!!!! E Pluribus Unum (Schedule) !!!!

GSA announced it will modernize federal acquisition by consolidating the agency’s 24 Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) into one single Schedule (!!!!) for products and services. This sole Schedule will have one set of terms and conditions, bringing consistency in contracting practices, across the board.

Can it be true? We’re not quite sure how they will implement this. Will there still be individual acquisition centers? Will this be kind of like the current OOCorp system, wherein MOBIS-like services remain in Washington, video products are out of Philadelphia, etc.? That’s our bet. But we also believe that this will not be a smooth transition for contracting officers, let alone contractors!

Consolidating Schedules is part of GSA’s Federal Marketplace strategy to make the government buying and selling experience easy, efficient, and modern.  GSA’s strategic goal is to establish the agency as the premier provider of efficient and effective acquisition solutions across the government.

The consolidation is supposed to make it easier for government agencies to obtain products and services because the purchasing agents won’t have to search multiple Schedules. GSA states that this means industry can bring their offerings to the federal marketplace using a solutions-based approach, which more closely aligns with the way agencies are buying.

Consolidating to one Schedule reflects this feedback obtained by GSA from stakeholders who shared their ideas to improve the Schedules experience.

GSA is taking a measured and phased approach (!!)  over two years to transform the Schedules. They promise to incorporate stakeholder feedback throughout the consolidation process.

EZGSA is here to answer all of your questions or just chat about the big announcement at 301-913-5000.

 

 

HUBZone Relief!

The Small Business Administration (SBA) is proposing major changes to the Historically Underutilized Business Zone or HUBZone program. The Federal Register defines a HUBZone as, “small business concerns are those that have a principal place of business located in a HUBZone and 35 percent of their employees residing in one or more HUBZones. After SBA certifies eligible businesses into the program, they become eligible for HUBZone contracting preferences. HUBZone areas are generally defined as areas with low income levels, high poverty and unemployment rates, Indian reservations, closed military bases, or disaster areas.”

SBA is seeking comments on the following:

  • eliminating the burden on HUBZone small businesses to continually demonstrate that they meet all eligibility requirements at the time of each offer and award for any HUBZone contract;
  • requiring only annual recertification;
  • allowing small firms to count employees as living in a HUBZone if they move out of the area after initial certification or if the area no longer qualifies as a HUBZone.

You have more than a month to comment, so let SBA know what you think. Submit all comments with the identifier RIN 3245-AG38 by either the Federal eRulemaking Portal or mail (for written, CD, or disk submissions) to Mariana Pardo, Director, HUBZone Program, 409 Third Street SW, Washington, DC 20416.   (Federal Register)

Give us a call for assistance with your comments at 301-913-5000.

Looking Down from the Cloud

Cloud.gov offers federal agencies one-stop access to a secure platform for web application development. Since its inception three years ago, GSA has managed the back-end server infrastructure; now they want to come down off the cloud. GSA is looking for a vendor to support the platform, which in turn offers a platform support to other agencies.

A RFI has been released to gather information from industry about the best means to support the cloud.gov system.

The current cloud.gov product offers agencies three tiers of service:

  • a free “sandbox” platform to experiment with fresh ideas;
  • a “prototyping” backend platform for $1,250 a month per office or program; and
  • a full “production” platform, where apps can be pushed out to users.

The latter offering includes an authority to operate—a verified cybersecurity posture—at a low level for $1,667 a month and at the moderate level for $7,500 a month.

The RFI lists 14 specific tasks the vendor will be asked to perform, including maintaining the front- and back-end infrastructure, using agile methods to develop and deploy code, monitoring GitHub pull requests and fixing issues, and improving the site’s automated monitoring and alert system for identifying operational failures and potential security issues.

The contract will be awarded quickly with a start date of October 2019 and options to extend through October 2020.

In a twist, the RFI template for Cloud.gov itself rests in the cloud. Contracting officers posted the RFI as a Google doc survey with just nine questions for respondents. Responses are due by 4 p.m. Nov. 20.

If you need help pulling together your responses, give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

Minimizing Minimum Order Mishaps

To improve customer experience associated with Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ), GSAAdvantage! now notifies agencies when their orders don’t meet MOQ requirements. If an item entered into a shopping cart is below the applicable MOQ, a note appears saying:

“The items from VENDOR fall below the contract Minimum Order of $____.  In order to purchase this item, you have three options:

  1. Increase the quantity of the item.
  2. Shop for additional items under CONTRACT to satisfy the contract minimum. (Contains a hyperlink to show available items from the relevant contract)
  3. Investigate if another vendor offers the item with a lower contract minimum order (Contains a hyperlink to the original product detail page). Note that MOQ is sortable (e.g. lowest to highest MOQ).”

Aside from helping agencies avoid incorrect orders, this will work in favor of contractors — no more having to decline an order that you’re not supposed to decline due to its being ordered from an executive agency.

If you have questions, we can help! Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

TSA Gets FAST (in One Way At Least)

TSA plans to use its Fast Agile Scalable Teams (FAST) procurement program to acquire customized software and to bring legacy systems up to date. The agency will compile a list of tech companies to create the new software applications.

Prime vendors selected under the BPA will break large projects into smaller chunks, a great opportunity for smaller companies to develop relationships with both larger tech companies and agency contracting officers. Building and maintaining a suite of enterprise-wide software applications will take time and personnel.

The BPA will cover multiple awardees, including two statements of work focused on supporting operations and enterprise-wide systems. TSA will select other teams to maintain “mission essential systems,” create and implement a data management platform, and build new software to meet the agency’s changing needs.

FAST leaves the door open for small businesses to develop automation tools, coach teams in agile methodology, and perform an array of other functions.

Interested in working with TSA? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.