Show Me the Money! All the Money!

End of fiscal year 2019 spending will likely exceed that of 2018. So much so that hours are being extended for the largest Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts. (Federal Computer Week, August 30, 2019)

A few contributing factors precipitating  the uptick in spending:

  • The credit card threshold for micro-purchases increased from $3,500 to $10,000
  • A stable budget allows agencies the ideal scenario to plan and use their funding.
  • The last day of the fiscal year falls on a weekday this year. (ibid)

For instance, the National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) expect a very busy September. They have been designated “best in class” across all three of their GWACs, which will likely bring in additional work. as extended hours in September as does the Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP). According to Joanne Woytek, manager for NASA’s SEWP,  processing systems have been updated to a High Availability System. The update took place earlier in the year and additional staff was added overall not just to respond to the additional spending in September.

NITAAC has improved its e-GOS next-generation customer ordering portal, which mirrors commercial online shopping and makes shopping easier for contracting officers. Item comparisons and photos will be part of the buying experience. The changes will be a key factor in streamlining the purchasing process, thus making ordering easier and faster. (ibid)

Not to be outdone, GSA also expects September to be the busiest month of the year for their Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts. (ibid)

Questions about the September buying frenzy and how you can take advantage? Give us a call.

FAR Changes

With the end of the Fiscal Year looming, the push is on to exhaust agency budgets. In an effort to make acquisitions move through the process more quickly and smoothly, DOD, GSA, and NASA have issued an amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The amendment fine-tunes the  FAR and eliminates a step in the acquisition process. (Fedscoop, July 15, 2019)

Per the FAR, agencies were required to justify the best procurement approach when using GSA’s IT Schedule 70, Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts, or assisted acquisition solutions. As of June 5, the new FAR amendment allows agencies to skip that step. Agencies are now able to quickly find GSA IT category contracts and acquisition solutions. (ibid)

According to Bill Zielinski, assistant commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition services office, agencies “can now identify and quickly use GSA IT Category contracts and acquisition solutions, especially as they embark on their end-of-year IT spending and acquisition efforts.” Zielinski feels the new change to the FAR reduces the administrative burden for agencies procuring through GSA’s IT Schedule 70 or through GWACs such as 8(a) STARS 2 and Alliant 2, as well as through assisted acquisition programs. (Federal Computer Week, July 15, 2019)

Curious about the new FAR language and how it affects your GSA schedule? Give us a call and we can review it with you.

 

 

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.

 

Alliant2 Be or Not to Be

Alliant2 Small Business, the largest contract in over a decade for government-wide IT services, was recently rescinded by GSA.  (Nextgov, March 2019)

Over a year ago, GSA announced the Alliant2 award to 81 small businesses. Protests immediately ensued. One company, Citizant, Inc., protested to the GAO, who dismissed the file, so Citizant took their complaints to court and won, resulting in the rescission of the awards and GSA revisiting their scoring methodology. (ibid)

Evaluation of bidders differed from the last iteration of Alliant, with rumors of contracting officer bias and arbitrary bid pricing scores bubbling under. Many believe GSA’s self-scoring system allowed companies that should have been eliminated early on to continue through the process. Time will tell if each submission will be rescored or just those below the cutoff, although the judge requires GSA to rescore all. (Federal News Network, April 1)

If only a handful of submissions are rescored, the protest floodgates are likely to open again, possibly forcing a re-compete. Making awards to multiple companies have proven time and again that it is nearly impossible to compare apples to apples during the evaluation process. The process raises a lot of questions. Stay tuned.

We are always available to talk to you about this or other contracting problems. Give us a call at 301-913-5000.