Taking A.I.M. at EIS

Posted by Laura Stanton
on July 20, 2021

Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) transition

The transition to Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) is one critical path for agencies to evolve to more modernized and secure IT infrastructures and away from legacy technologies that are vulnerable to security risks — a high priority for this Administration. With the President’s Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity, it’s important to remember that the transition to EIS is not about shutting down expiring contracts; it’s ultimately about the safety, security, and sustainability of the federal government’s IT infrastructure.

The most recent EIS transition milestone came and went on March 31, when agencies were expected to have disconnected at least 50 percent of their services from the expiring Networx, Washington Interagency Telecommunications System (WITS) 3, and Local Service contracts.

While the data illustrates agencies are making progress, with 55% of the federal government’s inventory remaining to be disconnected, there is still much work to be done. Therefore, we urge our agency partners to take A.I.M. at EIS:

  • Assess their status and accelerate their progress
  • Disconnect & transition their Inventory
  • Mitigate risk to ensure mission operations continue

Assessing status and accelerating progress

Less than two years remain before the Networx, WITS 3, and Local Service contracts expire on May 31, 2023. Though the September 30, 2022 deadline for 100% disconnect from expiring contracts is a little over 15 months away, we want to remind agencies that a lack of transition progress could result in service disconnection much sooner. Please assess your progress against several important dates that are outlined in the revised Project Plan for Closeout of Transition and accelerate actions accordingly:

  • June 30, 2021 – Agencies that are not transitioning to EIS will have services disconnected. On this date, agencies for whom GSA has provided a report for a price-only fair opportunity decision, but have yet to award the task order, will also be disconnected.
  • August 31, 2021 – Agencies that have not awarded any EIS task orders for their solicitations will be disconnected.
  • September 30, 2021 – Agencies that have not awarded EIS task orders for all their solicitations will be disconnected.
  • October 1, 2021 – GSA will no longer accept or process any exception requests for the expiring contracts (Networx, WITS 3, and Local Service Agreements). All new services should be ordered from the EIS contracts or other viable contracts.
Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions Transition Timeline with remaining milestone dates and upcoming Closeout Phases for 2021 June 30, 2021. Agencies that are not transitioning to EIS will have services disconnected. On this date, agencies for whom GSA has provided a report for a price-only fair opportunity decision, but have yet to award the task order, will also be disconnected .  August 31, 2021. Agencies that have not awarded any EIS task orders for their solicitations will be disconnected. September 30, 2021. Agencies that have not awarded EIS task orders for all their solicitations will be disconnected. October 1, 2021. GSA will no longer accept or process any exception requests for the expiring contracts (Networx, WITS 3, and Local Service Agreements). All new services should be ordered from the EIS contracts or other viable contracts.
Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions Transition Timeline with remaining milestone dates and upcoming closeout phases for 2021

The next major milestone for EIS transition is on March 31, 2022, which calls for 90% of services disconnected from expiring contracts. With less than 12 months to go, we urge agencies to accelerate progress, so as not to fall further behind.

Inventory: enhanced focus on disconnecting and transitioning inventory to EIS

Government-wide, we are behind the EIS curve. 11 of 17 large agencies and 15 of 25 medium-size agencies have yet to disconnect even 50 percent of their services as of March 31, 2021. Ultimately, missing transition milestones and continued reliance on expiring contracts risks disruption of critical services delivered to the public.

Mitigating risk to ensure mission operations continue

The more agencies fall behind the established milestones, the greater the risk to their mission. This not only leaves less time for transition-related activities ahead of the September 2022 milestone, but it will also increase the potential that agencies may be “stuck” waiting for disconnect and transition services to be rendered. In particular, agencies that delay their EIS contractor selection for replacement services may find themselves “in line” behind those that have already chosen a contractor and made transition progress. This further slows progress for disconnecting services from the expiring contracts and connecting new services.

The extended contracts expire on May 31, 2023 and there will be no extensions. We invite our agency partners to ask themselves “Will we complete transition on time?”. If your agency will not complete transition on time, contingency planning must start now.

The time for EIS transition action is now. Regardless if your agency is in the acquisition or implementation phase, know that GSA wants to actively support agency transitions. If your agency is struggling, GSA can provide services such as:

  • An inventory of complete services that need to be transitioned, including custom reports for your agency
  • Technical, acquisition, and ordering assistance, plus automated tools to directly assist agencies with expediting EIS task orders
  • GSA in-scope reviews of agency solicitations
  • Regular outreach to agencies’ Integrated Transition Teams to monitor transition progress and provide guidance

If your agency needs help with transition, please contact the IT Customer Service Center at 855-482-4348, or send an email to ITCSC@gsa.gov. We encourage you to reach out to your agency leadership. Include Chief Information, Acquisition, and Financial Officers in conversations on EIS transition, financials, and risk.

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Think Cloud, Think GSA

Posted by Laura Stanton
on July 12, 2021
Think Cloud, Think GSA FAST 2021 promo image - event July 15

We know you use cloud computing for more than just migration and storage. Some agencies need a trusted consultant to plan long-term strategy. Others are ready to build their own applications and deploy next-generation technology. GSA cloud experts want to alleviate your acquisition pain and answer your questions directly. To that end, the Information Technology Category and 3 other GSA offices are offering a guided tour of GSA’s cloud portfolio at our “Think Cloud, Think GSA” event from 1-3 PM Eastern on Thursday, July 15.

Our cloud experts will:

  • Answer your cloud technical and acquisition questions
  • Explore GSA cloud products and services offered by multiple GSA offices
  • Explain the buying options available to help agencies move through their cloud adoption journey.

Here are a few session teasers:

The Technology Transformation Services’ (TTS) Cloud Center of Excellence helps your agency innovate with embedded, on hand expertise. Understand how the Cloud Center of Excellence empowers agencies to undertake IT modernization and how their acquisition, security and technology teams are used as an engine of organizational change.

The Information Technology Category’s (ITC) Cloud Acquisition Team gives those agencies that know what cloud products and services they want the information needed to acquire them. Hear about the Cloud Information Center, the pre-competed Multiple Award Schedule Cloud SIN, and more.

The Technology Transformation Services’ (TTS) Cloud.gov supports government agencies in getting to the cloud quickly, securely, and in a compliant manner. Three Cloud.gov experts will cover how their Platform-as-a-Service offering fits any step of a customer’s journey to the cloud, and how they are just a simple InterAgency Agreement away.

The Assisted Acquisition Services’ (AAS) FedSIM office works with mature organizations that have complex acquisition needs. Hear from the director Chris Hamm on how this white glove services span acquisition, financial, and project management for the full acquisition life cycle.

Think Cloud, Think GSA event promo image

Sonny Hashmi, GSA Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner, will give an opening keynote about how cloud policy and technology has progressed over the past decade. Sam Navarro, Director of the Customer Strategic Solutions Division, will act as Master of Ceremonies.

This event is open to government and industry. Participants are eligible to earn 2 Continuous Learning Points (CLPs). Registration is free and open to all.

Register and reserve your virtual seat today.

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2GIT Solution Now Open for Business

Posted by Laura Stanton
on April 29, 2021
2nd Generation Information Technology (2GIT) logo.

In February 2021, GSA announced the re-award of the 2nd Generation Information Technology (2GIT) Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs). During the five year period of performance of the BPAs, it is expected to result in an estimated buy in excess of $5.5 billion. BPAs are available through GSA Advantage!®, eBuy and Air Force Advantage!® and provide a streamlined process for procuring IT hardware and software commodities, ancillary supplies and installation services.

Over the course of two years, we’ve worked with the U.S. Air Force to better understand their IT procurement requirements and demonstrate the benefits of using GSA to build a next generation contract solution.

The fundamental scope of the 2GIT BPAs is to provide a total solution to meet the IT needs of the USAF, Department of Defense agencies, and other federal, state, local, regional and tribal governments.

The 2GIT BPAs offer pre-competed IT products through GSA Multiple Award Schedule North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. The SINs covered in these BPAs are:

GSA has integrated supply chain risk management as a foundational part of 2GIT. This is a crucial component due to the paramount need to ensure that cybersecurity vulnerabilities associated with IT products are adequately addressed as they move through the vendor’s order and delivery process. Leveraging industry partners that execute solid enterprise supply chain risk management plans as part of a comprehensive Vendor Risk Assessment Program is critical to ensure processes and reporting are in place to reduce the risk of compromise throughout the supply chain, from original equipment manufacturers to distributors and resellers:

  • Hardware and software
  • Firmware/embedded components
  • System data/information from component substitution
  • Functionality alteration
  • Malware insertion

The benefits of the 2GIT BPAs extend government-wide and align with current policies. We’ve incorporated category management principles such as the collection of prices paid data, the ability to track savings and reduction of duplicative contracts and administrative burden. Other benefits include:

  • Faster ordering
  • Improved supply chain risk management and supplier risk management
  • Increase of authorized resellers of major original equipment manufacturers
  • Improved product availability via the FAStLane Mods process
  • Support for small business participation
  • Complimentary on-site and virtual customer support and training

For more information about the 2GIT BPAs, Contact the 2GIT Program Management Office directly at ITCSC@gsa.gov. Visit GSA Advantage!®, eBuy or Air Force Advantage!® to access the 2GIT eCommerce portal page.

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

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Introducing the IT Vendor Management Office: a new government-wide collaborative effort to solve the toughest challenges in federal IT acquisitions

Posted by Vera Ashworth
on April 27, 2021

The last months have been a whirlwind of activity for the new government-wide Information Technology Vendor Management Office (ITVMO). We not only chartered the ITVMO, but have started working with several partner agencies and IT acquisition experts from across government to identify existing resources that can assist agencies with their buying decisions. The ITVMO brings together the most critical players in the federal IT acquisition landscape to solve challenges agencies and vendors face when buying and selling IT products and solutions.

Launched in October 2020, the ITVMO is a government-wide effort to amplify the benefits of managing vendor engagement in the IT Category to make IT acquisitions faster and more cost effective. The ITVMO serves as a trusted independent advisor and advocate to help agencies buy common IT goods and services. As a one-stop shop, the ITVMO will leverage government-wide IT procurement data, conduct market research, and develop shared agency acquisition knowledge to support agencies’ buying decisions.

There are many programs and initiatives across government that are interested in improving how government buys IT. The ITVMO is unique in that it is a collaborative effort amongst partners in Category Management (CM) with the most critical IT acquisition Best in Class (BIC) contract vehicles and associated programs including:

  • The General Services Administration (GSA);
  • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA);
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH);
  • The Department of Defense (DOD);
  • The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP).

Through this collaboration, the ITVMO will advance the goals of IT Category Management (CM) to improve how the government buys common IT goods and services and enable the government to act more as a single entity by sharing best practices and acquisition intelligence as well as eliminating the unnecessary duplication and redundancy that exists between federal agencies.

What’s Happening & What’s Next

One of the central drivers of CM is to mature federal IT acquisitions so that the government acts more like a single buyer rather than many independent agencies. By creating a space where some of the biggest and most impactful federal IT acquisitions programs and initiatives can collaborate and solve shared problems, establishing the ITVMO is a major step toward that goal.

The ITVMO is chartered and led by an Executive Steering Committee (ESC) comprised of several agencies including those with the largest IT BIC vehicles. The ESC determines the strategic direction and project priorities for the ITVMO to solve problems for agencies and vendors alike.

To identify shared challenges and opportunities throughout government, the ITVMO surveyed hundreds of IT and acquisition experts including the Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC) and the Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC) as well as several communities of practices. The ITVMO team also conducted listening sessions with industry groups. The data and feedback gathered from across government is driving the challenges the ITVMO seeks to address in the near future.

ITVMO Customer Segments

The ITVMO’s primary customers are the programs and offices responsible for making buying decisions at each agency, and the vendor community. On January 27th, the ITVMO hosted an Open House for agencies to provide an overview of the ITVMO’s mission and services, and to answer any questions from the community. More information about the ITVMO Open House, including a video recording of the event, is available to government employees.

Based on customer feedback, the ITVMO is working on several products and services that will be made available to agencies in the near future, including:

  • Continuing a Small Business Webinar Series developed in partnership with the IT Government-wide Category and the American Council for Technology and Industry Advisory Council Small Business Alliance so agencies and vendors can learn how GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service Multiple Award Schedules Program will allow agencies to more easily procure IT products and services from small businesses.
  • Vendor Profiles that provide agencies with pricing information, specific vendors’ terms and conditions, and best practices for negotiating with that vendor.
  • Deep Vendor Intelligence crowdsourced from IT acquisition experts from across the federal government participating in integrated project teams (IPTs).
  • A Technology Life Cycle Assessment to provide agencies with insights into buying emerging technology and updating existing systems and services to meet evolving needs.
  • A deep dive and review of current Cost Avoidance Methodologies used by IT BIC acquisitions vehicles. The ITVMO is working closely with GSA’s IT Category to provide recommendations on how to improve the accuracy and reliability of cost avoidance methodologies and the underlying contract data.

If any of the above interest you, we would love to connect with you. Please feel free to reach out to the ITVMO inbox at itvmo@gsa.gov.

Coming Soon…

The ITVMO recently launched the first of several IPTs made up of the federal government’s foremost experts in working and negotiating with specific IT vendors. The IPTs will produce recommendations and strategies that can be shared and leveraged throughout government.

ITVMO - Integrated Project Teams

On May 12, 2021, The ITVMO will also host an Industry Day intended for our industry and vendor partners to learn about the mission of the ITVMO and the best way to collaborate with the ITVMO and federal IT acquisitions staff.

Finally, the ITVMO will soon launch our website to share the ITVMO’s latest updates and activities, post relevant templates and resources, and direct users to the relevant information to meet their IT acquisition needs.

Additional insight can be found on our ITVMO MAX page, and you can sign up for our newsletter. If you have any questions or general inquiries, please feel free to reach out to us at the ITVMO inbox at itvmo@gsa.gov.

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

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FY20: Exceptional Work in an Exceptional Year

Posted by Laura Stanton
on March 30, 2021

The Numbers Are In – Biggest Year on Record for GSA ITC!

In Fiscal Year 2020, the Information Technology Category (ITC) recorded more than $30 billion in business volume across its portfolio. For context, this accounts for nearly a third (33%) of the $89 billion total that was spent on IT across all federal agencies in FY20.

Accordingly, this past fiscal year proved to be a record year in other categories as well:

  • IT spending through the Multiple Award Schedule accounted for an impressive $18.1 billion of the $30 Billion total, bolstered by its $12.7 Billion in new obligations. In FY20, MAS IT impressively posted 18% annual growth in new obligations.
  • On the Small Business front, ITC accounted for $7.1 Billion in utilization from Government Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), Schedules, and Telecommunications
  • ITC issued a single award via its telecommunications branch to the tune of $2.5 Billion, using the Enterprise Infrastructure Service (EIS) Contract. The award was made on behalf of the Department of Health and Human Services, and over the lifetime of the contract, the agency estimates it will save more than $700 million.
  • ITC accounted for more than $2 billion in savings and cost avoidance to their customers

FY20 Efforts in Review

The 2020 Fiscal Year drove change through every part of our lives. COVID-19 spurred dramatic change in government work culture and led to rapid technological adaptation across all agencies. A good deal of ITC’s increased business volume can be attributed to agencies transitioning to mobile-friendly technology. However, this unprecedented spending is also due to agencies acknowledging that GSA is a solid partner as they make big IT changes and choices about how to invest. We’re out front and focused when it comes to customer service, agile response to emergency needs, and delivery of mission-enabling and emerging technologies.

In 2020, customer agencies turned to GSA’s schedules program, assisted acquisition services and governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWAC) to fulfill pandemic-driven requirements as well as regular demand for products and services. Our success embodies the trust that federal agencies have put in us and our ability to address elements that our customers most care about:

  • Speed of acquisition
  • Assistance with mobile-friendly technology adoption
  • Technical and market expertise
  • Data transparency
  • General customer service

Agencies have turned to and relied on us to ensure their mission continuity and transition to a more untethered workforce.

In FY20, ITC launched the Information Technology Acquisition University (ITAU) to make it easier to learn about GSA’s products, IT solutions available through GWACs, MAS, and more. ITAU is a digital training platform for emerging technologies, their acquisition, GSA-specific contract training and more.

Additionally, ITC enhanced the Cloud Information Center, the GSA-curated federal resource hub for all things cloud, continuing to place valuable cloud computing resources in the hands of agencies.

These resources are ways that GSA is meeting the rise in demand for virtual access to our subject matter experts and more online learning platforms.

Looking Forward

In FY21, GSA is doubling down on emerging technologies as the way of the future. The 8(a) STARS III and Polaris government-wide acquisition vehicles will have Artificial Intelligence offerings (Machine Learning, Robotic Process Automation, Natural Language Processing), edge computing and more. As the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) effort ramps up and Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) principles are emphasized, GSA will continue to prioritize security as a core tenet of acquisitions.

As my Deputy Assistant Commissioner Keith Nakasone likes to remind me, agencies are coming to GSA to leverage our IT expertise and the buying power of the government. They want to know that the products they’re adding to their IT footprint aren’t jeopardizing their networks. To that end, the CMMC level can be designated as needed at the task order requirement level. Large contracts such as the 2nd Generation Information Technology (2GIT) hardware/software Blanket Purchase Agreements, have SCRM built in as a key operational component. Ultimately, GSA understands it plays a crucial role and has a considerable responsibility for an agency’s IT health.

Going into FY22, ITC will continue to provide the tools needed to successfully modernize while prioritizing cost-efficiency, expediency, and security. Leveraging Best In Class (BIC) contracts is one way. Taking advantage of online resources like ITAU and the CIC is another. Give your agency a reason to acquire with confidence — work with GSA for your next IT acquisition.

As always, follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITC and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.
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Riding the Digital Wave of Transformation – Together

Posted by Keith Nakasone
on March 3, 2020

Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) are paving the way to automate business processes and, in turn, free up the government workforce to focus on more complex work activities. As ITC’s Deputy Assistant Commissioner for Acquisition one of my main priorities is to ensure we have the acquisition resources that agencies need to help them smoothly ride the digital wave of transformation.

An important part of our strategy is to foster collaboration and engagement with government and industry stakeholders – this is key to our success.

International Best Practices

This type of engagement also includes the bi-directional sharing of best practices with our international colleagues. I recently attended an event hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark at the Danish Embassy in Washington, DC. Through a public-private partnership, Denmark has been focusing its government digitization on efficiency, citizen services, transparency, and employee satisfaction. They had a compelling presentation about the importance of understanding and improving the underlying processes related to the areas they want to digitize. ‘Process First, Technology Second’ is a key refrain in a Government of Denmark sponsored whitepaper.

Tejs Knudsen, CEO cBrain (Left), Keith Nakasone, GSA (Middle), H.E. Lone Dencker Wisborg, Danish Ambassador to the United States (Right)

Join the Conversation

There are a number of events coming up where we’ll be talking about AI, ML, and other important government acquisition topics. Chief among them is FAST 2020, where I’ll be participating in three separate sessions. Two in our IT Modernization, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation track; one on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning and another, Innovative Methods of Assessing Information Technology Contractors, Changes, Innovations and Best Practices. I’ll also be on a panel with Katie Arrington, Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, ASD(A), for Cyber to discuss the release of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification, version 1.0.

Additionally, I’ll be speaking at the following events:

In This Together

In a recent blog post, our Assistant Commissioner, Bill Zielinski, talked about all of the great work we’ve done over the past year to improve the way federal agencies adopt, buy, build, and use technologies such as AI – you should check that out if you missed it.

Events like these give us an excellent opportunity to collaborate with our stakeholders. The lessons that we learn and the best practices we share will make all the difference as we ride the digital wave of transformation together.

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

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GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service Training Conference: Register to Attend or Exhibit

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on January 21, 2020

Attend the most comprehensive federally sponsored training event for acquisition professionals – FAST 2020.

The GSA-hosted Federal Acquisition Service Training (FAST) Conference 2020 is a multi-day, national training conference for the federal acquisition workforce, industry partners, and customer agencies. FAST 2020 will be in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center. GSA is offering comprehensive training led by renowned procurement experts free of charge to all federal acquisition professionals.

FAST 2020 will also offer industry the opportunity to network with large and small businesses within the same industry and develop teaming arrangements to win future business. Agency partners will be able to conduct market research with industry partners on-site!

Attend the FAST 2020 Training Conference to help you better meet your agency mission. Network with fellow acquisition professionals and learn from them. Earn up to 20 CLP credits, collaborate with your peers, and see the latest industry solutions in the exhibit hall. ITC is offering over 30 thought-provoking classes so you can learn IT procurement from every angle.

Upcoming training tracks:

  • Advanced Techniques in Acquisition
  • Being Brilliant at the Basics for Feds
  • Being Brilliant at the Basics for Industry Partners
  • IT Modernization Emerging Technologies and Innovation
  • Leveraging the Power of the Internet eTools
  • What’s Next in Acquisition

Add FAST 2020 to your Individual Development Plans (IDPs) to begin the travel and conference participation approval process within your agency. To help you, we’ve created a sample justification letter [doc] to attend the FAST conference.

Register Now! for the FAST 2020 conference in Atlanta, Ga., April 14-16. I hope to see you there!

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

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Attend GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service Training Conference

Posted by Keith Nakasone
on December 3, 2019

We pride ourselves on the close relationships that we’ve built with industry. These partnerships enable us to help agencies across the government achieve mission success.

Industry’s solutions and expertise are critical in helping government fuel IT modernization and transformation.

These close relationships don’t come easily, though. Both GSA and industry have to put in the time and effort to get to know each other. This helps us better understand industry’s latest solutions — enabling us to better represent them to the agencies who need them.

That’s why GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service is holding FAST 2020. FAST 2020 will bring together thousands of experts — both government and industry — in one place, allowing unparalleled collaboration. We encourage our industry partners to register today!

Why You Should Attend

Participating industry partners will be able to:

  • Benefit from accessing the most comprehensive federally sponsored training event for contract management, procurement, and acquisition professionals in the nation.
  • Directly engage with 3,000+ federal contracting professionals as well as senior policy and program leaders under one roof, saving travel and time away.
  • Master the latest government e-tools and processes, and learn from the experts.
  • Meet face-to-face with master contracting officers.
  • Network with large and small businesses in similar industries and develop teaming arrangements to win future business.
  • Showcase company offerings, live, on the show floor.
  • Gather more and better market intelligence to advance your company’s competitive advantage.

Small businesses will benefit in additional ways:

  • Meet multiple contracting officers in one setting.
  • Save money: participating in one large event is more efficient than many smaller events.

Two Ways to Participate

Industry can participate in FAST 2020 in two main ways:

Participant – Industry has an entire dedicated training track. We are planning other activities (such as industry matchmaking sessions) to benefit and strengthen our industry partner relationships. Find detailed information about Industry-focused training sessions under the Training Sessions tab on our conference registration site.

Industry Exhibitor – The FAST 2020 Exhibit Show Floor is 270,000 square feet and will be organized into 10 Category Communities.

As GSA, we’ve set aside two huge spaces (50 ft x 50 ft) for us:

  • We’ll use the first as our main GSA booth, where we’ll host a small training theater, with kiosks dedicated to each of the 10 federal categories.
  • We’ll use the second space to host our GSA e-lab, where conference participants can get hands-on experience with our suite of e-tools!

Industry exhibit space sales will be on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign up now to exhibit at FAST 2020.

Join Us

FAST 2020 is going to be big. It’s our first conference since 2011 in San Diego. I hope that you’ll join me in Atlanta, GA, April 14-16.

I look forward to meeting those of you I haven’t yet met and catching up with old friends.

To learn more about FAST 2020 visit www.gsa.gov/FAST.

Register here today!

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

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GSA’s Software License Management Service: Unearthing Savings at Zero Cost to Agencies

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on March 12, 2019

Federal CIOs face the challenging task of funding IT modernization.  In fact, over 78 percent of federal IT spending is dedicated to legacy systems (i.e., Operations and Maintenance (O&M)) and used for maintaining existing physical IT investments.

One untapped source of funds CIOs should evaluate for savings potential is software licensing.

As the largest buyer of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) software in the world, the federal government spends more than $9 billion annually through more than 50,000 transactions. However, as much as 30 percent of that spend is unnecessary. It occurs simply because of inefficient, decentralized software license management (SLM) and leads to uncoordinated buying practices.

In addition to needing to modernize, federal CIOs are juggling equally important priorities like identifying and securing against cybersecurity threats, increasing in both their number and sophistication.

Federal networks are an attractive target for cyber criminals able to expose vulnerabilities from unauthorized and unmanaged software.

It’s more important than ever for CIOs to:

  • Understand their software license inventories
  • Optimize software license deployments by identifying and eliminating licenses that are unused or underused
  • Defend against software license compliance audits
  • Identify vulnerabilities caused by non-managed, unauthorized, and unlicensed software

In addition to focusing attention on SLM and cybersecurity, federal CIOs have unique compliance mandates that differ from the commercial sector:

  • Office of Management and Budget (OMB) M-16-12,
  • the Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA),
  • the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) Program,
  • Making Electronic Government Accountable By Yielding Tangible Efficiencies Act of 2016 (MEGABYTE),
  • Technology Business Management (TBM) and
  • OMB’s Cloud Smart Strategy.

Specifically, agencies are now required to:

  • Establish and automate management controls for IT investments
  • Provide transparency on IT resources across agencies
  • Develop a comprehensive software licensing policy
  • Track spend, inventories, and cost savings on software
  • Identify unused licenses and avoid duplication

GSA Can Help

In April 2016, GSA developed a comprehensive Software License Management Service (SLMS) offering for federal agencies. SLMS is built upon the efficient and effective use of current and emerging Information Technology Asset Management (ITAM) models, and aims to help federal agencies adopt robust IT asset management programs.

Typically with government customers, SLMS begins by assessing the current state of agency Software License Management (SLM) programs.

SLMS delivers a roadmap for achieving a desired future state based on assessment findings, industry best practices, and agency objectives.

SLM Fast is designed to provide low-impact and quick-start SLMS, giving agency CIOs, CFOs, and acquisition and procurement offices rapid access to the guidance needed to

  • better control software asset inventories,
  • improve compliance with mandates,
  • defend against software audits, and
  • optimize unused software, or eliminate applications from networks that have exceeded their end-of-life support date.

Key features of the GSA’s new SLM Fast service include:

  • SLM Fast engagements are no cost to the agency
  • Simple to execute via an Memorandum of Understanding (engagement letter) (MOU) and pre-engagement package with prerequisites
  • 8-week (40 business-day) engagement with key agency checkpoints and milestones
  • The 5 “Cs” of SLM Fast: Cloud, Cybersecurity, Compliance, Cost Savings and Complete OMB Analysis of Alternatives (AoAs) for selected Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)

SLM Fast does this using a data-focused approach, providing agencies with the following:

  • Inventory Analysis: Combines discovery, contract, and entitlement data to develop license position(s) based on live inventory data
  • Business Case: Demonstrates real savings and ROI that is rapidly attainable through enabling and/or reducing shelfware
  • Custom Dashboard: Provides stakeholders relevant business intelligence dashboards to helping strategic investment planning and cost-reduction efforts (e.g., migration to cloud, data center consolidation)
  • Implementation Roadmap: Establishes a detailed plan for successfully implementing a self-sustaining IT asset management program management office at each customer agency
  • SLM Maturation: Establishes a centrally hosted license repository to provide cross-agency knowledge transfer and make it easier to coordinate buying based on common requirements.

The SLM Fast service capitalizes on the federal government’s immense purchasing power and GSA’s unique position to coordinate software license procurement and management efforts across agencies.

Ultimately, the work we do at GSA is about service. Our team must understand both our customers’ needs and the challenges they face meeting them.

To that end, we are taking the next step to answer our customers’ challenges by introducing the new SLM Fast service. It’s fast (requiring minimal federal agency resources), it’s effective, and it’s no cost to qualifying agencies.

If you’re interested in learning more, or scheduling an individual briefing from our team, visit our SLMS page or email us at slms@gsa.gov.

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Think IT Modernization? Think GSA

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on October 29, 2018

Our mission in the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) is to “maximize customer value and mission productivity through IT acquisition.” As the largest provider of IT acquisition solutions for government, it is absolutely critical that we ride the bleeding edge of IT innovation. As a service to agencies and taxpayers, we adopt innovative solutions early on and apply them to our own processes — we learn about new technologies by using them. Efforts like this position us to even more effectively help agencies face their future mission needs.

In a blog post last December, we announced our experimentation with distributed ledger technology (DLT) — commonly referred to as “blockchain.” At the time we had just completed a proof of concept to further enhance our Making it Easier FASt Lane proposal review process. We found that DLT can automate many of the manual business processes and steps required to award a new IT Schedule 70 contract. This includes time-intensive tasks such as financial reviews and development of pre-negotiation memoranda, freeing up our workforce to focus on more meaningful responsibilities. DLT also modernizes the award process making it easier, more efficient, and faster for those new contract holders.

IT modernization is a major focus of this administration. Our work with DLT is an excellent example of leveraging emerging technologies to enhance existing systems — to reimagine how we build using an agile methodology to effectively modernize over time. The crawl/walk/run method that we’re using to implement DLT highlights one best-practice path to modernization.

First, We Crawled – What We Did

In July 2017, we kicked off the proof of concept (POC) as an award under the simplified acquisition threshold. This acquisition strategy used an agile acquisition and development approach and had a short, six-week delivery schedule. The entire POC only cost $150,000.

Now We Walk – Development

The POC demonstrated how we could use DLT to help automate our acquisition workforce, specifically touching and entering data only once into a single solution.

To expand the project’s scope, this May we awarded a contract for a pilot. Where the POC tested the waters limited to IT Schedule 70, the pilot has a wider scope: the Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program (aka the Schedules). We plan to look across the entire enterprise to find out where we’ll gain the most benefits within the Schedules program.

The pilot will create a DLT-based software layer over GSA’s existing infrastructure which creates transparency and documents activities between industry partners (contractors/vendors) and GSA.

This layer will make the proposal review process accountable and allow for a controlled reduction in fixed costs. Also, the pilot automates financial reviews and other GSA Schedules business processes.

For example, we can identify offerors with substandard financial ratios based on the average (as reported by the IRS) of their respective NAICs code. Offerors with poor financial ratios will be flagged for further review; if the ratios look good they will move to the next step.

This first pilot will break down and modularize the workstream and build out a micro-service for the financial responsibility process. Implementing a manageable business process, this will enable us to more simply capture information and to build analytics.

Next, We’ll Run – Production/Sustainment

If the pilot is successful, we’ll continue its development and our efforts to make this a reality by awarding another contract for a full-scale production.

Think IT Modernization? Think GSA

Our team has the expertise and agility to try new things and test new IT solutions. We launch, test, learn, and then use those lessons learned to support our customers.

So, when you think about modernizing your IT systems, think GSA! We have the experts and acquisition solutions in place to make IT modernization a reality for the federal government.

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

The five steps to accelerate the process to award contracts and make life better for the workforce and vendors.

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