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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EIS and IT Modernization: Foundation for the Future

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on August 6, 2019

As IT professionals, we know what it means for an organization to be data-driven. The infrastructure on which that data moves is critical to the government’s mission success and the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract will serve as the foundation for public-sector technological transformation.

Modern Telecom: Far From Phones

Telecommunications services enable practically all information technology (IT) in every government agency. The establishment, maintenance, and modernization of communications networks are key components of our government’s ability to meet its mission.

We support agencies’ global missions with a complete spectrum of IT and telecommunications services, infrastructure and equipment.

We offer:

  • access services
  • accessible telecommunications
  • managed network services
  • network applications
  • satellite services and applications
  • telecommunications services
  • wireless and mobile networking

We bring together our technical and acquisition experts, leading industry partners, and agency specialists to offer these services efficiently, effectively, and at a lower cost to taxpayers.

The Future is Flexible

IT modernization is a national priority with bipartisan support from Congress, the White House, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Each federal agency is at a different point in the network modernization process and can deploy new technology at different rates.

New IT modernization guidance and legislation, combined with market changes and citizen expectations, are driving the demand for transformative technological change at unprecedented levels.

EIS: Made for Modernization

EIS is a catalyst for IT modernization. To expand bandwidth, EIS will help agencies move away from time-division multiplexing technology to more modern services. It will replace legacy voice services with Voice over Internet Protocol or unified communications. Rather than having each agency design and operate multiple parts of a network, EIS will use cost-saving managed services, such as cloud migration.

EIS will also embed security components directly in network services purchases, thus helping agencies proactively defend their systems. EIS is the only federal contract to include both Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity requirements as well as OMB policy directives.

Simplicity Brings Savings

Under EIS, agencies can structure their acquisitions from a single source, dramatically simplifying the process. This EIS feature promotes cost savings through aggregated federal buying, which can deliver a monthly savings of 16-21%.

To open opportunities for small businesses and foster competition, EIS relaxed its geographical coverage requirement and reduced the number of mandatory services.

As a Best-in-Class solution, EIS will ensure customers receive pre-vetted and secure solutions to protect their systems, data, and people.

The Big Picture

As agencies transition to EIS, they get a major opportunity to address legacy systems and meet their network-related IT Modernization requirements using a more holistic, strategic approach. Migrating to cloud infrastructure, enhanced mobility, automation, satellite communications, and cybersecurity are common topics among agency officials and policymakers.

But for an agency to truly modernize, the practice of simply replacing legacy equipment and adhering to traditional, fixed-price contracting models—the so-called, “Like for Like” approach—will not be enough. We now plan and pay for technology according to the services we consume, not just the products we acquire.

EIS was designed to allow agencies to use this consumption-based pricing model, so they can access new and emerging technologies as their needs evolve and opportunities arise.

Collaboration is Key

EIS represents a landmark collaboration among GSA, federal agencies, and industry innovators on a simple, flexible solution. Just recently, we hosted over 120 customers at our second annual EIS conference. The event allowed IT leaders, telecommunications providers, contracting officers, project managers, and finance specialists to meet and learn how the EIS transition will support their IT modernization goals.

Roadmap

In December 2018, we announced we were extending the current legacy telecommunications contracts to 2023. Agencies have less than four more years to transition to EIS.

The EIS Transition Roadmap shows important milestones, namely:

  • September 30, 2019: Deadline for awarding EIS task orders.
  • March 31, 2020: Use of the extended contracts will be limited for agencies who have not made task order awards.
  • March 31, 2022: 90% of agencies’ telecom inventory must be off expiring contracts
  • May 31, 2023: Current contracts expire.

Have questions about how to accelerate your progress in meeting these milestones? Connect with our customer support team at gsa.gov/nspsupport.

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

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NOAA Forecast: Clear Skies for Cloud Migration

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on June 18, 2019

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is known for monitoring oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere. Its three-pronged mission is

  • “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts;
  • to share that knowledge and information with others; and
  • to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.”

As part of its mission, NOAA prioritizes sharing its institutional knowledge with the public, private, and academic sectors. To make public data like water reports, climate projections, and weather warnings readily available, NOAA turned to GSA’s cloud computing technology.

GSA’s Cloud Acquisition Team considers the NOAA Cloud Initiative a model effort for smart cloud migration. Using the federal cloud strategy Cloud Smart as its guide, NOAA is effectively using the cloud to support its business and mission operations.

Moving Operations and Big Data to the Cloud

According to the April 2019 NOAA Business Brief, “NOAA works with five commercial cloud providers to see how their services can facilitate full and open data access to the taxpayer and to foster innovation by leveraging new automation tools to make data more readily accessible. To date, more than 40 NOAA datasets have moved to commercial cloud provider systems.” The Brief calls for further investment in cloud computing to not only save taxpayer dollars, but also provide improved performance and cybersecurity.

Model Experience, Multiple Vendors

NOAA’s experience shows GSA’s cloud acquisition best practices in action.

First, the NOAA Cloud Initiative plans to acquire their enterprise-level cloud solution through multiple Cloud Service Providers (CSPs). By doing so, they will diversify their technical capabilities and avoid being locked in to one vendor.

Second, NOAA uses Statement of Objectives (SOO) documents instead of Statements of Work (SOW) to illustrate the agency’s cloud goals.

For example, NOAA wants their CSP to“provide cloud storage services that will provide persistent storage, backup service, long-term storage, continuity of operations (COOP), and disaster recovery services.”

By using this type of capabilities-based acquisition tool, the responsibility for preparing SOW shifts from the government to the companies that respond to the solicitation.

The NOAA Cloud Initiative package also specifies a desired contract type. Doing so lets prospective vendors know the right pricing model to propose, which saves time and avoids confusion.

Join the Cloud Information Center

If your agency is considering a transition to cloud or is acquiring a cloud solution, anchor your plan in your mission and guide it by your business objectives. Make the complicated acquisition process go faster by keeping the Cloud Smart strategy in mind.

For more cloud tips, cloud acquisition guidance, templates, and government-wide resources, visit GSA’s Cloud Information Center at gsa.gov/cic. You can also contact our Cloud Acquisition Team directly at cloudinfo@gsa.gov or by calling 202-969-7113.

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

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Updated Software SINs Reflect Changes to Commercial Market & Federal IT Policies

Posted by Bill Zielinski
on April 16, 2019

GSA is where category management and IT acquisition intersect. Our acquisition experts specialize in understanding both the commercial marketplace and our federal partners’ needs.

To respond to the rapidly evolving software market and some important policy directives, we have updated the three Software Special Item Numbers (SINs) on IT Schedule 70. Now our offerings align better with the way software is sold commercially. Now it’s easier for our customers to get what they need, including transferring software licenses among federal entities.

Governmentwide IT Policies

In addition to our software market innovation, we in the federal acquisition community are also witnessing an unprecedented focus and collaboration around governmentwide IT, including software:

Special Item Number (SINs) Updates

The updates to Software Special Item Numbers (SINs) 132-32, -33, and -34 will make it easier for GSA to serve our federal partners, help them comply with policies, and give them new solutions by:

  • Adding language within Term Software SIN (132-32) to define term software  licenses and distinguish between Term Software and Software as a Service (SaaS) included in the Cloud SIN (132-40);
  • Including optional software identification tags and transferability rights under SIN 132-33 Perpetual Software Licenses;
  • Renaming SIN 132-34 from Software Maintenance Service to Software Maintenance Services;
  • Adding utilization limitations under SINs 132-32, 132-33, and 132-34 clarifying rights and ownership of derivative works; and
  • Defining Commercial Supplier Agreements (CSAs) to include Enterprise User License Agreements (EULAs), Terms of Service Agreements (TOSs), and other licensing agreements.

We are dedicated to aligning what we offer with what the current marketplace’s demands, as technology changes rapidly. We work to improve the federal government’s ability to serve our ultimate stakeholder, the U.S. taxpayer

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

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Moving Toward a Better Marketplace for Desktop and Laptop Procurement

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 9, 2016

Recently, I talked about how important it is to keep up with the latest technology trends and changes taking place across government for purchasing IT products and services. ITS continually strives to streamline procurement processes and maximize federal spending to achieve better acquisition and operational efficiencies for government agencies while at the same time acting as effective stewards of taxpayer dollars.

One great example of how we’ve been able to do just that for IT hardware products is the Government-wide Strategic Solution (GSS) for Desktops and Laptops. This particular project focused on key areas of importance to me: leveraging the buying power of the federal government, collaborating with other federal agencies and industry, and creating acquisition efficiency.

Leveraging Our Buying Power

First, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recognized an opportunity for the government to improve how we buy IT hardware and issued a memo on October 16, 2015 mandating that all civilian agencies use three existing “Best in Class” vehicles to fulfill most of their laptop and desktop needs. OMB stated that cross-agency collaboration and industry feedback were the keys to taking full advantage of the government’s buying power in this space.

Inter-Agency Collaboration

Second, based on the need for increased collaboration and integration between services, OMB created the Workstations Commodity Team (WCT), now known as the Workstation Category Team (WCT). The WCT comprises IT and procurement professionals from NASA, the General Services Administration (GSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The group spent over two years working with our industry partners and a consortium of over 20 federal agencies to develop a framework and strategy for solving some of the issues, like limited transparency and terms and conditions that were not common, that the government was facing in the IT hardware space.

As a result of the great cross-agency collaboration and in consultation with OMB, the Government-wide Strategic Solution (GSS) for Desktops and Laptops was developed. On February 2, 2016, GSA, NASA, and NIH hosted an industry day. We used this forum to share the updated specifications with industry and to seek their input for moving forward with the first technical refresh under the effort.

Efficiency

Lastly, the GSS currently gives agencies a choice of three desktop and three laptop configurations that meet the federal government’s requirements for more than 80 percent of systems purchased.

In addition to the six standard configurations, GSS for Desktops and Laptops has pre-negotiated policies and terms and conditions, and includes significant small business participation–over 85 percent, ensuring that agencies save time and meet socioeconomic goals.

A significant feature of the GSS for Desktops and Laptops is the continued focus on keeping up with fast-paced technology change. The program incorporates a technical refresh schedule every nine months, so specifications  reflect feedback from customer agencies and industry, aligning available configurations to market conditions and available technology.

Current configurations are now available for purchase on all three contracts. You can access the configurations on GSA Advantage and see all three contracts on the Acquisition Gateway.

By using existing best-in-class contract vehicles, streamlining procurement processes, and maximizing federal spend, we not only achieve better acquisition and operational efficiencies but also act as one and as effective stewards of taxpayer dollars.

The Challenge

Just to give you some perspective on how significant this particular initiative is, in fiscal year 2014 alone, federal agencies awarded more than 10,000 individual contracts and delivery orders for desktops and laptops, totaling approximately $1.1 billion. These products’ prices varied by almost 300 percent. If agencies requested different configurations, the prices went up even more.

Next Steps

On June 1, 2016, OMB released a GSS Desktop/Laptop buying event announcement to the CIO/CAO communities to increase awareness and encourage agency participation in the GSS initiative. GSA, NASA, and NIH will each  conduct buying events for laptops and desktops between June and September 2016. The planned buying events are in support of OMB Memo M-16-02, Improving Demand Management Practices (Aggregate demand to support leveraged buying events).

Accordingly, GSA IT Schedule 70 will conduct its first buying event during 4th Quarter 2016. GSA will request federal agencies to provide estimated quantities by June 17, 2016, in order to obtain maximum volume discounts, which will  streamline agency buying and drive down costs.

GSA’s acquisition will be conducted through the GSA Reverse Auction Platform based on estimated agency requirements, resulting in awards for manufacturer-specific, single-award government-wide Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) for each of the six GSS standard-configurations to the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) authorized resellers. These BPAs will be made accessible via the GSA AdvantageSelect platform, which allows agencies to purchase online without further competition.

ITS will continue to add new industry partners that offer the standard configurations and encourage small business participation. You can also use the GSA Advantage GSS icon GSS icon to identify products meeting the minimum specification on GSA Advantage.

To learn more about the program and how to order, visit the GSS for Desktops and Laptops webpage.
Please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS and LinkedIn to join our ongoing conversations about government IT.

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GSA Makes it Easier for You to Get on Schedule 70

Posted by Mary Davie
on April 26, 2016

A few weeks ago, GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth announced the agency’s new Making It Easier (MIE) initiatives giving government suppliers and small businesses the support they need to help them work with the government. MIE provides strategies and tools that are especially helpful for new and innovative companies seeking an IT Schedule 70 contract, and this program supports the Administrator’s vision for enhancing GSA’s role as an economic catalyst in communities around the country and as a proactive federal partner.

Every year, tens of billions of dollars are spent through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS), however the vendor community has told us that it’s just too hard to get on GSA Schedule. And how, once you’re on Schedule, it can be confusing to figure out how to make changes to a contract. MIE puts an end to all that.

Using Plain Language to Explain Complex Topics

Our website is full of very useful information about MAS and IT Schedule 70. But for first timers, the entire offer process leading to getting on Schedule is quite daunting. And it can be particularly challenging for small companies. We know many vendors hire outside help to advise them, or, in some cases, even fully manage the entire contracting process. So when our industry partners suggested we come up with a way to describe the process of getting on Schedule using plain language, GSA’s 18F and IT Schedule 70 teamed up and took on that challenge.

The IT Schedule 70 Roadmap: A One Stop Shop for Becoming a Schedule 70 Industry Partner

We listened, we heard you, and we worked with you to clarify the process for becoming an IT Schedule 70 contract holder. We’ve created the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap that explains the offer process in plain English and also provides step-by-step instructions on how to successfully navigate it. What’s more, we’ve made it easier for you to find the most relevant information by consolidating existing tools and information into one place. We’re hoping that these changes, plus an increase in available support offered from our end, will result in even more highly qualified companies successfully supporting our government customers.

From start to finish, the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap helps our future industry partners prepare for and complete the offer process.

This initiative, with the other MIE projects, encourages all of our industry partners – especially those with innovative solutions – to join GSA in providing the best solutions to our agency customers.

Visit the IT Schedule 70 Roadmap today.

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Government IT Buying New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Mary Davie
on February 11, 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/)

Time to make our New Year’s resolutions for 2016!

In my last 13 blog posts, we looked at government IT trends for FY15 and what might be ahead in FY16 technology acquisitions for telecommunications, cloud, cybersecurity, mobility/wireless, hardware, software, and small business. We’ve got a good sense of the technology trends.

But how we go about buying the technology is equally important. I recommend these New Year’s resolutions:

  • Use existing government-wide contracts, like those from GSA and other agencies, instead of new and open market contracts.
  • Each time you need IT or telecommunications products, services, or solutions, check out the latest GSA offerings, which we continuously enhance.
  • Use the Acquisition Gateway for market research, to link to existing contracts that offer the IT solution you’re looking for, and to stay informed on best practices.
  • Collaborate across agencies every step of the way.

We can save lots of taxpayer dollars and achieve better acquisition and operational efficiencies with this resolution.

For more information about who we are and what we do, check out the slide presentation posted below.

And be sure to follow and engage us on Twitter @GSA_ITS and on the ITS LinkedIn page we launched last year.

This presentation covers ways to improve the acquisition process for customer agencies, by leveraging existing contracts, using category management and the acquisition gateway, and reducing IT acquisition duplication and costs.
Government IT Buying New Years Resolutions: To Improve What and How You Buy (PDF, 125 KB)

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HSPD-12 A Look Back and Peek to the Future

Posted by Mary Davie
on February 5, 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/)

The USAccess Homeland Security Presidential Directive # 12 (HSPD-12) shared service is a comprehensive offering available to federal agencies to issue and maintain (PIV) cards, using a nationwide enrollment-activation infrastructure and high-availability hosted data centers, linked to federal agency data systems and commercial and government PKI certificate authorities, as well as physical card production facilities.

Fiscal Year 2015 was an exciting year for our USAccess Managed Service Office (MSO). The program finished the year in a strong position, while increasing the quality of services and value add being provided to customer agencies. USAccess continued the pattern of helping micro to medium-sized agencies improve each customer agency security posture by deploying Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Cards for employees and contractors.

Fiscal Year 2015 results

  • Addition of six new agency customers
  • Growth of 60,000 new cardholders
  • Demonstrated business vitality and being a good steward of taxpayer funding

As part of the National Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan (CSIP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cyber sprint push to improve federal agency physical and logical security – the MSO provided customer agencies accelerated deployment of fixed enrollment/activation stations and light activation kits. The net result to agency clients included:

  • Enabling more coverage for PIV card issuance particularly to remote sites
  • Increasing PIV compliance government-wide

As part of its effort to improve card delivery times and broaden its service offering the MSO worked with the Department of Commerce, US Census Bureau to augment mobile and fixed sites nationwide with “Local Printing” capability. The net end results:

  • A sponsored applicant now can enroll and receive an activated card in one site visit to a credentialing center.
  • Increased scalability of some 10,000% and reduced time to deliver for a PIV card from 3-5 days to real-time
  • Census typically averaged 75 applicants over three days. With the deployment of the new equipment, Census was able to enroll and provide a PIV card to 780 applicants over the same three-day period.

Quick look ahead

USAccess is committed to its agency community in finding new unique ways to deliver credentialing capability. The MSO has its eye to the horizon. Exploiting new:

  • Lightweight physical technology to collect applicant enrollment data
  • Cloud technology to deliver application hosting and support for PIV credentialing from anywhere, anytime and on any device
  • Logical technology that would enhance virtual credentialing, authorization and authentication, to include next-generation biotechnology, voice, fingerprinting, etc.

These are all long-term aims. Over time, this cutting-edge leadership, partnership development, and entrepreneurial spirit will open new markets for GSA to support, ensure a higher level of security posture for federal agencies, and help to keep costs to a minimum.

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

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Celebrating Veterans Success through ITS Contracting Opportunities

Posted by Mary Davie
on November 11, 2015

As we celebrate the Veterans Day holiday, I’m humbled by the many veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces who have helped build America’s foundation and continue to serve our nation and federal community as veteran entrepreneurs and business owners.

One out  every 10 American businesses today is owned by a veteran, and 5.8 million Americans owe their job to a veteran. I’m also honored to be a part of GSA’s ongoing commitment to our veterans through the strong contracting and business opportunities our agency provides.

For centuries, veterans have served our great nation in a variety of ways, and today’s IT realm is no exception. Every day, ITS programs such as Schedule 70 and the Small Business GWAC Division work with service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) and government agencies, in need of customized products and services, to provide quality IT solutions. These contract vehicles also help agencies achieve their socioeconomic SDVOSB goals.

Below are some terrific examples of how the service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses of the Veterans Technology Services (VETS) GWAC are supporting federal agencies.

Providing comprehensive life-cycle support to the NEXRAD Network

Using VETS, the National Weather Service, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Air Force awarded the 10-year MSITS task order to a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. The small business will support ongoing base operations and maintenance for our nation’s Next-Generation Radar (NEXRAD) infrastructure, which is a network of 167 weather-radar sites that (1) provides the foundation for all national weather forecasting and (2) collects data for extreme-weather notification and safety systems, military operations, and emergency-management systems.

Creating and securing a wireless network across the VA

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) needed a location-based wireless infrastructure that delivers secure wireless communication across 300 VA sites around the nation. Through the VETS GWAC, a service-disabled veteran-owned small business installed and verified the network, achieving a solution for a broad range of the VA’s data and telecommunications needs.

Marching Onward

To build upon the success of VETS, our Small Business GWAC Division is designing the next-generation VETS GWAC to align with the evolving federal IT marketplace.

Through collaboration with our government customers and the SDVOSB community, VETS 2 will provide your agency the opportunity to work with world-class SDVOSB firms to fulfill your IT service requirements.

Please stay tuned for a series of VETS success stories that we plan to host on our new ITS LinkedIn showcase page.

We also encourage your agency to consider using a small business owned by a service-disabled veteran, whenever you need customized IT solutions. If you have questions about the VETS contract, please contact us at (855) 482-4348 or at www.gsa.gov/vets.

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Regional Telecom

Posted by Mary Davie
on November 5, 2015

In my last post, we talked about GSA’s issuance of the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Request for Proposal (RFP) on October 16, 2015.  On the heels of this important milestone, GSA is announcing some changes in our Regional Network Services Program.

The Regional Network Services Program (RNSP) resides within the General Services Administration’s Office of Integrated Technology Services (ITS).  The program provides telecommunications service delivery and technical support for federal agencies nationwide. (GSA services are available in all states and also in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Samoa, and the Northern Marianas Islands.)

The program’s FY2015 business volume exceeded $450M managing more than 80 Local Service Agreements (LSAs) or contracts with all major suppliers of telecommunication services, including the largest and most well-known of the LSAs–the WITS 3 Contract.

The Regional Program offers significant economic value to its customers by offering excellent–and in most cases, the best–prices available to government agencies.

The following table shows the average monthly prices for basic telephone service offered by the program in FY2016 and FY2011. As noted, average RNS Program prices have decreased, whereas prices in the broader U.S. economy have increased for business local telephone service. Prices in eight of 11 regions have decreased.

Average Monthly Recurring Charge –
Basic Telephone Line
Region FY2011 FY2016 CAGR*
1 $27.14 $22.76 -3.46%
2 $29.77 $20.21 -7.45%
3 $21.61 $21.59 -0.02%
4 $22.54 $14.40 -8.57%
5 $24.23 $21.38 -2.47%
6 $35.28 $28.65 -4.08%
7 $20.70 $23.32 2.41%
8 $26.15 $31.01 3.47%
9 $28.03 $19.07 -7.41%
10 $17.66 $19.27 1.76%
11 $16.43 $9.29 -10.78%
Program Average
(Regions 1-11)**
$19.43 $14.41 -5.81%
Producer Price Index-Business Local
Telephone Service***
$101.80 $108.10 1.21%
  • * The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) provides a constant growth rate over a multi-year period.
  • ** All averages are weighted averages.
  • *** PPI – Business Local Service (Wired Telecommunication Carriers) is tallied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (Product Code No. 517110-112).

Full-Service Delivery Model

The Regional Network Services Program supports a full-service delivery model in Regions 1-10, where GSA works solely with telecom service providers on behalf of its agency customers. (The WITS3 program in Region No. 11 is an exception; it is a “customer direct order” contract.)

Full-service delivery allows agencies to focus on their missions rather than manage the complexities and risks inherent in telecom/datacom procurement and operations.

Moreover, agencies derive significant imputed savings (stemming from federal agency cost avoidance) when opting for full-service, since GSA assumes responsibility for the following:

  • Providing telecom requirements analysis and specification;
  • Conducting acquisition and “fair opportunity” decisions;
  • Placing service orders for moves, adds, and changes;
  • Transitioning service from one service provider to another (where applicable);
  • Assuring prompt payment to vendors;
  • Reconciling monthly invoices with inventory; and
  • Providing ongoing inventory management and vendor oversight.

As part of the recent introduction of category management, the Regional Program has instituted a common, nationwide fee structure for its services in FY2016. Effective category management makes use of market intelligence and expert guidance in procuring goods and services in the telecommunications category. In addition, category management aims for pricing transparency and simplicity. The Regional Program has accordingly introduced a common program fee structure across all LSAs in Regions 1-10.

GSA is also pleased to announce the extension of the GSA National Capital Region’s WITS 3 Contract effective September 10, 2015 with the WITS 3 contract holders, Level 3 and Verizon. Under the extension, the contract Period of Performance consists of the following:

  • A three (3) year base period (November 8, 2015 – November 7, 2018)
  • A one (1) year option period (November 8, 2018 – November 7, 2019)
  • A final option period (November 8, 2019 – May 30, 2020)

The follow-on contract to WITS 3 and the Regional LSAs is the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) Contract.  GSA is focusing increasingly on transition planning from the Regional telecommunications contracts to EIS.

Agencies should also be working on transition plans.  We look forward to collaborating with agencies for the transition to EIS.

If you haven’t already been in touch with us, please go to the EIS webpages and download the template for transition planning or contact your GSA Technology Service Manager.

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