A new day, a new number

After nearly 50 years as the official entity verification number, The Dun & Bradstreet DUNS is being replaced by the Ernst & Young, Unique Entity ID or UEI. Although the original transition was planned for December 2020, it has been moved to April 4, 2022. The additional time allows for agencies to test systems using both numbers ahead of the final cutover. (Nextgov July 29, 2021)

The DUNS identifier is comprised of nine numbers. The UEI is a 12 digit alphanumeric code. The character number change requires every federal agency as well as every private contractor/vendor doing government business, to recode their systems to accept the new UEI number. (ibid)

The GSA Interact site recently confirmed that all organizations with a DUNS have been assigned a UEI. The Interact post explains that contractors and grantees previously registered on SAM have “already been assigned a Unique Entity Identity ID”. Users should go to their entity registration record to view their new identifier. Users, such as sub-awardees, may request a UEI on SAM.gov, beginning October of 2021. (ibid)

GSA told contractors, “in preparation for the full transition to the Unique Entity ID, you should prepare any of your own internal systems to accept the new identifier and to stop using the DUNS number for federal awards processes by April 2022. Federal agencies will begin to migrate to the Unique Entity ID between now and April 2022. Pay special attention to instructions they provide regarding the use of the new identifier.” (ibid)

Questions concerning your DUNS number or your UEI? Give us a call.

Money, money, money!

It’s the fourth fiscal quarter for the federal government and that means it’s time to use that budget or risk losing it. The fourth quarter generally holds great opportunities for contractors from July to September as agencies are keen to use up their budgets. (Federal Times August 3, 2021)

During the month of September, federal contract awards account for nearly 16 percent of all contract activity, with 40% of small business spending taking place in the last quarter of the fiscal year. Although not all agencies are the same in how they treat fourth-quarter spending, the State Department and U.S. Department of Agriculture tend to do some of their “big spending” in Q4. (ibid)

COVID-19 spending continues to account for a large share of federal contracting. The heavy COVID spending has changed the spending cycles and thrown them out of balance. This might make the Q4 rush a little less robust than in past years however it remains one of the best times of the year to be well-positioned for contract opportunities. (ibid)

Contractors should have a strategy for getting the most out of Q4 spending, especially from agencies known to rely on it.

Hoping to get the most out of Q4 spending but no strategy in place? Give us a call.

 

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.