STARS II, Taking Action

Posted by Laura Stanton
on August 18, 2020

The federal government places great importance on providing opportunities for small, disadvantaged businesses to gain experience and learn how to compete in the federal marketplace. In partnership with the Small Business Administration, GSA is helping the federal government provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by the socially and economically disadvantaged. Competition is intentionally limited on certain contracts to businesses that participate in SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program.

As a small disadvantaged business set-aside that provides flexible access to customized IT services and IT-services based solutions from a large, diverse pool of 8(a) industry partners, 8(a) STARS II has been a critical mission-enabler for agencies. We couldn’t be more proud of our 8(a) partners and their long track record of success. STARS II has exceeded our expectations at every turn and has been increasingly successful in serving the IT solutions needs of the federal government. As a result of the important work that agencies are doing through STARS II, we recently reached the contract’s ceiling for the third time.

Partnering closely with the SBA, GSA took quick action and raised the contract’s ceiling by $7B to $22B. This will help preserve the IT services supplier base during a national crisis, minimize disruption to agencies purchasing during the pandemic, and provide agencies continued access to STARS II until STARS III is available. SBA has been a great partner throughout this process. They see the unprecedented health and economic emergency caused by COVID-19 and how the pandemic is threatening the survival of many small businesses. Sustaining America’s small businesses, and ensuring maximum, practicable opportunity for small businesses, is at the heart of SBA’s mission. Their support was critical in meeting the statutory requirements under the Competition in Contracting Act that made this modification possible.

Without this much-needed increase, no new task orders could have been awarded on STARS II and all businesses on STARS II would have been ineligible for any additional business through this GWAC. The ceiling increase allows each of the 787 businesses on STARS II to continue offering Best-in-Class IT solutions to agency clients through the current contract ordering period ending August 30, 2021.

Unexpected Consequences of Demand

If GSA and SBA had not increased the ceiling, agencies could not have responded to COVID as quickly and none of the STARS II firms would have received new awards. We quickly determined that the only way to help enable a rapid agency response to the pandemic and to protect the industrial base was to increase the ceiling and keep all firms eligible during the response to the crisis.

GSA and SBA only had two viable options to raise the ceiling: 1.) to only allow firms in the SBA 8(a) program (excluding contract holders who had graduated) to receive directed task order awards, or 2.) to raise the ceiling for all industry partners, but reduce the Period of Performance (PoP).

GSA in coordination with SBA determined raising the ceiling and decreasing the PoP to 2 years was the best business decision for several reasons:

  1. GSA and SBA anticipated the 2-year PoP would permit agencies to respond to the immediate agency needs for the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. All of the 8(a) STARS II vendors will now have the opportunity to pursue $7 billion in new business. Approximately 538 vendors have graduated from the 8(a) Program and, thanks to the ceiling increase, are still benefiting from the opportunities on 8(a) STARS II. In addition, the 204 current 8(a) firms and 45 Joint Venture firms also now are able to compete for up to $7 billion in new opportunities.
  3. A 2-year PoP will allow 8(a) program graduates the opportunity to transition out of the STARS II program. Both GSA and SBA provide a wide variety of training courses and other resources to assist small businesses that have graduated from the 8(a) Program with positioning themselves to win Federal contracts. Examples include training and guidance on finding Federal procurement opportunities, pursuing small business set asides, and becoming a mentor-protege. More information is available at SBA Learning Center and GSA Small Business.

STARS II is a flexible and high-performing contract that agencies need now more than ever as we navigate new ways of providing employee and citizen services. This contract vehicle is doing a lot of good and important work for industry and government during the pandemic and, as a good partner to the 8(a) community, we’re pleased to ensure that it can continue.

For more information, you can view a recording of our recent town hall with industry on the topic of the ceiling increase on YouTube.

What’s Next: The Future of the 8(a) STARS GWAC Program

We are excited to move forward to the next phase of the STARS franchise as we prepare for 8(a) STARS III. The solicitation for 8(a) STARS III was released on July 6, 2020.

We have developed an aggressive solicitation and evaluation timeline to make awards for 8(a) STARS III as soon as possible. The 8(a) STARS III GWAC will continue GSA’s commitment to providing world-class information technology solutions, and also add innovation in the areas of emerging technology and Outside Continental United States (OCONUS).

We expect STARS III to remain a go-to contract vehicle for agencies wanting to work with small, disadvantaged businesses, trusted for responsiveness to the IT solutions demands of our customer agencies.

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

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How can GSA improve future Small Business GWACs? Join us virtually on Thursday, August 27th at 3 pm Eastern to help.

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8(a) STARS II GWAC Continues Win-Win for Government Customers and Small Businesses

Posted by Mary Davie
on August 15, 2017

(Editorial note: This blog is written by Kay Ely, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Office of Information Technology Category)

Moving government IT capabilities forward to meet the operational challenges of the 21st century is not a one person job – it requires a balance of government and industry, especially small businesses, all collaborating and working together. Our small business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) vendors have years of experience in finding that balance and the numbers to show for it. With more than 3,200 task order awards valued at $5.3 billion since 2011, the 8(a) STARS II GWAC delivers on its promises to federal agencies and provides abundant opportunity for small businesses.

During a recent open season, we added approximately 500 industry partners to GSA’s 8(a) STARS II GWAC. This increase in qualified vendors enhances opportunities to small businesses while moving the federal government forward with more competitive and innovative sources of IT services.

The open season awards, announced on June 13, 2017, help GSA continue our support of the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) business development program while assisting agencies in meeting their small business goals, operational requirements, and mission needs.

Helping promote small business growth

Conducting an open season solicitation on the existing 8(a) STARS II contract allowed hundreds of new 8(a) IT firms to join the GWAC, giving them access to federal procurement opportunities that may have previously been closed to them. It increases competition and allows GSA to offer an even stronger pool of diverse and capable vendors to our customer agencies.

Providing federal agencies flexible IT solutions

Like all of our GWACs, the 8(a) STARS II GWAC is a multiple-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contract designed to provide federal agencies cutting-edge technology solutions.

It includes four functional areas, derived from the North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS):

  • Custom Computer Programming Services (NAICS 541511)
  • Computer Systems Design Services (NAICS 541512)
  • Computer Facilities Management Services (NAICS 541513)
  • Other Computer Related Services (NAICS 541519)

I welcome our newest industry partners and wish them much success working with us. I encourage acquisition professionals to learn more about 8(a)STARS II and use it for their next IT acquisition.

Learn how the 8(a) STARS II GWAC can help you with your IT requirements.

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ITS Builds Partnerships Improve Health IT

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 22, 2016

In February 2016, we started a strategic seven-year partnership with the Defense Health Agency (DHA) that represents an estimated $5.4 billion in spend for critical Health IT services and solutions (GSA-DHA Health IT Partnership, 2/4/2016. In just a few short months, it’s already succeeded and proven a model of how we can work across federal agencies to foster collaborative, integrated partnerships to create innovative IT solutions for various mission areas, such as healthcare.

I’m proud to recognize three GSA employees and their DHA counterparts who were recently nominated for the 2016 AFFIRM Leadership Award for their leadership in developing the DHA/GSA Health IT Partnership. The DHA/GSA Health IT Partnership will be recognized and honored at the 2016 AFFIRM Annual Leadership Celebration, Thursday, June 23, 2016.

We continuously strive to grow customer relationships and serve as a trusted advisor to help federal agencies make smarter, more strategic decisions. We work across agencies to foster collaborative, integrated partnerships to not only improve IT acquisition and procurement for our government customers, but also to leverage current IT services and solutions to meet their unique mission and operational requirements.

Jennifer Auble, a customer engagement manager; Larry Hale, director, IT category customer engagement division; and Michael Williams, national account manager with GSA’s Customer Accounts and Research, along with their DHA partners, have worked hard through many political and organizational barriers facing government procurement to achieve a groundbreaking partnership between GSA and DHA that is in the best interests of the federal government and the American taxpayer.

This partnership began when GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) and DHA entered into a strategic seven-year partnership representing an estimated $5.4 billion in spend for critical health IT services and solutions. Through this partnership, DHA will direct new health IT procurements to GSA IT contracts, including IT Schedule 70 and the Alliant, Alliant Small Business, 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services II (STARS II), and Veterans Technology Services Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (VETS GWAC).

DHA uses these vehicles as the primary means of procuring supplies and services to support their existing and emerging health IT requirements. In addition, DHA has entered into partnership with GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) program and with the Assisted Acquisition Services organization.

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

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GWAC Program Expanding Opportunities for Small Businesses

Posted by Mary Davie
on January 28, 2016

(This blog post is part of a multi-week series reviewing data and trends from GSA’s IT acquisition vehicles for FY15. Read previous posts at http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/technology/.

Small Business GWACs: Year in Review

I’m proud to say that FY15 was a banner year for our Small Business Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts Center. The Center, which supports agency efforts to meet socioeconomic goals through IT services acquisitions, received 755 task orders in FY15. These acquisitions, and exercised options, represent a total government spend of $2.6B in obligations. Projects on these acquisitions represent a wide range of IT services, from technology consulting to cloud computing.

As the Center moves forward into FY16 with a number of new contract opportunities, its focus remains steadfast on helping small businesses succeed in the federal marketplace. Let’s take a brief look at the current contracts and what’s on the horizon.

Current Contracts

The Small Business GWAC Center currently operates three contracts with specialized socioeconomic designations. Each contract is designed to provide a streamlined method for agencies to utilize highly qualified small businesses to meet their IT needs, while achieving U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and agency socioeconomic contracting goals. Additional information on SBA goals may be found on the SBA website.

The 8(a) STARS II GWAC is a set aside contract for 8(a) technology firms (as designated by SBA). This contract is available for use through 2024, and includes nearly 600 skilled 8(a) IT service providers. In FY2015, more than $1.6 billion was obligated against more than 650 new task orders on the 8(a) STARS II GWAC. This represents the most successful year for 8(a) STARS II. More information on the 8(a) STARS II GWAC, including its directed order authority, can be found at 8(a) STARS II site.

The Alliant Small Business GWAC focuses on providing government contract opportunities to a wide range of highly qualified small businesses. This small business contract provides flexible access to customized IT solutions from a diverse pool of nearly 50 industry partners. With availability through 2024, Alliant Small Business allows for long-term planning of large-scale program requirements, while strengthening opportunities for small businesses. During FY15, Alliant Small Business received 90 task orders and over $1.2 billion in obligations. This is an increase of 8% in obligations from FY14. Details on how the Alliant SB contract can help your agency meet its goals are available at the Alliant SB website.

The VETS GWAC is a contract designed to strengthen federal contract opportunities for our nation’s service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Agencies receive SDVOSB credit when issuing tasks on the contract, which is available through 2020. The VETS GWAC continues to be a successful program, with nearly $139 million obligated on the contract in FY2015. The GSA VETS website has a wealth of information on how this contract assists in developing opportunities for SDVOSB firms.

Our small business industry partners, across all three SB GWACs have been very successful. On 8(a) STARS II, 378 out of 562 small disadvantage businesses (67.3%) have at least one award.  On Alliant SB, 63 out of 68 primes (92.6%) have one or more awards. On VETS, 100% of the current SDVOSB contract holders have an award.

Next Generation Contracts

In addition to a focus on current contracts, the SB GWAC Center is currently working on three new acquisitions:

  • 8(a) STARS II (set-aside for 8(a) firms) is currently conducting evaluations on an open season held in mid-FY15. This open season will provide opportunity to additional 8(a) firms to join the contract, increasing the pool of quality vetted 8(a) firms to meet federal agency requirements.
  • VETS 2 (set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses) issued a draft RFP in 2015. This follow on contract will build upon the success of the original VETS contract, and include the capability to issue cost-type task orders. A final solicitation for VETS 2 is anticipated in FY16. For those interested in more information on the VETS 2 procurement, visit our VETS 2 Interact community.
  • Alliant 2 Small Business (set aside for small businesses) held industry one-on-one sessions in FY16 for to develop the draft RFP. This next generation contract solicitation is anticipated to be issued in the spring of 2016. GSA invites interested government and industry partners to join our Alliant 2/Alliant 2 SB Interact community.

We are thrilled with agency interest in and use of the SB GWAC programs and are predicting a very successful FY16 as well. For more information on the SB GWAC program and how it brings small businesses and federal agencies together, please visit the SB GWAC website.

And, as always, please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

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Next Generation GWAC Programs

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 3, 2015

Our governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) Program has been busy working on a number of updates and all of the hard work is starting to pay off. Each of our current GWACs has important milestones taking place:

  1. Alliant and Alliant Small Business announced draft Requests for Proposal (RFPs) for the sequel GWACs: Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business
  2. 8(a) STARS II notified stakeholders of open season and option initiatives
  3. VETS issued the initial Request for Information (RFI) for VETS 2

Federal agencies use GSA GWACs for a variety of IT services requirements including: data center consolidation, software development, systems integration, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and help desk support. Our GWACs have been prominent leaders in government and industry collaboration for many years, offering complimentary scope reviews, sample statements of work, acquisition templates and improved delegation of procurement authority (DPA) training.

Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business (A2/A2SB)

In looking to the next generation, our GWAC Program published the Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business (A2/A2SB) draft RFPs to FedBizOpps (FBO) on March 31st. These GWACs will be the sequels to the successful Alliant and Alliant Small Business (A/ASB) GWACs. The draft RFPs will be open for comments by industry and government on FBO for 90 days, so I highly encourage you to contribute.

A2/A2SB’s pre-solicitation phase has raised the bar in transparency and collaborative processes, involving both federal agencies and industry partners. The A2/A2SB team performed thorough market research and laid significant groundwork in the pre-planning phase with efforts including:

  • An A2/A2SB Interact group with more than 7,000 members
  • A publically reviewed business case on OMB MAX
  • Numerous presentations to interested agencies
  • A customer working group with 30 members from 11 agencies
  • An industry working group with more than 500 participants
  • Two RFIs through FBO
  • Two official industry days with more than 500 attendees
  • Face-to-face, one-on-one meetings between Industry and A2/A2SB staff with 350 registrants

Notable enhancements proposed in A2/A2SB include: scope improvements, new IT service labor categories, new cybersecurity standards, new environmental standards, and the inclusion of requirement contracting types.

8(a)STARS II Open Season and Option

As a result of the 8(a) STARS II GWAC’s success within the first four years of operation, our Small Business GWAC Division has begun planning for the future of the program. Activities began this Spring to enhance the contract and secure the ability to provide socioeconomic credit to federal agency users.

On May 19th, 2015, GSA’s Small Business GWAC Division issued an RFP for an open season for the 8(a) STARS II GWAC. The open season will allow additional firms to submit proposals to be evaluated for a contract award. GSA intends to add new awardees to the contract in late FY16 or early FY17.

In May, the SBGWAC Division also provided early notice to current 8(a) STARS II contract holders of the requirements for the August 2016 option period

This early notice allows stakeholders to make determinations about future activities:

  • Industry partners who will not receive an option can plan ahead for partnering opportunities on existing task orders
  • Government partners can determine the best course of action for tasks issued to firms who will not receive their option and
  • The Small Business GWAC Division can provide education and training to all stakeholders on next steps

Veterans Technology Services 2

Our Small Business GWAC Division posted on March 19th an RFI survey to FBO requesting feedback from the SDVOSB IT community for the VETS GWAC follow-on contract. The RFI remained open through April 4th and we will use feedback from the survey to develop VETS 2. Join the VETS 2 GWAC Community on GSA Interact to participate further in the conversation.

While our GWAC Division is planning ahead to ensure a bright future for this important vehicle, the ordering period for the current VETS GWAC isn’t set to expire until February 1, 2017 so there is plenty of runway on the existing contract.

To The Future

We couldn’t be more excited about the future of our GWAC Program. The relationships that we’ve built with our government and industry partners have been critical to the program’s success. The number of agency missions our GWACs have facilitated demonstrates GSA’s ongoing commitment to our government partners, the small business community and the American people. Our next generation of GWAC programs are a testament to that commitment.

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Small Business GWAC Program

Posted by Mary Davie
on January 27, 2015

(This blog post is part of a multi-week series reviewing data and trends from GSA’s IT acquisition vehicles for FY14. Read previous posts at http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/technology/)

Small businesses are the backbone of job growth and constitute a major force in the U.S. economy. They generate a vital portion of our gross domestic product (GDP) and contribute to growth and vitality of economic and socioeconomic development. In particular, small businesses create jobs and spark innovation, which complement the economic activity of large organizations by providing them with products and services that contribute to their bottom line.

Here at GSA, we pride ourselves on helping the government utilize small business. We have multiple acquisition vehicles that connect government to small business. This provides agencies the flexibility to choose the best acquisition vehicle to meet their need. Some of these vehicles reside in our Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC) program.

Small Business (SB) GWACs provide powerful and flexible contracts that support agencies’ complex projects and requirements. These contracts experienced a tremendous amount of growth in FY 2014. Total business volume growth increased by approximately $400M on our three active SB GWACs, comprising 8(a) STARS II, Alliant Small Business, and VETS, from FY13 to FY14; an increase of approximately 19%.

Scope Reviews: Lowering risk and increasing customer support

Part of that increase is due to our complimentary scope reviews for statements of work (SOW). The team works with agencies to help determine whether requirements are within scope of a GWAC within two to five business days. This service reduces the risk of protest.  The Small Business GWAC Pre-award Scope Review Team recently analyzed the pre-award scope review process to see how our contracts are being used.

The number of pre-award scope reviews conducted on our active small business GWAC increased by 12% (253 to 287) from FY13 to FY14.  Across all three of the small business GWACs, IT Support Services is the predominant type of work being considered.

During FY14, GSA conducted 285 reviews and performed those reviews in 1.3 days on average. Retrospectively, the scope review process provides a clear understanding of the requirements, establishes a baseline for proposal evaluation, reduces evaluation and negotiation time, and most importantly minimizes the need for future changes. Understanding the trends of these scopes gives us a better understanding of how to promote small business contracting and satisfy our customers’ needs.

Buying Trends

Some of the most popular uses were for IT Support Services like Help Desk, software maintenance, and system operations.

Small Business GWACs represent 45% of GSA’s total GWAC obligations for FY14.

  • The Alliant Small Business Program experienced a 17% increase in obligations for FY14 compared to FY13.
  • 60 of 80 Alliant small business primes have at least one task order award
  • The 8(a) STARS II GWAC is the follow-on to the very successful 8(a) STARS GWAC.  The contract was awarded August 31, 2011 and resulted in 645 awards in FY14 with over $641 million in obligations.
  • The 8(a) STARS II Program has seen a 41% increase in obligations for FY14 compared to FY13.
  • The Veterans Technology Services (VETS) GWAC has obligations from 16 different federal agency customers.  All contract holders have received task orders totaling over $1 billion in obligations. In FY14, VETS added 14 task orders with $17.1 million in obligations.

Looking Ahead

The future of Small Business GWACs is bright. We’ve seen agencies increase the use of our GWACs to reach their small business goals and meet their IT demands, and we’ve seen businesses grow beyond their small-business designation due to their participation on our program.

This next year is going to be an exciting time for our Small Business GWACs. We’re going to continue to exceed customer expectations by bringing additional value like our complimentary scope reviews and prices paid data. Our flexible vehicles and focus on customer service should help us continue to expand the usage of these vehicles as we look into the future toward our next generation Small Business GWACs.

Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

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IT Solutions with an Eye towards Speed, Savings, Efficiency

Posted by Mary Davie
on August 12, 2014

When I meet with agency customers, I hear about the struggles we face to get IT acquisitions done efficiently and smoothly.

Most government agencies–federal, state or local—face similar acquisition problems:

  • How do we acquire IT faster?
  • How can we continue to find savings?
  • Can you make it easier to acquire mission-critical IT solutions?
  • Can you help us meet annual small business goals?
  • Can you help us meet regulations and other mandates?

The expectations are very clear: GSA must offer IT acquisition solutions that will meet agency and federal requirements, and give agencies more for their mission dollars. If agencies can also get their solutions quickly, we’re in the sweet spot of IT acquisition. We want to improve efficiency and speed without sacrificing compliance and quality, which limits the acquisition time, burden, and costs, and prevents missed deadlines and opportunities.

Pre-Competed Contracts Help You Buy Faster From Qualified Companies and Result in Higher Quality Solutions

GSA’s pre-competed contracts are available for government agencies to use and offer acquisition speed with pre-vetted vendors and the ability to quickly add customized requirements if needed.

  • Speed: Data shows pre-competed contracts save time and money compared to open-market acquisitions. Using pre-competed solutions can take months off of an open market acquisition and are perfect for acquisitions that need to be done quickly and efficiently. GSA provides scope reviews, training, templates and a range of acquisition assistance to help you use our contracts and programs most effectively. We’ll also help you look at options that may include other agency contracts to ensure you’re choosing the right solution for your requirement.

  • Breadth of vendors: 4,700 industry partners are on IT Schedule 70 alone offering everything an agency could need, including laptops, tablets, other commodities, and IT Services.

  • Supplier Relationship Management:  GSA’s suppliers are our partners. Our Network Services and GWAC providers work closely with GSA program managers to ensure agency needs are met through our solutions. See gsa.gov/technology for more information.

  • Savings: Governmentwide existing acquisition vehicles, like SmartBUY BPAs and IT Schedule 70, deliver cost savings by leveraging government buying power. SmartBUY saved government agencies about $184 million on software purchases in FY 2014 through the second quarter. We encourage customers to always negotiate additional discounts beyond listed prices.

  • Access to Small Business: 80% of Schedule 70 vendors are small business (SB), allowing set-asides for SB. Our pre-competed GWACs 8(a) STARS II, VETS and Alliant Small Business contracts are targeted solely for small business. GSA’s Reverse Auctions tool also makes it easy to meet small business goals by specifying SB in vendor solicitation criteria. Over 87% of reverse auction vendors selected this year have been small business.

  • Assisted Acquisition Services:  GSA’s Assisted Acquisition Services provides a range of assistance to help you throughout the acquisition process to include awarding and administering task orders on behalf of your agency. AAS staff are certified, contracting, project management and financial management professionals located throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. AAS offers expertise in formulating and executing large, and/or complex Information Technology and Professional Services solution.

E-Tools Help You Be More Efficient

E-tools are another IT acquisition resource that empower customers, giving agencies more knowledge than ever before through the power of transparency and information.

Three comments I hear most often from customers are:

  1. I have IT requirements, but there are so many acquisition choices out there, I’m not sure which one best meets my needs.

  2. I need more data. Accessing prices paid information will help with budgeting, cost estimates, and negotiations.

  3. I’m struggling to structure my acquisition for innovative IT.

Our free e-tools were designed with these comments in mind. Our goal is to help speed up and make IT acquisition more efficient.

GSA’s IT Solutions Navigator helps users see which GSA IT acquisition options fit their unique requirements. Check off your acquisition requirements and IT Solutions Navigator will analyze your specific needs, and instantly tell you which solutions are the best choice(s). You can also chat with a solutions expert right from the Navigator page and/or contact us through phone and email for additional support.

Prices Paid tools speed up cost estimates and help with negotiation and savings. You can use our Prices Paid tool for GWACs and now Wireless BPAs for aggregate pricing information. (It requires a .gov or .mil login.)  Prices-paid pilot programs are underway for Schedules and our commercial satellite program, so stay tuned for when these and other prices-paid e-tools are available.

One more way to speed up acquisitions is to leverage existing IT acquisition templates and assistance. For example, we have Statements of Work and other templates you can use to reduce your upfront time and costs.

At the end of the day, resources are intended to bring results: In cost savings, innovative IT, acquisition efficiencies, small business awards, and regulatory compliance. Leveraging existing capabilities, e-tools and pre-competed contracts puts us closer every time in making wise IT decisions to deliver our missions.

Follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join GSA’s IT acquisition conversation and for help.

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Big Opportunities for Small Businesses

Posted by Mary Davie
on August 12, 2011

At GSA, we promote small businesses because they are engines of innovation. They’ve got insights and expertise and I love working at an agency that helps them grow and compete in the federal marketplace.

So I’m thrilled that on July 29, 2011, 599 small businesses from across the country received awards on our 8(a) STARS II Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). Now in its third generation, 8(a) STARS II is a streamlined program making it easier for government agencies to purchase IT services and meet small business contracting goals. At the same time, the new contract creates real opportunities for these companies to grow in communities across 38 states.

I have seen first-hand what small businesses can do to help government operate smarter and more efficiently. They helped transform GSA’s IT systems, enabling one third of our employees to telework.  They are providing the Federal Acquisition Service’s Chief Information Officer with critical program and application management support. They are even helping us find more environmentally sustainable solutions for our operating environment, something that will reap benefits for years to come.

But don’t just take my word for it. The Department of Defense is now encouraging its acquisition community to use GSA’s Alliant Small Business, 8(a) STARS, and VETS GWACs to access small businesses’ creativity and innovation. The Navy is using Alliant Small Business as part of its IT Services Strategic Sourcing Initiative, something that will ultimately save them money and resources so they can focus on other mission critical activities.

At GSA our commitment to small businesses — such as the 8(a) STARS II program — is a big deal, and we remain committed to working with them and our agency customers to build a stronger America. Let me know how we can continue to do this by leaving a comment or reaching me on Twitter.

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