GSA is about to make Cloud purchases a whole lot easier

GSA is about to reveal a plan for a governmentwide marketplace for cloud solutions. This new marketplace will not only make it convenient, it will also set up a one-stop-shop for agencies to purchase commercial Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service, offerings. (FedTech October 7, 2021)

On a recent webinar, Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category in the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said, “We’re looking at how we put together a cloud marketplace that then becomes a buying platform for agencies. We want to put together not just a framework, but a market contractual vehicle that will allow our agencies to buy these core cloud services that we’re seeing them need more and more.” (ibid)

The GSA marketplace will provide agencies with professional IT services as well as post-award contract management tools. It would also set the requirements to verify cloud services meet the baseline security and adherence to guidance from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). (ibid)

GSA wants to streamline the entire cloud procurement process for agencies. According to Laura Stanton, “GSA uses the cloud and cloud-related IT professional services special item number (SIN) 518210C as a vehicle for multiple-award procurements. The contract type can be used to acquire cloud computing services, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” Stanton said that GSA is “hearing that agencies have to go to multiple places to buy cloud. We decided it was time to take the next step.” (ibid)

An RFI is expected early in the new fiscal year, which began October 1, 2021. (ibid)

Questions concerning the upcoming RFI? Give us a call.

The 8(a) Business Development Program – the resource you didn’t know you needed

GSA shows its commitment to small businesses through the many resources made available to them. One beneficial resource which the Small Business Administration (SBA) has put into place is the 8(a) Business Development program. (GSA BLOG September 15, 2021)

The 8(a) Business Development program provides a fair and equitable opportunity for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities. The government does this by limiting competition for specific contracts to businesses that participate in the 8(A) Business Development program. (ibid)

Disadvantaged businesses the 8(a) program can take advantage of the following:

  • Competition for sole-source and set-aside contracts
  • Retention of a Business Opportunity Specialist to help navigate the federal contracting arena
  • Joint ventures with well-established businesses through the SBA’s Mentor-Protege Program
  • Management and technical support, business training, marketing assistance, and counseling (ibid)

Eligibility requirements for 8(a) status:

  • Meet small business size standards
  • No previous participation in an 8(a) program
  • The small business must be at least 51% owned/controlled by U.S. citizens who are economically and socially disadvantaged
  • Personal net worth must be $750K or less
  • Exhibit good character and the ability to perform on contracts (ibid)

All prospects for the 8(a) Business Development program must be certified in order to participate.

Questions concerning your 8(a) small disadvantaged business status or how to go about being certified? Give us a call.

 

 

The Department of Defense is making Small Business their business

The Federal Register recently posted a request for comments which stated, “The participation of dynamic, resilient, and innovative small businesses in the defense industrial base is critical to the United States’ efforts to maintain its technological superiority, military readiness, and warfighting advantage. The department seeks public input on the barriers that small businesses face in working with the department. This input will be used to update the department’s Small Business Strategy led by the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of Small Business Programs.” (Nextgov September 15, 2021)

DoD is looking to reinforce President Biden’s executive orders supporting underserved communities while promoting American competition. Some specific areas of exploration are:

  • What regulations or business practices hinder the relationship between small businesses and the government?
  • How do the department’s initiatives (The Mentor-Protege Program, Indian Incentive Program, Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, the Rapid Innovation Fund, Small business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer), support or impact small businesses?
  • How do contracting timelines impact small businesses?
  •  Are skilled workforces attainable to “sustain a competitive small business ecosystem?”
  • How the coronavirus pandemic has impacted small businesses in the defense industrial base. (ibid)

At a recent Pennsylvania Showcase on Commerce, Defense Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks said, “over the past decade, small businesses in the defense industrial base shrunk by over 40%. The data shows that if we continue along the same trend, we could lose an additional 15,000 suppliers over the next 10 years.” She noted that the department is committed to making it more straightforward for small businesses to win contracts and referenced the Request for Comments notice in the Federal Register.

President Biden is “committed to nurturing small businesses that have faced historic barriers in rural and urban America, including businesses owned by veterans, women, and people of color-especially Black, Latino and Asian American businesses.” President Biden’s goal is to double the number of federal contracts awarded to small and disadvantaged businesses, in the next few years.

The Department of Defense is looking for input by October 25, 2021, to their Request for Comments. If you have questions about the RFC or are looking to work with the DoD or other government agency, give us a call.

 

 

The Marine Corps gets straight to the point and you should too

For conferences, the Marine Corps Systems Command, Office of Small Business Programs hands out a small 16-page pamphlet. A small unassuming pamphlet entitled, Doing Business with the Marine Corps. The brochure has a page dedicated specifically to proposal writing titled, “Power up your proposal.” (Federal News Network August 2021)

Within the “Power up your proposal” page, you will find one of the most straightforward guides to proposal writing.

  1. “Read the solicitation in its entirety multiple times, read and understand the instructions to Offerors, and comply with all of them.”
  2. “Choose your competitions wisely. Target only those solicitations for products and services in your niche market so that you can increase your probability of success.”
  3. “Don’t submit quotes or proposals with teaming partners’ logos all over them.”
  4. “Do not use acronyms without spelling them out first! Do not assume that the proposal evaluators are familiar with a particular acronym unless the acronym was used within the solicitation. When in doubt, spell it out, and provide a definition and/or context for all acronyms.”
  5. “Constantly review your proposal for grammatical errors. Have different people from diverse backgrounds read your technical proposal for clarity, comprehension, consistency, and conciseness. It is important to submit a proposal that is completely free of errors.” (ibid)

All of the above may seem obvious, however, if overlooked, can mean the difference between having a proposal accepted or rejected.

Have questions or need assistance with your next response to a request for proposal? Give us a call.