Small Businesses, Come on Down!

The Centers of Excellence, established in 2017 by GSA and the White House Office of American Innovation, work with agencies to develop IT modernization plans. So far, two agencies are on board: the Department of Agriculture is in the second and last phase of the program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development is planning a September start. (Nextgov, March 12, 2019)

During the first year of the program, Agriculture completed Phase I and entered Phase II, prior to HUD’s start beginning work on phase I. The pace should pick up this year with many agencies, under a new BPA, working through Phase I at the same time, according to program Director Bob DeLuca, although no start-up date has been made available. (ibid)

It’s expected the program’s next generation will include the original five centers, focused on cloud adoption, contact center, customer experience, data analytics, and infrastructure optimization. Two additional centers for change management and information security will be added. GSA is adding the change management piece to keep things running smoothly once GSA leads step out of the picture. (ibid)

A blanket purchase agreement released last Tuesday outlined the program’s next iteration. This BPA adds new functional areas and points to the future procurement strategy. It will last three years from the award date with an expected value of $100 million, which can increase without mods. (ibid)

Two phases will continue to exist in the updated program: a discovery phase, wherein an agency works with the relevant centers to assess the current situation and devise a plan; and an implementation phase. The new BPA will cover the first phase only, with the second phase of work contracted separately. (ibid)

The final RFQ has been created to attract more small businesses to the program. Vendors can bid on as many or as few of the functional areas as they choose. (ibid)

Prospective bidders must hold GSA Schedule 70 contracts for the relevant special item numbers listed in the RFQ. The turnaround time for the entire RFQ process is short to test how companies respond during short cycles. (ibid)

Vendors interested in bidding will have to complete four submissions: a set of challenge questions, a list of potential scenarios, a technical and management approach description, and a pricing sheet. The challenge questions will be available through Google Forms starting 28 March. (ibid)

Vendors will also be responding to the scenario through a Google Form, answering the question: How would you obtain agency wide buy-in for the modernization efforts promoted by the CoE while also linking efforts and fostering collaboration with other vendors and government staff across all of the centers at the agency partner? (ibid)

Instructions for the other submissions are included in the RFQ. The entire package is due by noon on April 1.

Are you interested in bidding or learning more about the BPA? Call us at 301-913-5000, and we can walk you through the submission requirements.

Schedule 736 hits the refresh button

It’s happening again. Any comments concerning the refresh must be submitted by March 26th, 10 business days after the official notification of the refresh was announced. (GSA Interact)

The updates for GSA Region 2, enhancing schedule 736 Temporary Administrative and Professional Staffing (TAPS), are as follows:

(a) Time limit on use of temporary help service firm.  An agency may use a temporary help service firm(s) in a single situation, as defined in § 300.503, initially for no more than 120 workdays. Provided the situation continues to exist beyond the initial 120 workdays, the agency may extend its use of temporary help services up to the maximum limit of 240 workdays.

  • SIN descriptions have been simplified and classified according to major Occupational Classes. A link under each SIN provides access to the SCA Directory.
  • New pricing templates to simplify price proposals. These vendor pricelists distinguish between Wage Grade labor rates and Professional labor rates.
  • Additional NAICS secondary codes have been added to identify major sub-categories such as Court Reporting. (ibid)

None of these changes require modification to contracts or change the original contract scope. GSA says this refresh helps to make the Schedule more clearly comprehensible for industry partners and agencies. Vendors may update their price lists as necessary. (ibid)

GSA has also announced a webinar to review the Schedule 736 changes, for Wednesday, March 27th, 3:00 PM EST. Access the webinar on the following link:meet.google.com/doo-extp-yck(ibid)

If you’re not certain about how your contract is affected by this refresh, give us a call at 301-913-5000, and we will help.

 

OLMs in Your MAS … Finally!

In an effort to create consistency between the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) and other IDIQ contracts, GSA has incorporated Order Level Materials (OLMs) into the Schedules through a final General Services Acquisition Regulation (GSAR). This change gives agencies flexibility, which should ultimately result in more consistency. (GSA Interact February 12, 2019)

The GSA Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center (IWAC) plans to refresh the following Schedule solicitations in early Spring 2019 to implement the OLM authority:

  • 36 Office, Imaging, and Document Solutions
  • 58 I Professional Audio/Video Telemetry/Tracking, Recording/Reproducing and Signal Data Solutions
  • 78 Sports, Promotional Outdoor, Recreation, Trophies, and Signs (Sports)
  • 72 Furnishing and Floor Coverings
  • 71 II K Comprehensive Furniture Management Services (CFMS) (ibid)

GSA will issue a bilateral mod to incorporate the planned changes into existing contracts. Contractors may accept the modification, as it will be optional. MAS contractors must either accept or decline the mass mod within 30 days of receipt. After acceptance, OLM SIN and OLM terms and conditions will automatically be added to existing contracts. If contractors do not accept the modification, they may not provide OLMs in response to customer requirements. (GSA Interact February 12, 2019)

If you’re having trouble deciding about whether to accept the mass mod, give us a call at 301-913-5000, and we’ll talk it out with you.

 

 

 

 

 

Wireless Mobility Solutions on Schedule 70

GSA has worked with a government-wide mobility expert team to develop a mobile strategy for the federal government. The goals: make purchases more simple, provide additional supplier competition with better pricing, and keep current with mobility changes. From this effort, we have new SIN 132-53 on Schedule 70, wireless mobility solutions (WMS), which replaces the expiring  Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) BPA. (GSA.gov February 14, 2019Despite expiration of the FSSI mobility BPAs, GSA said on its website that agencies can still exercise extension options under existing agreements until 2023. (Fedscoop February 14, 2019)

WMS SIN includes 11 new service categories:

  • Wireless Carrier Services
  • Other Mobility End-Point Infrastructure – Mobility infrastructure
  • Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)
  • Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM)
  • Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS)
  • Telecom Expense Management (TEM)
  • Mobile Application Vetting
  • Mobile Threat Protection (MTP)
  • Mobile Identity Management
  • Internet of Things (loT)
  • Other/Mobile Services (ibid)

The federal government spends nearly $1 billion dollars annually on wireless carrier services, according to GSA.gov,  approximately 40-50 percent of the agencies’ total cost of ownership for mobility. Other mobility costs can include services related to mobile security, enterprise mobility management, mobile applications management, and mobile integration into the agency enterprise. These additional services can add up to an incremental $700-$800 million a year or nearly $2 billion dollars in total. (GSA.gov February 14, 2019)

The enhanced WMS SIN is now available for use by agency customers and industry partners. (ibid)

Questions about providing mobility services to the government or getting your Schedule 70? Give us a call at 301-913-5000  and we can walk you through it.

GSA’s Guide to Non-Christmas Shopping

GSA is starting small with its commercially-operated online purchasing portals, with a pilot scheduled by the end of 2019.

Initially, only commercial products/services below the government’s micro-purchase limit will be offered. But the threshold of $10,000 differs from the $250,000 Congressional limit put into place at the time the e-commerce experiment was ordered, which allows GSA to sidestep policy requirements such as the Buy American Act and the Trade Agreements Act. We aren’t certain how these will apply to the new e-commerce portal, as purchases below the $10,000 threshold are already exempt from a wide variety of procurement laws. GSA wants the portals to show agency buyers the vendor’s business size and qualification as a preferred supplier in other categories. (J.Serbu, Federal News Network December 13, 2018)

There is a current gap between what the government procures through open market procurement  (often via a purchase card) and what the government knows it buys for commercial items. GSA intends that the centrally managed and monitored portal will assist the government in determining the products agencies are purchasing and introducing into the federal supply chain. (J.Serbu, Federal News Network December 13, 2018)

The draft terms and conditions seem to deviate substantially from the FAR, and are a little “gray,” so we need to wait and see how this turns out. (J.Serbu, Federal News Network December 13, 2018) We all know that our Ts and Cs are of the utmost importance to government auditors and regulatory compliance. Other important questions include:

  • why would agencies use the new e-commerce platform when they can get good commercial item prices via GSA Schedules and the Advantage portal?
  • will the new e-commerce portal actually save the Government money?

This nifty e-commerce pilot portal will help determine the answer to these questions. Do you have a question about the e-commerce portal or GSA Schedules? Give us a call at 301-913-5000: we are here to help.