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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.

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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.