The efficiencies associated with purchasing information technology via the pre-existing, pre-competed GSA IT Schedule 70 save both time and money for government customers. To confirm these benefits, GSA is examining the time it takes a government entity to award its own full and open contract, using products and services readily available from GSA. After a review of over 700 contracts, findings indicate that large-value IT contracts take 25 months to complete on average. This timeframe is well over the average of IT Schedule 70 contacts. Further, in 77 percent of the 700 contracts examined, contract awards were ultimately made to vendors that already hold existing IT contracts.
What is IT Schedule 70?
IT Schedule 70 is an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract. It is an IT procurement vehicle that offers a comprehensive array of state-of-the-art IT products, services, and solutions. Approximately 80 percent of IT Schedule 70 contract holders are small businesses. Recently, this contract vehicle has been used primarily for service-oriented procurement offerings. Services made up more than $11 billion of the contract vehicle’s $16.2 billion in FY2010 sales.
Today, IT Schedule 70 is the largest procurement vehicle and the most widely-used acquisition offering in the federal government. Nearly one-third of all MAS contractors are available through IT Schedule 70’s Special Item Numbers (SINs). Considered ‘Evergreen’, IT Schedule 70 contracts contain a five-year base period, plus three five-year option periods.
Federal, state, local, and tribal government customers should consider utilizing GSA’s IT Schedule 70 to optimize the planning and procurement process and leveraging GSA’s suite of e-Tools that facilitate market research and offer automated purchasing capabilities. Cost savings are also generated via pre-negotiated ceiling prices that provide significant discounts from commercial pricing and serve as a starting point for head-to-head competition or further negotiations.
Finally, GSA IT Schedule 70 offers customers both online and in-person training, providing the assistance and support they need to complete the often complex IT purchasing process.
Why IT Schedule 70?
GSA uses IT Schedule 70 to deliver a full range of IT solutions including hardware, software, maintenance, network services, cybersecurity, professional IT services, and more. Key benefits include:
Ease of Use – Simplified online ordering and use of Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs).
Built-in Value – Nationwide network of resources, including complimentary e-Tools, extensive training opportunities, and responsive regional GSA representatives.
Safe-harbor – Assistance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) compliance.
Variety – Access to 5,000 industry suppliers, providing millions of products and services.
Teaming – Contractor Team Arrangements (CTAs) allowing industry partners to collaborate and offer a total solution to meet specific customer requirements.
Strategic, Customer-Centric Solutions For the Future
Similar to other government agencies, GSA is working diligently to meet the current government mandates, including the green initiatives of Executive Order 13514. IT Schedule 70 is moving to expand electronic contracting, increase sustainability, and achieve GSA’s green IT goals, explained Patricia Waddell, Deputy Director for the Center for IT Schedule Business Programs. Pilot testing of the electronic contracting system is gaining momentum in the organization and yielding positive results. The online contracting system is expected to be fully functional in FY2012.
Another key green IT initiative, according to Waddell, is GSA’s 15 telepresence centers located across the country. The centers are not just for GSA employees, as all agencies can use the centers towards improving telework capabilities, reduce travel expenses, increase sustainability, and connect to other agencies and businesses. “Current offerings such as the telepresence centers and webinars will decrease travel expenses,” Waddell said.
GSA is expected to expand IT Schedule 70’s role in improving cybersecurity for agency customers. IT Schedule 70 is currently assisting federal, state, local, and tribal governments in the procurement of cybersecurity, information assurance, and privacy (CIAP) project products and the authentication of critical infrastructure. To be most effective, the Center for Information Assurance and Identity Management (CIAIM) is listening to GSA customers about their needs and requirements and how GSA can best provide services to meet the growing demands for cybersecurity, information assurance (IA), and privacy. GSA is building “a new foundation for how to acquire cybersecurity products and services within the IT Schedule 70 SmartBUY program,” according to Shondrea Lyublanovits, Director of GSA’s Security Services Division. Lyublanovits is responsible for IA and the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) initiative, as well as Public Key Infrastructure (PKI).
According to Lyublanovits, GSA is anticipating the launch of a FedRAMP BPA, which is expected to make migrating to cloud computing easier and more secure. Federal agencies should look forward to other enhancements as well. “Securing the critical infrastructure of the federal government is of paramount importance to us. GSA wants to be the lead for all agencies in the procurement of all products and services, but we know this can only be achieved with the proper amount of awareness and security risk mitigation,” Lyublanovits explained.
Stanley Kaczmarczyk, Deputy Director in the Center of Strategic Solutions and Security Services for GSA heads the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12) identification card program. Under a contract on IT Schedule 70, Kaczmarczyk’s group offers a managed services program that helps 18 federal agencies issue HSPD-12 compliant ID cards for employees and contractors nationwide. In total, about 90 federal entities, including the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, the Office of Personnel Management, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the Small Business Administration, among others are served by this program, which now has 450,000 active card holders. “The agencies contract with us, and we provide the web-based program to them to allow them to enroll employees and contractors for these HSPD-compliant ID cards,” Kaczmarczyk explained.
In February, the OMB ordered agencies to add physical and logical access systems on these ID cards, he said. GSA is building new managed services now that will help agencies comply with this latest OMB requirement as well.
Ultimately, IT Schedule 70 offers an enormous opportunity for government agencies to fully leverage GSA’s existing products and services to create substantial savings for their agencies and for government as a whole. In the future, Steven Kempf, Commissioner for GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said in his congressional testimony in March, “our focus will be on continuing to align our contracts to customer needs and focus on leveraging capabilities across the enterprise to develop, highlight, and deliver strategic offerings like cloud computing services, cybersecurity products and services, and data center services. We will expand our comprehensive suite of sustainable IT products and services, like telepresence, while leveraging the government’s purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and technologies, and continue to provide leading edge solutions to enable agencies to comply with the Administration’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiatives (CNCI).”
Undoubtedly, sustainability, cybersecurity, and cloud computing will all play greater roles in the future as part of GSA’s overall procurement strategy to assist government customers in their IT modernization goals.
— This report was commissioned by the Content Solutions unit, an independent editorial arm of 1105 Government Information Group, originally published at http://gcn.com/microsites/2011/gsa-schedule/2-introduction.aspx and at http://gcn.com/microsites/2011/gsa-schedule/5-strategic-customer-centric-solutions-future.aspx.