blog post by Keith Nakasone, Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Acquisition Operations within ITC in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). In this capacity, he oversees ITC’s acquisitions workforce.)

Over the past 25 years, I’ve learned that textbook or classroom education alone won’t do the job. Staying on top of the IT acquisition curve also requires staff to regularly use IT innovation labs, environments where bleeding-edge technology has been successfully used to solve day-to-day business challenges.

As we explore the Art of the Possible by using artificial intelligence (AI) within acquisition solutions, I took a small team to visit a company that develops and delivers AI capabilities. Exposing government acquisition professionals directly to new technologies helps our staff to more fully understand what AI can do. In turn, they can help program managers develop even better contracts to more effectively help deliver mission requirements and desired outcomes in government.

As we continue to build IT procurement vehicles, we recognize how important it is to understand the technology, what it can do, and how we can inject new and innovative solutions into our acquisition vehicles not only for now, but for the future.

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

GSA’s Jasmine Alexander, Brendan Mahoney, Brian Whitaker, Giovanni Onwuchekwa, and Keith Nakasone visiting IPsoft in New York City.

 

Our staff was greeted by Amelia, IPsoft’s cognitive agent. According to our industry partner, Amelia can take on a wide variety of service desk roles and transform customer experience.

 

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Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) GWAC Awarded

If small businesses are the backbone to our economy, then veterans of the armed forces are the backbone of our country. Even after their sacrifices through military service, many veterans continue to serve our great nation by providing innovative information technology (IT) solutions to government.

GSA prides itself on delivering mission critical IT solutions that make a meaningful difference to the agencies we support and the citizens that count on them. This philosophy is at the center of our development of new IT contract vehicles and I’m proud that it played a vital role as GSA created our new Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC).

VETS 2 – a unique acquisition vehicle

The new VETS 2 GWAC is a unique contribution to the federal acquisition community — the only GWAC set-aside exclusively for Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB). VETS 2 is designed to be flexible enough to meet diverse agency IT requirements, including new and emerging technologies. VETS 2 also enables GSA to continue its support of the SDVOSB Procurement Program, while helping federal agencies achieve their socio-economic goals.

Contract development at its best

Lessons learned from our original VETS contract played a big role in building VETS 2, as did extensive market research. In conjunction with issuing a request for information (RFI) and draft request for proposal (RFP), we also surveyed hundreds of past and current GWAC ordering contracting officers, created a government customer working group, and utilized a GSA Interact page to collaborate with more than 1,000 members from industry and government to design VETS 2. The result is a multiple award indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract with a best-in-class designation and 70 of the world’s premier SDVOSB IT service providers.

What’s new with VETS 2

All of the team’s research and due diligence, coupled with VETS success resulted in a VETS 2 contract that is even better than its predecessor. New key features include:

  • The ability for cost-type contracts
  • An expanded scope for virtually any IT services-based solution – including cybersecurity and new, emerging technologies
  • An overall simplified contract through the elimination of functional areas – a simplified scope covering all IT services
  • A larger pool of suppliers — an even greater proportion of which now hold International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) certifications, facility clearances levels, audited/approved cost accounting systems, and experience working with multiple agencies.

We couldn’t be more thrilled about the launch of VETS 2 as we continue our commitment to providing IT solutions with the ongoing help of the veteran community.

For more information, please visit www.gsa.gov/VETS2 or contact VETS2@gsa.gov.

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

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OMB Marks More GSA Tech Solutions as “Best in Class”

GSA’s Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) received some exciting news at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017: five more of GSA’s Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and one Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA) based on IT Schedule 70 SIN 132-53 have been designated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as “Best-in-Class” (BIC).

BIC designations signal to the acquisition community that these vehicles meet rigorous category management performance criteria and confirm that we’re offering solutions and processes necessary to meet government’s IT requirements not just today, but well into the future.

The six new additions to ITC’s BIC offerings are all pre-vetted, governmentwide contract solutions supporting the governmentwide move to mature, market-proven solutions:

With these additions, GSA has a total of eight BIC IT offerings—our Government-wide Strategic Solution (GSS) Laptop/Desktop and IT Schedule 70’s Hardware & Software SINs were part of the first group OMB recognized in the IT category.

We see these new BIC designations, as proof that GSA is developing the programs and contracts that will shape and lead future IT category management efforts. What’s more, they’re evidence that we use taxpayer funds efficiently and productively, enabling our customers to better fulfill their missions.

BIC Benefits

How does BIC benefit government agencies?

BIC contracts are recognized as being “good-for-government” purchasing solutions which should be used by all agencies. To be named BIC, contract vehicles must satisfy five key criteria defined by OMB:

  1. Rigorous requirements definitions and planning processes
  2. Appropriate pricing strategies
  3. Data-driven strategies to change buying and consumption behavior (i.e., demand management)
  4. Category and performance management strategies
  5. Independently validated reviews

BIC GWACs

Alliant, Alliant SB, and VETS 2 GWACs offer fixed-price, cost-reimbursement, labor-hour, and time-and-materials task order types, providing greater flexibility in procuring a broad range of IT services. These solutions provide access to new and emerging technologies designed to help government agencies meet their mission requirements. Our BIC GWACS can also help agencies save between 4 percent and 19 percent on average. Again, GSA expects to award the second iteration of Alliant and Alliant SB (Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 SB, respectively), by the end of the calendar year.

BIC BPA

Our FSSI Wireless BPAs are based in GSA’s IT Schedule 70 SIN 132-53, which improves the procurement and management of wireless services across government. And the good news is that the market opportunity for government wireless services is currently estimated to be $945 million annually.

Going Forward

These BIC designations let agencies and industry know we are meeting our own high standards of customer service and acquisition expertise. Whether they are using contracts officially recognized as “Best-in-Class” or another solution, our customers and partners can expect the same quality and excellence in all of our products and services. As I wrote in an earlier blog, “We believe a BIC designation is not the end state, but rather an important milestone on a journey to help agencies improve their buying strategies.”

Learn more about GSA’s BIC designations on Acquisition Gateway.

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