COVID-19 actually helped small businesses do business

Due to the pandemic, the federal government has expanded remote network access to assist a dispersed workforce. This in turn has motivated reforms to the procurement system.

According to Roya Konzman, acting division director for solutions development at General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), “suddenly there was a need for new hardware, software and network access security, so we advised our Small Business Administration, Department of Veteran Affairs and Social Security Administration on their procurement strategies. GSA empowered its contracting officers to expand its rated orders authority. These orders are issued in accordance with the defense priorities and allocation system, and rated orders applied to IT capabilities included teleworking and health care solutions such as VPN accounts, virtual desktop infrastructure solutions, laptops, and mobile devices, and also covered personal protective equipment such as medical products hand sanitizers and disposable gloves.” (GovernmentCIO Media & Research April 6, 2021)

A national emergency allows the use of rated order authority. It authorizes GSA to prioritize a solicitation on behalf of an agency to buy goods and services. If a contractor receives a rated order, the contractor must prioritize that order ahead of other orders in the queue. (ibid)

There were so many rated orders issued to large contractors that individual suppliers often had a hard time meeting demands within the allotted timeframe. The result was federal agencies looked to enlarge their contracting base to include specialized smaller and mid-sized contractors. (ibid)

Because smaller firms do not have the “red tape’ that larger firms have, they can often change directions quickly. This makes smaller firms extremely valuable during times of national crisis. (ibid)

The federal government invested in video conferencing software and remote connectivity during the pandemic. This affords vendors the opportunity to demonstrate their products to various procurement offices. Additionally, agencies can quickly evaluate a large range of potential contractors. Which helps potential contractors who might have otherwise been overshadowed by larger vendors with preexisting relationships. (ibid)

Do you have a specialized product that the federal government needs? Give us a call.

 

Relax a Little – Expiring SAM Deadline Extended

GSA just announced a 180-day extension for organizations with expiring SAM website registrations. Those with registrations expiring between April 1 and September 30, 2021, will automatically be granted an extension. The extension is an effort to alleviate some of the burden during the implementation of the American Rescue Plan Act. (GSA Interact March 29, 2021)

GSA will send an email from samadmin@sam.gov with the subject line “180-Day SAM.gov Extension Granted for [Entity Name/DUNS/CAGE]” to those affected. The extension will not affect first-time registrants. The updated records will be stored within entity management extracts in SAM.gov and available through web services after the records are extended. (ibid)

Need help with your registration? Give us a call.

$355M for Women Owned Small Businesses

Over the past 20 years, the government has aimed to award at least 5 percent of contracts to Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs). In FY2020, WOSBs received $561.7 million in contracts. However, GSA has only set aside $354.9 million for WOSB contracts in FY2021. (ExecutiveGov, March 4, 2021)

According to GSA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, 10.47 percent of the total FY2020 contracting obligations for women-owned vendors were prime awards. To lend a hand to these vendors, GSA provides support through training resources and Forecast of Contracting Opportunities. These tools and other activities earned GSA a grade of A+ from the Small Business Administration in FY2019 for their work to support small businesses. (ibid)

Are you a Small or Woman-Owned Small Business looking to prime or sub on an upcoming procurement? Give us a call.

Improved FedRAMP

A new and improved FedRAMP now awaits users. The updated website is largely based on feedback from users and gives an in-depth description of the authorization process, enabling Cloud Service Providers and Third-Party Assessment Organizations a more user-friendly way to access relevant information on their role in the FedRAMP Authorization process. (FedRamp.gov February 16, 2021)

A few of the fundamental features include:

  • Authorization Process – the homepage highlights an interactive graphic to give participants a better understanding of the steps involved in the process of the various Authorization paths
  • Program Basics – this new page to FedRAMP details the mission, history, goals, and legal framework of FedRAMP
  • Documents and Templates – a new searchable function within FedRAMP
  • FAQs – functionality enabling participants to search for answers to the most common questions
  • Site notifications – participants are notified of updates, additions, and new blog postings
  • Enhanced Marketplace – design and accessibility and performance updates (ibid)

GSA plans to use web analytics and ongoing feedback to evolve the website over time to meet users’ needs.

Have questions about the new FedRAMP website? Give us a call.