Agency Mobile Resources at the Ready following OMB Memo

Posted by Mary Davie
on September 7, 2016

Note: This is a guest blog post by Amando E. Gavino Jr., Director, Office of Network Services, ITS/FAS/GSA. He is responsible for a portfolio of telecommunication acquisition solutions that provide government agencies the ability to meet their diverse set of telecommunication requirements. Acquisition solutions include Networx, Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions – EIS (the future replacement for Networx), SATCOM, Enterprise Mobility, Connections II, Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative – Wireless (FSSI-W), and the Federal Relay Service.

Many of you are aware that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued the Mobile Services and Devices memo on August 4, 2016. The intent is to vastly enhance acquisition and management of mobile services and devices across government.

Resources and Tools Are Available to Help Agencies

Agencies saw an early draft of the memo and now that it’s final, it’s a great time to review resources available to support every agency in achieving the goals set forth by and in the spirit of the OMB memo.

Leverage Government-wide Acquisition Strategies – Resource number one is the existing Government-wide GSA mobile solution. It gives agencies a variety of service plan and device options from leading national wireless carriers. Information about the program and how to order is available on the GSA website.

Another resource is GSA’s Wireless Economic Model downloadable Excel-based spreadsheet to give agencies a rough order of magnitude concerning your estimated costs and savings when using new wireless service plans. In addition, a Wireless Guide is available to help agencies move from existing contracts and carriers with step-by-step instructions. You can also access a User’s Guide, FSSI Wireless Ordering Template, and ordering instructions. For more resources and templates, visit the Enterprise Mobility Resources web portal.

Optimize Plan Pricing and Device Refresh Schedules – When it comes to OMB’s directive to optimize pricing, the GSA mobile solution has a strong three-year track record of success in optimizing plans and cost savings. About 85% of defense and civilian cabinet-level agencies are using FSSI Wireless Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs), achieving a government total $29 million savings compared to prior rates since the May 2013 FSSI-W award. Agencies that have moved to the existing government-wide FSSI mobile solution find average cost savings of 27% compared to previous wireless service costs. These agencies pay on average $14 less per unit per month. As a reminder, the BPA published prices differ from the actual service prices agencies have negotiated when using the FSSI-W BPAs so please check with us to get prices paid information when you are making comparisons. You’ll find that it’s hard to beat the prices we’ve achieved for the features in the service plans offered.

Carriers include devices at no cost with service plans and users have a choice of devices with each service plan. In accordance with OMB’s guidance, previous generation devices are typically equally capable of meeting government requirements and can be acquired at significantly lower prices. Agencies also have the option to buy service plans for government-furnished equipment (GFE) and user-owned devices.

Scheduling device refreshes is flexible too. No-cost device refreshes happen based on commercially available cycles of 10 to 20 months, although agencies can determine a refresh schedule that works best for their users.

Baseline Agency Usage and Quarterly Reports – Once an agency uses the existing Government-wide GSA mobile solution, the built-in requirements for carriers to provide usage reports will assist in agency quarterly reporting. These reports can help agencies to analyze usage and optimize mobile service levels, including identifying and terminating unused (or zero-use) devices and services. The pooling option for data and minutes saves dollars for agency customers by allowing agency high-volume users to leverage purchased and unused minutes and data from lower volume users.

Optimize Agency Requirements – The OMB memo also addresses actions agencies must take to consolidate contracts, track and improve inventory of mobile devices, and pool mobile services to avoid overage charges. Depending on size, agencies using the existing government-wide FSSI mobile solution can choose to consolidate wireless contracts at the bureau level and then into one enterprise-wide agency contract. Smaller agencies might fully consolidate initially without phases.

Reach Out for Personal Assistance

For more assistance, GSA has an Enterprise Mobility Team that is happy to help with any questions you have or support you need. You can contact us toll-free at (855) ITaid4U (482-4348), or contact our Enterprise Mobility Team directly through kelly.adams@gsa.gov, richard.jones@gsa.gov or jon.johnson@gsa.gov.

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

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Cloud SIN Continues to Rain Success

Posted by Mary Davie
on September 7, 2016

As I reported back in January (The Cloud SIN: Making Sense of Cloud Options, Jan. 21, 2016), we successfully implemented our Cloud Special Item Number (SIN) 132-40 on IT Schedule 70 last year. We added the Cloud SIN to make it even easier for agencies to find cloud-specific solutions, and I’m happy to report that the SIN continues to see notable growth in both customer and industry participation with dozens of solicitations and 23 vendors adopting the SIN.

The Cloud SIN allows us to centralize and streamline access to cloud computing services that help meet federal, state, and local governments’ ever-evolving needs. Agencies can now clearly distinguish cloud from non-cloud IT products and services in order to get to the right solution quickly. All of the cloud solutions are organized in focused sub-categories that are defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The SIN also provides our industry partners with the enhanced ability to market distinctive cloud computing solutions and offerings.

Head in the Clouds, Feet on the Ground

Offerings through the Cloud SIN continue to become more robust, now with 23 industry partners qualified to offer solutions through the SIN. This is further fueled by federal agencies as several have issued nearly 70 solicitations against it.

One of the latest solicitations comes from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an enterprise-wide Request for Quotation (RFQ) with a contract value of $1.6 billion over a ten-year period (RFQ HSHQDC-16-Q-00195). In addition to DHS, several other agencies have also submitted Cloud SIN solicitations including; the U.S. Air Force, Department of Justice, Veterans Affairs, Army, and the Department of Interior.

The SIN is popular because agencies can easily solicit from a vetted field of supplier offerings, determined by GSA to fit five essential cloud characteristics:

  • on-demand self-service,
  • broad network access,
  • resource pooling,
  • rapid elasticity,
  • and measured service.

Learning More About Cloud

For more resources on the Cloud SIN, including guidance for transitioning your company’s services onto the SIN or how to use the SIN to build a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), please visit our Cloud SIN page.

Our Cloud team also regularly hosts informational webinars to discuss our whole suite of cloud solutions. The most recent one, How to Acquire Cloud and Make it Secure, featured Ashley Mahan, GSA FedRAMP Agency Evangelist. Ashley discussed FedRAMP and how it applies to the Federal Community and Industry. In the same webinar, ITS’s Skip Jentsch provided an overview of the cloud computing services we offer, and demonstrated how these acquisition vehicles can save time, money, and risk associated with procuring cloud services.

Check out the slide deck on our LinkedIn page and stay tuned to our Twitter feed @GSA_ITS for future events.

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