The Future is Cloud-y

In February, GSA released a draft request for proposal (RFP) to consolidate and upgrade all of the Defense Department’s back office functions into the commercial cloud. GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service is now in the early stages of doing the same for civilian agencies with Civilian Enterprise Office Solutions (CEOS). (Federal News Network, May 7, 2019)

To help ensure supply chain security, DHS took the lead on early efforts. GSA has taken over efforts to reduce the attack surface of the network. With managed service, security is already embedded in the solution, making it more secure than the currently situation. (ibid)

Alan Thomas, GSA FAS commissioner and a board member managing the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF), has recommendations/lessons learned for agencies applying for Fund loans to modernize their IT:

  • Agencies submitting proposals this year need to build incremental benchmarks into their proposal, or their funding will likely be pulled.
  • Quarterly reviews will be conducted on agencies receiving funding.
  • Agencies should make sure their proposals focus on value creation and cost savings as the agencies must pay back funding provided by TMF.
  • Agencies should coordinate internally on proposals prior to submission; otherwise, they run the risk of being turned down for funding. (ibid)

FAS is also in need of IT modernization. The FAS internal systems, FSS 19, is nearly 40 years old. It uses older programming languages (COBOL, PowerBuilder) that solved specific problems instead of approaching an integrated solution. FAS is in need of a new, updated IT solution to bring the agency out of the 1970s. (ibid)

Are you a software provider or integrator looking to bring civilian agencies into the 21st century? Let’s talk! 301-913-5000.

 

 

The Eagle (II) is Not Landing

DHS will not be recompeting their EAGLE II IT services contract when it expires in 2020. They are moving toward a strategy called EAGLE Next Gen, which allows them to rely on existing contracts in order to meet IT services needs. Agile development and special or niche mission needs will be met by smaller targeted contracts competed as necessary. (Nextgov, April 20, 2019)

The EAGLE Next Gen strategy is just that, a strategy whereby DHS would use already established governmentwide acquisition contracts or GWACs. These include:

  • the National Institutes of Health’s CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 Small Business
  • GSA’s Alliant 2, 8(a) STARS II
  • GSA’s VETS 2

When requirements cannot be met by this strategy, DHS will build in-house contracts.

So far, DHS is beginning to build an in-house contract for cloud and data center optimization. Over 100 responses were received from their initial RFI. Most likely, resulting RFPs will ultimately be the family of contracts under DHS Next Gen, and are expected in the Fall. (ibid)

Some Homeland Security components are still using EAGLE II to support their agile development. Work with each of the components is at various phases of the procurement process. Each component has different requirements; therefore procurements will be specialized to meet individual needs. (ibid)

The future procurement strategy is far from finalized. There may be full and open competition or a blanket purchase agreement using pre-vetted vendors.

Would you like to learn more about the EAGLE Next Gen strategy and where you might fit in? Give us a call at (301) 913-5000.

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

NGA, Satellites, and You

GSA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) have partnered on a blanket purchase agreement through IT schedule 70, under a special item number (SIN). Contracting Officers from NGA, an agency that relies heavily on satellite data, have noted that they appreciate the flexibility when purchasing through GSA.  So far, 11 vendors for “Earth Observation Solutions” have been tapped. (Federal Computer Week, February 2019)

According to Bill Zielinski, GSA’s acting assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology, “The commercial earth observation industry has experienced accelerated growth, and we’re very pleased to position our offering to provide the latest in emerging technology and solutions while making it easier for our government customers to reach these companies.” (ibid)

The partnering of GSA and NGA supports the Commercial Initiative to Buy Operationally Responsive GEOINT — also known as CIBORG. In 2016, the partners set up CIBORG, which gives the NGA access to GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules Program. (Federal Computer Week, February 2019) Now NGA can buy as the need arises, without the need to go through a lengthy procurement process. If NGA needs to monitor a distant land or waterway, they can quickly contract out for updated information from commercial entities rather than deploy their own resources, therefore providing cost savings in addition to an immediately available service.

Questions about Earth Observation Services or how to be part of the new Schedule 70 initiative? Give us a call at 301-913-5000 and we will walk you through it.