Defense Health Agency Awards Health IT SIN’s First Major Contract

Posted by Mary Davie
on May 18, 2017

The first major award using the new Health IT Services Special Item Number (SIN) 132-56 on IT Schedule 70 has been made by the Defense Health Agency (DHA). A $15.6 million task order was awarded for the U.S Army Solution Delivery Division for an Enterprise Blood Management System (EBMS). This award will help effectively manage and track blood donor registration, screening, blood products, and associated record keeping for military and civilian blood donors.

In a previous blog, I explained that Health IT Services is experiencing an annual growth rate of 7.4 percent, which makes the health IT market one of the faster-growing technology sectors in both government and private sector (projected to reach $31.3 billion in 2017).

As the market continues to grow in size and complexity, agencies look to Schedule 70 for help. Still in its first year, the Health IT Services SIN is expanding its capabilities to ensure it incorporates agency requirements and industry capabilities. The SIN now has over 170 industry partners, providing access to a comprehensive array of health IT services including electronic health records, health analytics, and a wide range of other innovative health IT solutions.

Training Webinar

On June 13, 2017, the Health IT SIN team will hold a training webinar for government agencies for ordering from the SIN. The discussion will cover the Health IT SIN’s purpose, its benefits to government customers, and ways to use the SIN to meet customers’ health IT requirements.

Visit our Schedules news and training page for registration instructions and other information about the webinar.

Advantages

On July 8, 2016, GSA launched the Health IT Services SIN 132-56, available to federal, state, local, and tribal governments. Created with agencies and industry, the resulting solution provides centralized, direct access to a distinct set of health IT services.

The new Health IT SIN gives industry partners a way to differentiate their solutions from other IT-related services under the IT Schedule 70 Program, allowing them to stand out to agencies. This lets agencies more easily see what health IT services are available and how to get them.

Using Schedule 70 for our Health IT solution allows GSA to keep up with the evolving marketplace by continuously adding new and innovative companies and services. This includes access to a strong and diverse small business landscape.

Additionally, agencies continue to receive the benefits that Schedule 70 offers: ease of access through GSA systems for market research and acquisition planning, and a simplified procurement process that reduces costs.

Increased Use

Agencies are increasingly using the Health IT SIN for Requests For Information (RFIs) or Requests For Quotations (RFQs) for market research purposes: to help clarify and refine their requirements, to gauge vendor interest, and to procure health IT services.

At this time, 27 RFQs/RFIs have been posted under the Health IT SIN.

Other agencies are also actively using the Health IT SIN, besides the Department of Defense:

Department of Health and Human Services:

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Environmental Health Tracking Branch
  • National Center for Environmental Health
  • U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Department of Justice:

  • Bureau of Prisons

Department of State:

  • Bureau of Medical Services

Department of Veteran Affairs:

  • National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • VA Medical Centers
  • Veterans Benefits Administration
  • Veterans Health Administration

Interested?

Are you interested in joining the ranks of those currently using the Health IT SIN? Get started by reaching out to us at healthit-sin@gsa.gov.

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IT Services: Driving Mission Delivery of IT Capabilities, Customer Engagement

Posted by Mary Davie
on March 20, 2017

(Note: This is a guest blog post by Casey Kelley, acting director for the Office of IT Services within ITC, General Services Administration’s (GSA) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). As the acting director, Kelley is responsible for a $14+ billion portfolio of contracts that provide federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies with a diverse set of information technology solutions.)

The FAS IT Services portfolio team played a significant role in driving mission delivery of IT capabilities across government during fiscal year (FY) 2016. By providing expertise and procurement support through customer engagement, governmentwide contract vehicles and Best-in-Class (BIC) acquisition solutions, GSA helped government agencies acquire innovative technologies, reduce duplicative enterprise contracts, and improve internal efficiencies.

Customer Engagement is Key to Success

The IT Services team considers customer engagement the key to success, working across government with our agency partners to:

  • Share best practices and ideas
  • Drive IT innovation to help support mission requirements
  • Resolve governmentwide IT challenges (i.e., systems integration through data center optimization)
  • Improve acquisition solutions and availability of data and information

We measure our success directly on agencies’ ability to acquire the best IT solutions and services at competitive pricing to meet mission requirements. Customer and industry feedback is an important tool.  Listening allows us to understand strategic and tactical requirements and offer the right solution. So, whether it’s an IT Schedule 70 solution, a GWAC, or another IT contract or program, we will have the right solution for agencies looking to acquire anything IT.

IT Schedule 70

IT Schedule 70 offers more than 7.5 million products, services, and solutions from more than 4,600 contract holders. We constantly scan the market to ensure we are adding new products and services, adding new innovative companies, and working with federal, state, local and tribal agencies to meet specific needs and demands.

Agencies that choose IT Schedule 70 can boost their return on investment by maximizing their budgets and reducing procurement lead times by up to 50% over open market purchases. Further, in the past two fiscal years, IT Schedule 70 has experienced increased usage by agencies—$14.8 billion in FY 2015 and $15.1 billion in FY 2016 with about half of those purchases were for IT services. And these figures also include state and local government utilization of IT Schedule 70.

GWACs

Because they deliver a broad range of comprehensive, flexible, easy to use, and innovative solutions, government agencies continue to use GWACs for small through very large, complex requirements. Spending for FY 2016 on GSA GWACs was $6.2 billion:

  • 8(a) STARS II – $1.4 billion
  • VETS – $126 million
  • Alliant – $3.4 billion
  • Alliant Small Business – $1.3 billion

Looking Forward: Best-in-Class

For FY 2017, the IT Services team is pursuing Best in Class (BIC) designation for the Alliant GWAC. Best-in-Class is a contracting and acquisition classification used across government to denote contracts that meet rigorous category management performance criteria as defined by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and approved by the Category Management Leadership Council. A BIC designation recognizes these contracts as ‘good-for-government’ purchasing solutions that should be used by all agencies. BIC solutions are designed to meet specific criteria that helps maximize IT value for government agencies. BIC qualities include:

  • Developing contract solutions in partnership with agency customers
  • Applying Category Management principles
  • Maintaining consistent and constant collaboration with government agencies and industry partners
  • Using transactional data to improve product offerings
  • Demonstrating a commitment to small business
  • Using Processes to monitor, improve and report pricing and buying patterns to help agencies make more informed decisions

Over the Horizon

Special Item Number (SINs)

Moving forward, the IT Services team will be focusing their efforts on two of the newer IT Schedule 70 SINs:

  • Health IT SIN (132-56) – includes various Health IT services (e.g., connected health, electronic health records, health information exchanges, Health analytics, Personal health information management, etc.)
  • Cloud SIN (132-40) – includes all cloud services that brings potential efficiency improvements and savings to agencies

The IT Services team will work closely with agencies to ensure the new SINs are meeting government’s needs and to provide training and consulting. They will also continue working with industry to bring more companies into the Schedule 70 program and under the SINs.

The team will also concentrate on the GSA IT Schedule 70 Professional Services SIN (132-51), which is the largest Schedule 70 SIN in terms of dollars. Exploring and applying some of the successful industry-customer collaboration best practices used by the GSA Alliant GWAC program will also help us understand how to leverage the new SINs to their full potential.

Open Market Spend

The IT Services team is also working on developing an “open market spend” model for a repeatable process that accurately identifies task orders originally awarded through open market buys.

Alliant and VETS Next Generation GWACs

Finally, the next generation GSA GWACs (Alliant 2, Alliant 2 Small Business GWACs, and VETS 2) are all expected to be awarded and operational in FY18. Once they are in place, the team will begin performing a broad outreach effort to educate and train customers on these latest offerings.

About IT Services

GSA’s IT Services Subcategory, composed of IT Consulting and IT Outsourcing services, is responsible for a portfolio of contracts and programs providing government agencies with a diverse set of IT solutions. To learn more, please visit our IT Consulting and IT Outsourcing Hallways on the Acquisition Gateway.

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

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IT Hardware: Delivering Cost Savings through Desktops & Laptops

Posted by Mary Davie
on February 28, 2017

This blog post is part of a seven-part series reviewing the Acquisition Gateway and IT Category data, trends, expertise, and advocacy that GSA’s ITC organization offers to support other agencies’ missions.

(Note: This is a guest blog post by Paul Morris, IT Hardware Subcategory Manager for ITC in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). He oversees the management of GSA’s IT Hardware solutions, Client and Supply Management, and Market Analysis, and publishes relevant content within the IT Hardware’s Category Hallway in GSA’s Acquisition Gateway.)

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, GSA implemented and delivered contract vehicles and easy-to-use solutions that resulted in significant savings for government agencies. One major initiative that is already leveraging the federal government’s buying power, collaborating with other federal agencies and industry, and creating acquisition efficiency is the Government-wide Strategic Solutions (GSS) for Desktops and Laptops program.

The GSS program is co-led by HHS/NIH, NASA, and GSA with heavy involvement from the Army CHESS program.  GSA’s IT Schedule 70 contractors offer the GSS standard configurations for desktop and laptop computers that provide government agencies lower pricing, standard terms and conditions, access to spend and pricing data, and best- in-class solutions. These standard configurations were developed by the GSS team after evaluating governmentwide spend data for laptops and desktops, and working with more than 20 agencies to understand what was being purchased and what the agencies’ needs were.

GSS for Desktops & Laptops Sees Growth

Current spend indicates that desktops and laptops account for approximately 10 percent of the total $12 billion in annual government IT hardware. When GSA’s GSS Desktop and Laptop program first launched in October 2015, we were encouraged by the initial success. Based on FY 2017 end-of-first quarter data, we are seeing purchasing increase through the GSS Desktop and Laptop IT Schedule 70 program, as well as across NIH’s Chief Information Officer-IT Commodities and Solutions (NIH CIO-CS) governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC), and NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (NASA SEWP).

Moreover, across GSA’s IT Schedule 70, NIH’s CIO-CS GWAC, and NASA’s SEWP, we have seen an increase in usage to date, when compared to the same period during FY 2016 (an increase from $270,000 to nearly $5 million in GSS purchases alone). We expect strong growth throughout the remaining three quarters in FY 2017, well over 2016’s approximate spend of $16 million.

Likewise, in the previous fourth quarter of FY 2016, GSA and NASA government-wide buying events resulted in discounts of 15 percent to 23 percent from standard contract pricing (depending on the GSS system purchased), an average savings of 19 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

The Holocaust Memorial Museum was one agency that benefitted from the government-wide buying event. Since we provided the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum with cost estimates of need upfront, they were able to procure an additional 55 computers because of the savings.

Looking Ahead in IT Hardware

We are taking lessons learned and making continual improvements to our hardware offering.  We are working with the GSS team and will be upgrading the standard configurations, exploring options for expanding the offerings, and planning our FY17 buying event.

Here’s a look ahead for the IT Hardware Subcategory:

  • We’re improving GSA eTools — This year, all GSS Desktops and Laptops in GSA Advantage!® will be easy to find and will have a consistent look and feel for configuration and pricing information.
  • We’re incorporating FY 2016 lessons learned into our planning for FY 2017 GSS Buying Events — We are changing the equipment configuration and features, and communicating early that we intend to host a fourth quarter GSS buying event.
  • We’re supporting the IT Security Subcategory’s Supply Chain Risk Management (SCRM) Provenance pilot — By improving existing SCRM into our solutions, we can reduce agency risk and increase buyer confidence. We’ll work with our customers and vendors to assess the use of SCRM controls in the desktop and laptop purchase experience.

We are excited about the solutions in place under GSS Desktops and Laptops, and the potential to save federal agencies time and money.

To learn more about the IT Hardware Category program, contracts, hardware configurations, or to share your thoughts on the program, reach out to the GSA IT Hardware Subcategory Manager, or browse the Acquisition Gateway’s IT Hardware Subcategory Hallway.

We also offer several ways to purchase IT hardware:

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

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IT Software: Cost Savings in Enterprise Licenses Agreements, Strategic IT Resourcing

Posted by Mary Davie
on February 27, 2017

This blog post is part of a seven-part series reviewing the Acquisition Gateway and IT Category data, trends, expertise, and advocacy that GSA’s ​Office of Information Technology Category (ITC) organization offers to support other agencies’ missions.

(Note: This is a guest blog post by John Radziszewski, Director, Office of IT Products within ITC in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS). In this capacity, he oversees GSA’s IT Hardware and Software Subcategories.

GSA’s IT Software Subcategory team is implementing government-wide strategies and initiatives that will reduce costly duplication of enterprise software agreements, improve pricing, and better leverage the government’s buying power. This is being accomplished by enhancing current IT Schedule 70 contracts such as: Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (Esri) geospatial software, Carahsoft’s Adobe’s data-centric security and electronic signature solutions, and Carahsoft’s Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) software. These enhancements give government users what they need, when they need it, and at the lowest cost.

The federal government spends at least $6 billion annually on commercial software through more than 50,000 individual contracting actions — not an optimal way to buy. This way of procuring commercial software licenses usually results in duplicate IT investments across agencies, causing disjointed pricing indexes, terms, and conditions, and increasing the complexity of licenses management.

To tackle this issue, the Enterprise Software Category Team (ESCT) is enhancing new Enterprise Licenses Agreements (ELAs) to reduce duplication of enterprise software agreements, improve pricing, and better leverage the government’s buying power.

Leveraging Government’s Buying Power through ELAs

Through smart government-wide mandates, GSA is currently enhancing ELAs on IT Schedule 70 to better meet government needs, while at the same time reducing duplication of enterprise software licenses, improving cost savings, and optimizing the government’s procurement capabilities. This allows agencies to redirect funding to other mission priorities.

In January 2016, we’ve already enhanced the following government-wide enterprise software license agreements:

GSA‑​Carahsoft’s HPE — The enhanced software agreement with Carahsoft for HPE IT management solutions could result in discounts of up to 39 percent over commercial pricing for government agencies and a potential savings up $50 million over five years for taxpayers.

GSA‑Carahsoft’s Adobe — Again working with Carahsoft, on their Adobe’s data-centric security and electronic signature solutions, it will result in potential savings of $350 million.

GSA‑Esri geospatial software — We agreed to modify Esri’s IT Schedule 70 terms and conditions for geospatial software ELAs. It will result to at least an additional 3% in savings for agencies.

Today, agencies with existing Carahsoft’s HPE/Adobe and Esri software can now take advantage of immediate savings by switching to these ELAs by processing a simple modification. Agencies who make the switch can receive additional savings on ELA prices.

A Look Ahead: Software License Management Service (SLMS)

Working with several agencies, GSA developed a Software License Management Service (SLMS) that can generate significant cost savings by:

  • cutting unnecessary software license spending,
  • implementing controls on the software license management lifecycle, and
  • improving an agency’s cybersecurity posture by tracking and monitoring vulnerabilities.

SLMS uses subject-matter experts to engage agencies with one goal in mind: saving the government (and taxpayers!) money on software licensing. The program is the foundation for successfully managing software. It employs a phased approach to assess agency maturity relevant to IT Asset Management (ITAM), while establishing plans for implementing improvements.

To date, GSA has successfully launched SLMS pilots at three agencies:

  • For GSA, our focus has been on deploying a cutting-edge software asset management toolset, targeting a quick ‘Return On Investment’ on software buys. This is achieved by capturing, controlling, and evaluating GSA’s current software inventory and procurement data, and finding areas for demand management.
  • At the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the SLMS team is conducting a current-state gap analysis based on an ITAM maturity model. The outcomes will be a detailed analysis of program performance and a future roadmap for organizational maturity.
  • For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), we helped develop a full suite of ITAM governance, processes, procedures, and policies.

We are ready to expand the pilot to other agencies as well. If your agency is interested in an approach to software asset management, please contact our team (SLMS@gsa.gov). We are here to help you capture real cost savings, enhance cybersecurity, and comply with federal mandates.

To learn more and to access best practices and contract information, please visit the Software Hallway on the Acquisition Gateway.

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

Other News!

2017 Category Management Conference

The American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC), and GSA are co-sponsoring an event on Category Management and the Acquisition Gateway. The robust speaker list includes leadership from the the IT Category, the Gateway team, industry, and others! Get more information on the 2017 Category Management Conference.

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New Cybersecurity SINs Open for Business

Posted by Mary Davie
on October 20, 2016

Last month we announced that we had established four new Highly Adaptive Cybersecurity Services (HACS) Special Item Numbers (SINs) through IT Schedule 70, in support of the Cybersecurity Strategy and Implementation Plan (CSIP) and Cybersecurity National Action Plan (CNAP).

Since then, our team has been working hard with our industry partners to ensure the SINs are sufficiently populated with rigorously vetted suppliers.

Mission Accomplished

I’m proud to say that, against tight deadlines, we have achieved that mission. The first phase of the oral technical evaluations have been completed and we were able to expedite the modification/award processes to get the initial 15 vendors included on the SINs.

Remember, these new SINs are important because they provide agencies with quicker and more reliable access to key, pre-vetted support services that will expand agencies’ capacity to test their high-priority IT systems, rapidly address potential vulnerabilities, and stop adversaries before they impact our networks.

Further, we have taken steps to make sure that the SINs feature high-quality cybersecurity vendors offering federal, state, local, and tribal agencies the following services:

  • Penetration Testing,
  • Incident Response,
  • Cyber Hunt, and
  • Risk and Vulnerability Assessment

Throughout this process, we have partnered closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure the vendors will provide a high level of service to agencies and we will continue to work with such agencies to ensure the government’s cybersecurity needs are being met.

Additionally, we will continue to evaluate and add more vendors to make these SINs even more robust. In fact, all current IT Schedule 70 vendors that offer these services will be required to migrate those services to the new SINs. This, of course, will also provide a way for our industry partners to more easily differentiate these specific cybersecurity services from other IT offerings.

Moving forward, with agency support

Tony Scott, the Federal Chief Information Officer, has applauded our push to centralize the federal government’s buying experience for cybersecurity products and services. As we partner with OMB to provide new capabilities, they are encouraging agencies to buy Cybersecurity Services through IT Schedule 70. With 15 vetted vendors now awarded under the HACS SINs, agencies can begin to establish Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) and/or place task orders in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation 8.4 procedures.

To learn more, please visit www.gsa.gov/cybersecurity.

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

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GSA Continues to Develop Health IT Service Offerings

Posted by Mary Davie
on July 19, 2016

As stated in the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan, federal agencies are purchasers, regulators, developers, and users of health IT. In their various roles, they set policy and insure, pay for care, or provide direct patient care for tens of millions of Americans. Over the past seven years, our nation’s health information technology (health IT) landscape has experienced a remarkable transformation.  

With an annual growth rate of 7.4%, Health IT Services is one of the fastest growing markets in both the government and private sector.  Therefore, it is not a surprise that GSA’s IT Schedule 70 is seeing increased attention and interest in its Health IT Services solutions.  So, to ensure that IT Schedule 70 stays at the forefront of the Health IT market and to make it even easier for our government partners to get access to new and emerging health IT services, I’m pleased to announce the release of the new Health IT Services Special Item Number (SIN 132-56).  

GSA’s growing subject-matter expertise in the Health IT market, coupled with our existing online procurement tools, will allow us to provide a best-in-class solution for Health IT market research, acquisition planning, and procurement.

What are Health IT Services?

Health information technology (Health IT) makes it possible for health care providers to manage patient care through the secure sharing of health information. A simple example of Health IT is having an electronic health record (EHRs) instead of your medical history and health information on many pieces of paper stuck in a manilla folder.

Other products and services that fall under Health IT include mobile and tele-health technology, ePrescribing, medical sensors, remote monitoring devices, and other assistive technologies.  Health IT allows individuals and healthcare providers from federal, public health and community-based support organizations to electronically collect, share, and use health information.

Given the wide range of activities, and agencies’ desire for Health IT accessibility, the government is in an optimal position to improve healthcare and reduce costs through the secure use of information technology–making Health IT a valuable and strategic market for GSA.

Goals of the Health IT SIN

The Health IT SIN simplifies the procurement process, making it easier for IT Schedule 70 customers to get access to new and emerging health IT services. At the same time, it fosters competition and promotes small business participation. The new Health IT SIN gives industry partners a way to distinguish their Health IT services offerings from other IT related services already under the IT Schedule 70 program, letting them stand out to agencies seeking Health IT services.  It will also allows agencies to more easily identify Health IT solutions and the experts within the healthcare market.  

The Health IT SIN also supports the Federal Health IT Strategic Plan to expand adoption of Health IT services, reduce prices, advance secure and interoperable health information solutions, and strengthen healthcare delivery systems.

Health IT SIN Development and Collaboration

The new Health IT SIN is the result of collaboration between federal agencies and industry partners.  IT Schedule 70 worked closely with the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Defense Health Agency (DHA) to ensure the Health IT SIN is a valuable resource to federal, state, local and tribal governments. We co-hosted industry days and agency meetings, and issued multiple RFIs to ensure we captured comments from both customer and industry partners.  Since the beginning of the Health IT SIN development process, VHA has referred vendors to IT Schedule 70 for possible inclusion under the Health IT SIN.  Additionally, DHA has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GSA as DHA’s singular Health IT procurement solution.  

This collaboration creates a win-win for both agencies and industry. Our customer agencies stay involved as active participants by using the Health IT SIN, while our industry partners are committed to providing innovative Health IT Services to government users.

Participation is Easy

Current IT Schedule 70 contract holders must submit a modification to their contract through GSA’s eOffer/eMod web page. Industry partners not yet on Schedule 70 must submit an offer. Please follow the steps outlined in our convenient online guide.

Both new and existing industry partners may be eligible for our FASt Lane program, which gives suppliers shorter processing times for IT Schedule 70 contract actions.  Contact FAStLane@gsa.gov for assistance and visit the IT Schedule 70 Interact page to download detailed instructions and a pricing proposal template.

Also, I encourage agencies visit the IT Schedule 70 Health IT SIN web page for more information on how to use the SIN to purchase Health IT services.

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

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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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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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Director of IT Schedule 70 Programs Job Posting (Revised)

Posted by Mary Davie
on March 10, 2016

As many of you know, GSA has been fortunate to have Kay Ely serve as the Director of IT Schedule 70 for the last 4.5 years. Schedule 70 is one of GSA’s largest programs, supporting $15B in agency IT procurements annually. In addition, Schedule 70 serves as the backbone for many government wide initiatives such as FSSI WIreless, the Satellite program, our software program DHS’ Continuous Diagnostic and Mitigation (CDM) program, National Information Technology Commodity Program (NITCP) BPAs, and the Government-wide Strategic Solutions for Laptops and Desktops, just to name a few.

Kay has recently been named as the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of ITS, and we are now seeking a new Director of IT Schedule 70 Programs, a Senior Executive Service (SES) position, to lead our team of highly engaged and dedicated professionals as we drive our organization forward during a period of tremendous change and incredible possibility. The Director is responsible for leading a workforce of 150 acquisition professionals and for developing, managing and executing the IT Schedule Program, which provides access to private sector solutions for a wide variety of IT products, services, and solutions for federal, state, local and the tribal governments.

To give you a better understanding of this opportunity and what we are looking for, we decided to ask Kay to describe her experience, the expectations of the position,and what we seek in the next leader.

As you know, Schedule 70 is the largest, most comprehensive, and most widely used IT acquisition vehicle in the federal government, providing direct access to products, services, and solutions from more than 4,700 qualified industry partners to the tune of $15 billion in business volume. The program plays a significant role across all IT Categories.

At times, leading Schedule 70 has been the most challenging job I have ever had, but it has also been the most rewarding. I have grown personally in this job in more ways than I can name. I have also had the pleasure to lead one of the most innovative and hard-working groups of acquisition professionals in all of the federal government.

Schedule 70 has evolved over recent years and is on an upward trajectory of business growth. We expect to reach $15.2 Billion in FY2016!

How will we do that? Focusing on our core mission–to provide the best acquisition solutions–and we do that by working closely with other federal agencies and with industry. This is evident in the governmentwide teams we lead to create new common solutions for IT products and services. The Director of Schedule 70 must be able to forge partnerships with other federal agencies and with industry. We are working hard to make significant changes to the program to make it easier for our suppliers to do business with us. And we are putting new programs in place for our government buyers to help them find the very best solution possible. The job entails a lot of communication, both internally and externally, and lots of listening, considering our stakeholders’ diverse views, and ultimately finding a way to to negotiate solutions that serve many. The Director interacts at the most senior levels across government and with OMB to implement many acquisition- and IT-related initiatives.

In addition, as ITS undergoes an organizational transformation to support category management, the Director will be a leader and partner with our category teams, helping to ensure that Schedule 70 and the other acquisition solutions in ITS meet the needs of the agencies and understand the changes in the technology field that ultimately impact what agencies our buying across the IT categories. Schedule 70 will grow in this respect and needs a forward-thinking, innovative leader to shape the future of the organization.

Schedule 70 is on the horizon for the next big evolution of superior customer service. It is a great opportunity to shape the future of a program that is core to the success of government as a whole, including state, local, and tribal government.

I’ve heard government described as an oil tanker compared to a speed boat. A speed boat can zip around the water quickly, and an oil tanker has to adjust course methodically, but when it does, the wake and ripples it creates are much greater.

In the world of IT, Schedule 70 is that oil tanker, but with how quickly IT changes and shifts, we have to become a speedboat. We have done some great work to make that transition and I’m so proud of what we have accomplished, but our work isn’t done yet. The next person will have a great opportunity. The demands are high and so are our standards. Are you up to the challenge?

Our mission is to help other federal agencies get the job done; if you think you’re up for the challenge go to USAJOBS.gov and apply. Use job announcement #16110081. It closes on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

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The Cloud SIN: Making Sense of Cloud Options

Posted by Mary Davie
on January 21, 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/)

Success in our Cloud PMO

Our Cloud Computing Services Program Management Office (CCS PMO) was hard at work in FY15 working on a number of projects. They are fully staffed with both cloud technologists and cloud acquisition specialists. The team helps federal, state, local and tribal governments with their cloud adoption and acquisition strategies with the goal of speeding government movement to the cloud. The PMO manages the following GSA cloud acquisition tools:

  • IT Schedule 70 Cloud Special Item Number (SIN) 132-40
  • Cloud Email as a Service (EaaS) BPA
  • New Cloud IDIQ in process
  • Groundbreaking Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) BPA, now expired and to be replaced by the new IDIQ.

In FY15 the PMO completed over 150 separate agency engagements ranging in length from one day to six months, all focusing on helping agencies with their cloud strategies. And we are proud to say that since inception, the Cloud PMO has managed over $450M in dozens of cloud acquisition awards either directly through its own cloud acquisition tools, or by helping agencies direct their cloud orders to GSA IT Schedule 70 alone.

As I reported in a blog post this spring, GSA successfully implemented the Cloud Special Item Number (Cloud SIN 132-40) on IT Schedule 70 for all cloud offerings in April 2015. The Cloud SIN allows customer agencies to view all cloud-specific offerings in three sub-categories defined by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): Software as a Service, Platform as a Service, and Infrastructure as a Service.

Cloud SIN: What it’s all about

The goal of the Cloud SIN is to provide customers centralized, streamlined access to cloud computing services through IT Schedule 70 to meet their eligible government, state, and local needs. GSA customers can clearly distinguish cloud services from non-cloud IT products and services in order to get to the right solution quickly. In addition, the Cloud SIN provides industry partners with enhanced abilities to market distinctive cloud computing solutions and offerings on IT Schedule 70.

FY15 Awareness, Adoption and Industry Partner Excitement

Our Industry Partners have expressed significant interest in getting on the Cloud SIN. In preparation for increasing the number of vendors in the next fiscal year, GSA held an Industry Day for vendors, published more than 25 news articles and posted more than 30 notices through GSA social media outlets (e.g. GSA ITS Twitter account). GSA also held several webinars and training sessions for more than 100 Contracting Officers who will approve submissions for vendors to get on the Cloud SIN. And, I’m pleased to say that these Cloud SIN efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

DHS Vote of Confidence

In November, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Enterprise Computing Services (ECS) issued an RFI for a future acquisition that seeks to leverage vendors under the Cloud SIN to provide DHS components with the ability to efficiently procure secure cloud computing services on an ongoing basis. This type of procurement looks to be the first of its kind for the Cloud SIN, and GSA looks forward to working closely with vendors and customers in the coming year to ensure that it’s not the last.

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

In our next installment,we’ll highlight discuss our partnership with DISA and the plans for a government wide Cloud IDIQ contract.
Also, please follow us on Twitter @GSA_ITS to join the conversation.

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