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Tag: General Services Administration

Tech is hot!

While tech procurements have been on the rise over the past several years, COVID most definitely fueled the flame. According to data from an analysis by Jeff Cook, managing director at Shea & Co., third-quarter 2021 tech deals hit nearly $2.2 billion. With much of that activity from strategic acquisitions. Government Technology, January/February 2022

The new year will likely see both large and smaller acquisitions continue with all being potentially significant. Cook expects, “the acquirers who’ve been active will continue to be active.” (ibid)

Apart from acquisitions, other factors have also fueled the growth. Although there is an abundance of bureaucracy in the government, the government is a stable source of sales and returns. While other areas of the economy may slow, the Government, both local and federal, will continue to operate. This coupled with the need to constantly update their tech requirements make the government a top contender for igniting tech growth. (ibid)

Another factor is the move toward cloud computing and software as a service. Google Announced in November of 2021, the launch of a cloud-based “sandbox” named RAD Lab. It is an instrument public agencies might use to test and develop their specific tools. As an added perk, Google provides support in a secure environment. (ibid)

Surveys of both cities and counties by The Center for Digital Government’s, in 2021, show greater movement to the cloud. Approximately one-third of cities report that about 30 percent of their systems and applications reside in the cloud. County migration is about 26 percent. Therefore, while movement is toward the cloud, there is an opportunity there that has yet to be tapped. (ibid)

Google is not the only game in town. Amazon is looking to take a piece of this market, as well. This shows how big tech is looking to add to their revenue from the gov tech space. (ibid)

According to Stewart Lynn, a partner at Serent Capital who leads gov tech practice, “many private-sector folks are finding new roles within government and have understood that the current systems in place are very antiquated and in need of an upgrade. As citizens have become more active online, you’re seeing governments being responsive to their citizens’ needs. Citizens today want the ability to go online and buy their permits, process their payments, understand what’s going with budget spending. And governments are responding to that demand by investing in digital solutions.” (ibid)

As with all new growth, comes a few hurdles and grey areas. According to Rita Reynolds, chief information officer for the National Association of Counties, “government technology vendors must be willing to update their terms of service and contracts to accept their responsibility and ensure that baseline essential security practices are in place to secure what they are hosting and providing to counties.” (ibid)

For counties, states, and the federal government, there’s a need for some flexibility within the procurement arena. An updated acquisition process and partnering with the private sector will go a long way to make this a win-win for both the government and vendors.

Trying to break into the government contracting arena? Give us a call.

GSA is about to make Cloud purchases a whole lot easier

GSA is about to reveal a plan for a governmentwide marketplace for cloud solutions. This new marketplace will not only make it convenient, it will also set up a one-stop-shop for agencies to purchase commercial Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service, and Platform as a Service, offerings. (FedTech October 7, 2021)

On a recent webinar, Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category in the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said, “We’re looking at how we put together a cloud marketplace that then becomes a buying platform for agencies. We want to put together not just a framework, but a market contractual vehicle that will allow our agencies to buy these core cloud services that we’re seeing them need more and more.” (ibid)

The GSA marketplace will provide agencies with professional IT services as well as post-award contract management tools. It would also set the requirements to verify cloud services meet the baseline security and adherence to guidance from the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP). (ibid)

GSA wants to streamline the entire cloud procurement process for agencies. According to Laura Stanton, “GSA uses the cloud and cloud-related IT professional services special item number (SIN) 518210C as a vehicle for multiple-award procurements. The contract type can be used to acquire cloud computing services, as defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.” Stanton said that GSA is “hearing that agencies have to go to multiple places to buy cloud. We decided it was time to take the next step.” (ibid)

An RFI is expected early in the new fiscal year, which began October 1, 2021. (ibid)

Questions concerning the upcoming RFI? Give us a call.

Federal IT to get a $3B boost

The funding for Federal IT modernization is about to see a noteworthy increase, $3.35 billion if a recent amendment sees success. (MeriTalk September 3, 2021)

An amendment, put forward by Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., would increase funding for Federal IT modernization by $3 billion. Connolly said, “this week, Congress continues our important work in rebuilding from this pandemic, and building a 21st-century economy that is more equitable, visionary, and sustainable. But the policy prescriptions we adopt will only be successful if our IT can deliver on those promises. The fate of the world’s largest economy rises and falls with the ability of government IT systems to deliver in an emergency and as we recover into the future. And that should galvanize us all. Without smart IT investments, our mission to help the American People, will not succeed. We have to get this right, right now.” (ibid)

Through a press release, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform expects the amendment to provide the following:

  • $1 billion in TMF funding, available until September 30, 2031.
  • $2 billion for the General Services Administration’s (GSA’s) Federal Citizen Services Fund. The fund helps agencies to improve public engagement with the government. It supports cybersecurity and cloud-based technologies.
  • $350 million to the Information Technology Oversight and Reform (ITOR) account within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create a mechanism to track government IT spending. The ITOR account is used to fund staffing for the U.S. Digital Service. The U.S. Digital Service works to fix agencies’ most difficult tech problems. (ibid)

Are you a business looking to do work with Federal IT modernization? 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.

 

 

 

GSA contracting just got a whole lot easier – well, maybe

This past May, the General Services (GSA) issued Refresh #6 to the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program solicitation. The goal of Refresh #6 is to modernize and simplify the way contractors do business with the Federal Government. (SecurityInfowatch.com June 14, 2021)

Some of the most significant changes are:

  • Establishment of a Verified Products Portal (VPP). The VPP aims to keep vendors from unauthorized selling of products to the government, under the Federal Supply Schedule.  In most cases, manufacturers who did provide a Letter of Supply (LOS) to resellers will use the VPP as an alternative authorization. (The VPP will not replace GSA Advantage or the SIP program, see VPP@gsa.gov)
  • COVID-19 Waiver which creates a temporary waiver for some requirements of the GSA submission application for vendors who offer products or services supporting the government’s response to COVID-19. The two-year corporate experience requirement is waived.
  • MAS contract cancellation deferrals. This is extremely helpful to contractors who haven’t met the minimum sales requirements per the I-FSS-639 Contract Sales Criteria.
  • Consolidation of the GSA Schedules Program. GSA, by consolidating, hopes to eliminate duplication and standardize processes while at the same time updating terms and conditions. The original 25 GSA Schedules became one, with 12 large categories and 83 subcategories. Contractors may now add new SINs beyond their legacy SINs previously awarded. Current GSA contractors had their awarded SINs mapped to new SINs that correspond to NAICS Codes. (All integrators and contractors are advised to speak with their Contracting Officer to figure out the next steps for SINs from a different large category.)
  • Order Level Materials (OLM) SIN added across all categories. OLMs are acquired at the order level giving the contracting officer (OCO) responsibility for making a fair and reasonable price determination. OLMs are authorized for use in direct support of another awarded SIN, they are not Open Market Items.
  • Phase III of the MAS Consolidation requiring all current contractors to consolidate their contracts under one unique identifier  – Dunn & Bradstreet number. This gives contractors a single point of contact within GSA. GSA provides Modification Guidance with each refresh. Contractors should register for the GSA FAS ID and keep passwords up to date.
  • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) will be issued to contractors in early 2022. This identifier will eliminate the usage of the Dunn & Bradstreet number as a contractor’s government identity. For contractors registered in SAM.gov, the process will take place automatically. (ibid)

GSA is making some major changes over the next 12 months to their GSA Schedules Program. However, the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) is not expected to be included in the MAS solicitation. Agency-specific requirements for technical certification will be outlined in each specific request for quotation. (ibid)

Are any or all of the above changes a little confusing? Give us a call.