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Strengthening Strategic Partnerships – Health IT

By Keith Nakasone, Deputy Assistant Commissioner, IT Acquisition

To do our job as the premier provider of efficient and effective acquisition solutions across government, GSA relies heavily on strong partnerships to provide our customers with faster, smarter, and better value IT solutions.

Recently, I participated in an industry day hosted by the Defense Health Agency (DHA). I attend these types of events because they bring executives, operations, and industry together in real-time to make important decisions at the speed of innovation.

Supporting and collaborating with DHA on their health IT industry day is just one way we continue to strengthen our partnership with them.

Gaining a better understanding of DHA’s health IT requirements, as well as how GSA fits in to its strategic plan as an acquisition solutions partner, helps us shape our solutions to drive mission success for DHA and other customer agencies.

DHA Reverse Industry Day

DHA also held a reverse industry day, with their industry partners covering innovative solutions through vendor think tank presentations on topics such as comprehensive IT tracking systems, standardizing medical device integration, cloud services, telehealth solutions, and cyber governance.

This integrated industry day helped DHA get to know the capabilities of providers on our Health IT Services Special Item Number (SIN) 132-56 on IT Schedule 70.

Our Health IT Services SIN helps agencies to easily find new partners and access emerging and innovative health IT services. The GSA Health IT Service SIN :

  • simplifies the process of procuring commercial health IT services,
  • provides cost savings through aggregated volume buying,
  • offers greater price-and-spend visibility, and
  • fosters competition while supporting small business.

Collaboration Leads to Solutions

Having these in-person engagements allows us to build our procurement solutions to better understand industry’s capabilities and agency requirements. All parties involved benefit from the knowledge exchange:

  • Agencies can share their forecasted requirements with industry,
  • Industry representatives can present their perspectives and capabilities to the acquisition workforce, and
  • GSA helps our agency customers acquire the solutions they need from industry.

It’s all about collaboration–beginning with knowledge sharing, which leads to problem-solving and ultimately an acquisition solution.

We plan on doing more collaborative events like DHA’s industry day. For us, attending and supporting these events underpins our mission of maximizing customer value and mission productivity through IT acquisitions.

If your agency is interested in hosting an industry day event, let us know so we can support and attend.

We welcome any feedback from our partners to continue improving these engagement opportunities.

For more information on collaborating with us, please visit www.gsa.gov/itc.

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

Back row (left to right): Keith Nakasone-GSA ITC DAC for Acquisition; Jill Thomas-GSA ITC Div Director; Keith George-GSA ITC Contracting Officer; Karen Beyer-GSA CSD, Jane Scroggins-GSA ITC Branch Chief.
Front Row (left to right): Jackie Pinkston-DHA Chief J4 CAE Contracting Office; Tara Wetli-GSA ITC Contract Specialist; Pat Molina-GSA ITC Contracting Officer, Dr. Barclay Butler-DHA CAE

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GSA’s VETS 2 GWAC Open for Business

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

Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) is now open for business and ready to accept task orders.

VETS 2 is the only GWAC in the federal government set aside exclusively for Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB).  It’s designed to meet diverse agency IT services requirements, including new and emerging technologies. SDVOSBs are foundational to helping the government make important changes to modernize aging and legacy IT systems.  GSA is committed to ensuring we tap into their expertise through contracts like VETS 2.

Like its successful predecessor, VETS 2 provides agencies with access to customized IT solutions from a highly qualified pool of industry partners.  The original VETS contract helped participating SDVOSB businesses deliver $2.1 billion in services and solutions to the federal government. We’d like to match or exceed that on VETS 2.

In developing the new VETS 2, we performed an unprecedented amount of market research that centered around customer and industry feedback.  In addition to 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 used the feedback to enhance the offering.

VETS 2 GWAC highlights include:

  • Best-in-Class – VETS 2 is a Best-in-Class (BIC) contract designated by the Office of Management and Budget as a preferred governmentwide solution
  • Comprehensive Scope – VETS 2 meets a variety of diverse agency IT requirements, including new and emerging technologies
  • Flexible Contract Types – fixed price, cost reimbursement, time & materials, and labor hour orders are all allowed
  • Allows for Long-Term Planning – VETS 2 has a five-year base period and one five-year option period
  • Robust Contractor Pool – VETS 2 provides access to 70 highly qualified SDVOSB firms
  • Socioeconomic Impact – VETS 2 helps federal agencies support our veteran community while achieving their prime contract goals using SDVOSBs

IT Services Scope

In addition to common IT services that the federal government regularly purchases, VETS 2 also fulfills projects that require new or emerging IT services.

Scope includes, but is not limited to:

  • Data management
  • Information and communications technology
  • IT operations and maintenance
  • IT security
  • Software development
  • Systems design

We look forward to working with you through the VETS 2 GWAC as we continue our commitment to providing IT solutions with the ongoing help of the veteran community.

For more information, including how to order, please visit www.gsa.gov/VETS2 or contact us at VETS2@gsa.gov.

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

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GSA’s Enterprise Mobility Program Continues to Drive Agency Benefits and Savings

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

GSA continues to help shape governmentwide IT acquisition through our strong industry partnerships and collaboration with agencies across government. The operating principles of “Standardization, Simplification, and Savings” guide how we talk about, develop requirements for, and buy mobile products and services.

One of our more productive efforts is the governmentwide Mobile Services Category Team (MSCT). This cross-government group fosters effective collaboration and advancements among government IT and acquisition professionals through a membership base of almost 200 agency and 80 industry participants. Through the MSCT, we’re working with these stakeholders to improve and streamline how the government buys mobile technologies.

Established in 2015, the team consists of the departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and State, as well as the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Shaping Governmentwide IT Acquisition

The MSCT’s mission is to advance adoption of mobile technology to support an agile and evolving government workforce. MCST helps government agencies learn from each other how to most effectively meet their missions and do their work securely, anywhere, anytime, and on any device.

The MSCT gives agencies the tools they need to implement various aspects of mobility more effectively and efficiently through:

  • Unified acquisition: Consolidates the number and variety of dispersed contracts to reduce life-cycle management costs and drive better volume discounts via existing government-wide solutions.
  • Improved information management: Simplifies management and enables centralized access to requirements, standards, and data to easily identify opportunities for cost savings.
  • Center of excellence: Uses best practices and collaboration across stakeholders to optimize performance and increase value.

GSA worked with the MSCT to build a library of resources available to government agencies. These new resources help federal buyers address a broad scope of mobile technologies and capabilities to include:

  • telecommunications expense management (TEMs)
  • virtual mobile infrastructure (VMI)
  • mobile device/enterprise mobility management
  • mobile identity management
  • mobile backend, and
  • mobile threat protection

Each resource includes a technology definition, service overview, and buying guidance that can be used for education, solution design, and acquisition support. Consolidating these resources will help agencies develop a mobile strategy that supports their purchasing.

GSA’s Contracts Drive Savings and Growth

GSA’s Mobility Team continues to increase savings for buyers in the mobile space through the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI). On average, GSA customers saved 26% in 2017 through FSSI Wireless solutions.

To drive more savings across the mobile category, we’re extending the FSSI Wireless Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) for six more months to November 2018.

This extension will help government agencies finalize their agreements this fiscal year.

As we plan for the next generation of buying tools for the wireless space, rather than develop a replacement for the current BPAs, GSA’s Enterprise Mobility Program is working with the MSCT to develop a Request for Quote (RFQ) engine that agencies can use to buy wireless services through existing contracts in a flexible, cost-effective, smart, and simple way.

We’re proud that federal agencies are getting great savings and results through the FSSI Wireless solution. We’re also thrilled with the work our GSA Enterprise Mobility Program is doing with the MSCT. The MSCT has set the bar for successful and productive cross-agency and industry engagement, demonstrating that government-industry partnerships and collaboration across agencies can help federal agencies meet their mission in government’s day-to-day mobile operations.

Want to know more? Visit the MSCT website.

Have questions or want to provide feedback? Contact wireless@gsa.gov.

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

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Recent Successes Inspire Our Way Forward

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

As the end of the year approaches, I’m full of pride looking back on the accomplishments of the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) in 2017.

Our team has achieved best-in-class (BIC) designations on a number of important contract vehicles and we’re continuing to work towards BIC on others. We launched — or are on the verge of launching — a number of significant contract vehicles, including Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS), Alliant 2, Alliant 2 Small Business, and Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2). We further advanced our offerings for cybersecurity, geospatial, wireless solutions, and many others.

Each of these efforts will help our customers accomplish their missions with greater efficiency and lower costs in 2018.

Since taking the reins of ITC, I’ve challenged the team to follow three guiding principles:

  • Achieve breakthrough performance
  • Be a catalyst for customer mission success
  • Shape government-wide IT acquisition

As we wrap up 2017, I’d like to share just a few stories of how ITC has done this, working with agencies and our industry partners.

Using Innovative Solutions to Achieve Breakthrough Performance

We recently completed our proof of concept to use Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to further enhance the Making it Easier FASt Lane proposal review process. DLT will allow us to automate many of the manual business processes and steps required to award a new IT Schedule 70 contract. Including time-intensive things like financial reviews and developing the pre-negotiation memoranda.

Using innovative technologies such as DLT will have a major impact on making it easier to do business with GSA. It will make the award process more efficient for new contract holders by not only reducing the award timeline but also decreasing industry’s burden. Additionally, we expect this to significantly lower the direct cost to award a contract. This is just one example of our breakthrough performance over the last year.

Helping Agencies Achieve their Missions

The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA) supported hurricane relief efforts. To achieve their mission, the team needed 1,000 laptops — and they needed them fast.

GSA’s IT hardware team quickly connected with the SBA to help. Our BIC Government-wide Strategic Solutions (GSS) Laptop/Desktop program, that offers pre-negotiated standard pricing for laptop configurations, was just what SBA needed. They placed the order for laptops in less than one week.

It resulted in a reduced delivery time of approximately two weeks and saved the SBA nearly $75,000. The order was awarded to an 8(a) small, women-owned business under IT Schedule 70.

SBA was so pleased with GSA’s price, performance, and quality of goods, they issued follow on orders for an additional 1,500 laptops and 2,140 monitors.

Shaping Government-wide IT Acquisition Everyday

The IT world is always changing, with advances in technology, shifting buying patterns and delivery methods, and a growing competitive landscape.  We strive everyday to improve how government buys IT.

In 2017, we made great progress with implementing category management. This has changed the way we operate and has helped us to better meet market demands, improve our operations, and enhance our customer solutions.

Everywhere you look in ITC you’ll see innovations in acquisition. We’ve baked in the ability to rapidly onboard new technologies into new contracts from the beginning. Startups are finding it easier than ever to deliver innovative solutions thanks to our Startup Springboard program.  And, our work to provide constructive input into the IT modernization process will help usher in a new era of modern government.

Paving the Way Forward

We’re leading the way in helping the government buy IT smarter. 2017 was an incredible year, marked by a number of important milestones — 2018 is looking just as promising.

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