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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How ITS helps small business make government stronger

Posted by Mary Davie
on June 19, 2013

Small business helps America innovate, create jobs, and grow. These small businesses also play a critical role in moving government forward, and ITS is dedicated to providing ample access and opportunity to connect government to small business. With Small Business Week upon us, I thought it would be a good opportunity to look at how ITS is helping small businesses and government work together.

Moving government forward

I’ve worked closely with small businesses for over two decades and I’ve learned that the size of a business has no correlation with its potential impact. I’ve mentioned before that small businesses are the engine for innovation. They have major roles across government in meeting today’s technology demands and requirements. Just in the past couple of years, I have seen small businesses provide:

  • Consolidation of inefficient and costly legacy systems
  • Implementation and integration of cloud technology into agency IT infrastructures
  • 24 hour help desk and support for critical DoD and civilian IT systems
  • Comprehensive life-cycle support to complex IT projects
  • Subscription services to mobile satellite services
  • Access to the most innovative and efficient IT hardware and software
  • Continuous monitoring for cybersecurity

This is just a small sample of how small business has supported government through our ITS solutions, but there are too many to list. The skills, capabilities, and expertise among small businesses are world class, and the variety of ways government utilizes small business shows just how effective these businesses are in supporting agencies’ missions.

How ITS is helping

At ITS, we are dedicated to helping small businesses compete and grow in the federal marketplace. We have a variety of solutions for agencies to access small businesses that allow them  to compete and agencies to meet their requirements in areas like:

It is not enough to just provide access to these small businesses, but we need to help them succeed. We provide training to small business on how to build their federal business and to our large businesses on how to create optimal partnering and subcontracting opportunities.

We are diligently working to provide small businesses all the tools to compete, but the proof of our success in providing opportunities is in the numbers:

  • 85% of vendors on Schedule 70 are Small Business
  • Projected $6.22B small business revenue through Schedule 70 for FY13
  • 100% of small businesses under our Commercial Satellite Communications program have won awards with a total value of over $8M
  • More than $7.6B has been obligated to our SB GWAC program  since its inception including our current Alliant SB, 8(a) STARS II, and VETS GWACs
  • 79% of our largest SB GWAC, Alliant SB, have won task orders
  • $534M has been awarded to small businesses through subcontracting on our Alliant Enterprise GWAC, which is 42% of all subcontracted dollars.

We’re celebrating Small Business Week now, but we continue to be dedicated to the success of small businesses year-round. If you’re interested in learning how you can use a small business to meet your requirements, contact our customer service representatives or leave a message below!

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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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Small Business Set-Asides – a Good Thing and the Right Thing to Do

Posted by Ed O’Hare
on April 19, 2010

Small businesses drive the U.S. economy – we hear this almost every day on the news. According to a recent Washington Post article, “Firms with fewer than 500 employees employ just over half of the country’s workers and create nearly two-thirds of the country’s new jobs.”  It’s pretty clear: small businesses—veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned, HUBZone, disadvantaged, women-owned and minority-owned businesses—are key drivers of innovation and job creation. They will be critical to pulling our nation out of the current economic crisis.

So what can we, government agencies, do to support the continuing recovery of the American economy?

One tool we have on hand is the small business set-aside. More than ever before, government agencies need to take a hard look at their procurement procedures and their progress towards meeting their small business goals. As part of our standard procurement process for all contracts, we consistently ask ourselves “could a small business fulfill these requirements?” I am proud to say that GSA met its small business goals last year.

If you’re an agency looking for a way to energize your small business procurement, GSA offers you a number of governmentwide IT acquisition contracts tailored to your varying needs, including VETS, 8(a) STARS, and Alliant Small Business. They offer time- and cost-savings, flexibility, worldwide geographic coverage, highly qualified industry partners and, of course, the procurement preference credit you need. We even have a Small Business GWAC Center that will help you walk through the process of choosing the right solution.

In addition, the majority of vendors in our IT Schedule 70 program are small businesses, which provides ample opportunity for agencies to fulfill their IT needs and meet their small business goals.

I know there also are a lot of small businesses out there who have questions about how to provide their innovative technology solutions through our GWACs and schedules. I invite you to come talk to us.

As we head further into our fiscal year, we have a chance to give our economy a boost. Choosing to contract with small businesses is a good thing and it’s the right thing to do.

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