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.

 

 

 

Selling to the Government in a digital world

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a major change in the way consumers make purchases. What was once a predominately in-person purchasing scenario has moved online. The Business to Government (B2G) segment has not moved as easily into the digital marketplace.

From a social media standpoint, government marketing spending is likely one of the lowest in the world. Therefore, it is not feasible for social media platforms to segment their offerings to accommodate B2G audience segmentation. LinkedIn however, is the one social media platform that does offer government-industry segmentation and programs, making it a powerful tool for those in the federal government acquisition arena.

Small and medium-sized contractors, however, should consider getting in on the ground floor of other social media outlets, before the digital environment begins to get crowded. When setting up your digital marketing plan, keep in mind the most used digital tools are search engine marketing, social media marketing, and programmatic marketing.

A procurement team or official might search for organization information such as past performance and proof of competence when evaluating bidders for requests for proposal compliance. As a contractor, this makes a contractor’s digital strategy extremely important.

The most effective B2G digital strategies include:

  • Consistent brand message across all social media platforms
  • Content compatible with SEO strategy.
  • Expanded or enhanced digital footprint/leverage content to stay “on brand.”
  • Powerful organic content – the original content copy and image posted on social media platforms.
  • Visibility – growth of followers by paid media within specific audiences.

Contractors’ digital content can bring their message to key influencers and decision-makers. Visibility during the RPF or RFQ phase is crucial, especially for small businesses and those on the ground floor looking to start or further their work with government agencies.

Digital strategy questions? Give us a call.

Cloud services bought “by the drink”

In May, Jeff Koses, GSA’s senior procurement executive, released a second draft policy allowing agencies to buy cloud services “by the drink”, via schedule contract. Koses includes in the draft, how the policy will work, the Price Reduction Clause, and how the funding works.

Koses said, “GSA anticipates purchasing cloud computing on a consumption basis will increase competition, as the move towards commercial practices will encourage new entrants to the FSS program. With a contract structure more closely tied to real-time demand, this approach also provides greater flexibility to take advantage of technology improvements and better support cybersecurity. Tying cloud computing procurements to commercial market prices will also provide cost transparency without burdening contractors with additional transactional price reporting requirements. Plus, this approach promotes cost efficiency as it reduces the need to lock into long term contracts in markets where falling prices are reasonably anticipated.”

Nick West, GSA’s deputy director of the Office of Policy, Integrity and Workforce said, “We hope the policy lays out a clear way to execute the pay by the drink execution strategy using the schedules. We hope to have some sort of language in the schedule contracts by the fall or maybe earlier, hopefully. We really are looking to build something that the IOs will use and [industry] will offer solutions for them to use.”

Keith Nakasone, who recently served as deputy assistant commissioner for acquisition in GSA’s Office of IT Category, feels the pay-by-the-drink model to the schedules allows the Federal Acquisition Service to develop special item number 518210C (previously 132-40).

The second and first draft memos differ slightly. The second draft memo directs agencies to buy off cloud service provider pricelists receiving discounts as prices change. This allows agencies to incrementally fund task orders for cloud services as opposed to putting all of the money on a specific contract at once. Although this doesn’t allow for heavy discounts upfront, it does mirror how private industry acquires cloud services.

The new policy will allow GSA to make it easier for agencies to buy cloud services. A long-time goal of the agency.  Have cloud services you want to get on schedule?  Give us a call.

 

 

What the new Minimum Wage Executive Order means

In late April, President Biden signed an executive order, requiring government contractors to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. Censeo Consulting Group analyzed the effect of the federal worker minimum wage increase. They determined that approximately 30,520 contracts will require modification. In addition, they expect the modifications to add 450,000 additional contracting office, workload hours. This equates to about 240 additional full-time positions. (ExecutiveGov May 27, 2021)

The executive order will impact federal spending from between $1 and $2 billion. Agencies can prepare by:

  • Segmenting contract portfolio by delivery location and spend category, highlighting impacted contracts
  • Developing a policy and process for addressing impacted contracts
  • Analyze internal pricing to identify contracts requiring modifications (ibid)

The departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Agriculture, and State are most impacted by the executive order and are likely preparing to make their contract modifications on or before the 2022 deadline.

Do you need to modify your contract? Give us a call.

 

Small business and startups are front and center

Boosting small businesses and software for DoD are priorities for the Biden administration and their nomination for the Defense Department’s technology efforts.  Heidi Shyu, nominated for undersecretary of defense,  recently introduced her priorities to modernize the military during her confirmation hearing. She stated, “In order to rapidly transition the latest software, we need to have an open architecture that isolates the software from the hardware then allows rapid user testing.” (Defense Systems May 26, 2021)

Shyu told the senate that DOD should be investing so that development and procurement are 70% of their costs for a new weapons system. Shyu proposed buying more emerging tech such as artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and hypersonics rather than investing in older systems. Shyu said, “today, sustainment makes up 70% of total weapon system cost, with development and procurement making up 30%.” (ibid)

During Shyu’s hearing, she mentioned small businesses, especially startups working on new technologies, repeatedly. Shyu feels they are necessary for the Defense Department’s success. Shyu did not lose sight of the inability of the acquisition system to shift prototypes into programs. Shyu plans to institute a clear transition path. (ibid)

Shyu said, “part of the reason there is a valley of death for technology is that a lot of the technology programs are being developed by small companies, and unless you had the foresight two years ago to understand that the technology is going to be mature within two years time, by the time you get the money to buy that technology it’s two years old now.” (ibid)

Shyu said, “I saw a six-person company that’s developed any type of fuel as input and the output is a DC-plug. Those are the types of creative, innovative companies we need to nurture. And they are struggling to figure out who to talk to in the DOD.” (ibid)

Are you an innovator or a small business looking to work with the Department of Defense? Give us a call.