DOD requesting IT budget boost

Data Science company Govini, recently reported the Department of Defense requested a 7.8% increase in its fiscal 2022 budget for IT. The request is mostly from the “general IT” spending subcategory. This brings the total sought to $34.8 billion for IT. (Fedscoop July 8, 2021)

Congress needs to approve the requested budget before it moves to DOD, however, it is a good indication of where the money will go, once approved. The IT and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (C4ISR) budget breakdown are as follows:

  • Naval Tactical Communications increase 2.8% to $2.6 billion
  • Medical IT increase by 6.9% or $2.2 billion
  • Other increase by 12.5% to $18 billion (ibid)

The budget increases consistently trend upward from the previous year indicating the importance of IT in war. Bob Work, former deputy secretary of defense in the Obama administration said, “the future character of warfare will be defined more by information than by hardware.” (ibid)

Looking to provide IT services to DOD? Give us a call.

 

 

The Price Reduction Clause needs to go

On July 9th, the Biden administration issued the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy. Much of the focus of the Order is on fair and open competition. One way to accomplish this is the elimination of the Price Reduction Clause (PRC). The elimination of the PRC will streamline the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program by removing barriers to entry into the federal marketplace. (Federal News Network July 19, 2021)

Robin Carnahan, General Services Administration Administrator, during her confirmation hearing, said, “I’ve talked to businesses that have tried to get on GSA Schedules… [T]hey’ve told me about how difficult that process is, and I’m interested in learning more about how we can streamline that.” The Price Reduction Clause elimination is a start. (ibid)

One could argue the following points to eliminate PRC:

  • The advancement of technology and the use of new purchasing practices have all but rendered the PRC obsolete.
  • The PRC can keep agencies from purchasing ground-breaking technologies from new vendors.
  • The PRC puts an undue compliance burden on small, medium, and large FSS contractors, costing them millions of dollars each year.
  • Price and value are driven by competition, at the task order level and in real-time. The PRC pre-determines contract-level pricing, often negotiating against presumed requirements from the past.
  • Compliance costs of the PRC can be detrimental to small businesses attempting to address the PRC’s complex compliance requirements.
  • The PRC is the only governmentwide contract term that can restrict contractors working with the government from competing in the commercial marketplace. This hurts jobs and economic growth. (ibid)

The elimination of the PRC will increase competition. Small businesses will more easily compete as price and value will drive task order-level competition. Without PRC’s complex compliance requirements,  small businesses will finally be able to afford to compete.

Looking to provide services to the government but the PRC has been a stumbling block? Give us a call.

 

GSA has some big changes coming

Over the last few years, the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) has focused on improving customer and employee experiences. FAS is building on that foundation with the following four new initiatives:

  1. Modernize and consolidate the schedule contracts
  2. Develop commercial platforms under Section 876
  3. Develop a contract acquisition lifecycle management system
  4. Move toward catalog management for all products and services (Federal News Network July 1, 2021)

According to Sonny Hashmi, FAS Commissioner, the goal is to reduce friction for agency customers and contractors selling their products and services. (ibid)

At a recent Government Procurement Conference Hashami said, “if you look at the transactions that are going through, the majority are in the service marketplaces, whether it’s in IT or non-IT services. Then we have a products catalog marketplace and those experiences are slightly different how you buy a product is slightly different than how you engage with a vendor on services. We have to kind of provide that distinction. When it comes to products, we’re seeing customers increasingly wanting to see a self-service type, model, more of an e-commerce model. So that begs the question of what’s the future of GSA Advantage? How do we scale it? How do we make it more powerful? Then, of course, there’s a new policy frameworks coming our way from Section 889, supply chain risk management, cybersecurity and cybersecurity maturity model certification (CMMC) compliance. We have to incorporate all of those as part of our thinking as well.” Hashmi noted that the effort to consolidate is 90% complete. (ibid)

The deputy commissioner at FAS, Tom Howder, expects GSA to make an award near the end of fiscal 2021 to develop the catalog management system. The contractor awarded will help manage data and catalog listings. The goal is to “make it easier for contractors to get on GSA contracts” according to Howder. (ibid)

Hashmi noted the focus on the customer is guiding its request for information and the possibility of setting up a new cloud services blanket purchase agreement. He noted that FAS is aware that the more GWACs and multiple award contracts they create, such the OASIS replacement including POLARIS, ASTRO and 8(a)STARS III, the more confusing it may become. (ibid)

Hashmi said, “give us some time. We don’t want to break what works. Industry should not worry that we’re going to take opportunity away from them. If you’re a company that’s been very successful on OASIS, engage in the OASIS replacement conversation, make sure that you are also going to be very successful on the new contract. But if you’re a company that was left out of OASIS, guess what, you now have an opportunity to also be successful in the new contract vehicle. That’s where I’m looking at it. Now we want to make sure that we talk constantly with our customers and our suppliers. So we can wait until this thing gets released and then say, ‘Well, this is not going to work for us.’ Or you can engage with us now to make sure we build something that’s going to actually work for you. We’re a couple of years away from this being fully figured out and issued. That’s plenty of time for us to rethink how we are going to do competition. Engage with us, give us some ideas, and then let’s make it so that it’s accessible for you.” (ibid)

Questions about the Federal Marketplace Strategy or how you can provide input? Give us a call.

 

 

 

Small Businesses getting their fair shake

GSA is stepping up its game to support underserved communities across the federal government. Their goal is for every small business to have equal access to the federal marketplace and the opportunities the marketplace holds. (GSABLOG June 16, 2021)

The GSA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is working on behalf of the small business community in these ways:

  • The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program. The program encourages participation in innovation by women, people of color, and people with disabilities. The SBIR contracts will fund a varied portfolio of start-ups to encourage technological innovation, meet research and development (R&D) needs and increase commercialization to transition R&D into impact.
  • Furthering the Federal Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Competitiveness Strategy Framework, thereby making it easier for HBCUs to compete for federal opportunities.
  • Improvements to the certification process for the U.S. Small Business Administration Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSB) and Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Businesses (EDWOSB). These improvements will strengthen oversight, improve customer experience, facilitate participation in the WOSB Federal Contracting Program, and maintaining the integrity of the certification process. (ibid)

GSA is committed to working with small businesses, often considered the backbone of the nation’s economy. Their goal is to break down barriers for small disadvantaged and socioeconomic small businesses advancing their ability to do business with the government. The intent is to create an equal opportunity for everyone. (ibid)

Are you a small business, a women-owned small business, or an economically disadvantaged women-owned small business trying to do work with the federal government? Give us a call.

Happy Birthday eBuy!

If you’ve not heard of eBuy it is the paperless request-for-quote (RFQ) system GSA put into place 20 years ago. It was set up to connect suppliers to the contracting process for various products and services. According to eBuy’s Senior Program Analyst Rich Carlson, “in 2001, this online program revolutionized how government connected buyers and sellers for contracting quotes. eBuy streamlined the process, allowing more suppliers, especially small businesses, to participate and connect in ways that they couldn’t before.”  (gsa.gov/blog June 25, 2021)

eBuy offers a single, user-friendly electronic platform with the appropriate supporting documentation and approved supplier oversight. eBuy provides the ability for federal clients, state and local governments to post RFQs, make changes in real-time, and connect buyers with suppliers to secure the best pricing and value for competitive quotes. Additionally, eBuy is available for use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. (ibid)

eBuy gives clients the confidence that suppliers meet all FAR and acquisition regulations. Additionally, companies of all sizes find opportunities to bid on contracts, with these opportunities all on a centralized platform. Multiple types of RFQs have been added to eBuy such as blanket purchase agreements (BPAs), set-asides, and governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACS) for complex IT solutions. 2020 saw a complete redesign and refresh of functionality. (ibid)

When eBuy was created, 5 RFQs were launched on the site. 22 years later, more than $22 billion in awards have been contracted through eBuy with no slow down in sight. (ibid)

Questions about eBuy and how you can take advantage of it? Give us a call.