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services. The system can also help agencies determine whether a company has the expertise or products they need to fulfill mission objectives. Although the system is meant to reduce time and increase efficiency throughout the procurement process, it could hinder new entrants into the public marketplace.
Nevertheless, GSA continues to use self-scoring methods for GWACs to alleviate administrative burdens.
“With the movement toward scoring sheets, many small businesses have an uphill battle to achieve enough points to be in contention,” said Riya Patel, senior program manager for government at Dcode. “GWACs would benefit from find- ing a way to include startups in the requirements or lowering the barrier to entry to promote innovation.”
Experts have also noted that CIO-SP4’s self-scoring evalu- ation system may exclude small companies that participate in the Small Business Administration’s Mentor-Protégé Pro- gram, which connects small firms with established govern- ment contractors that can provide resources and guidance on building their federal business. The purpose of SBA’s program is to help small businesses make deals with the federal government, but those opportunities will be all but impossible to find if firms are excluded from major procure- ment vehicles such as CIO-SP4.
Alan Chvotkin, former executive vice president and counsel at the Professional Services Council, describes the
Best in Class GWACs
challenges facing the GWAC as “a number of self-inflicted wounds [that] really gave CIO-SP4 a black eye.” The con- cept of self-scoring is “emblematic of a trend taking place among GWACs generally,” added Chvotkin, now a partner at Nichols Liu. “It’s really at the heart of the problems CIO- SP has had and others have had as well.”
An essential tool for fast, effective procurement
GSA has attempted to raise the value for civilian agency pro- tests to $25 million to match that of DOD. Analysts warn that the move could wipe out nearly all protests against civilian agency task orders because the majority fall below $25 mil- lion. Some experts also point to growing competition within GSA, noting that the agency oversees a suite of GWACs and its own $45 billion consolidated Multiple Award Schedule that is the largest of its kind.
Still, GWACs continue to find new success each year, and GSA officials see GWACs as key facilitators in achieving the Biden administration’s priorities, particularly those focused on increasing investments in small woman- and veteran-owned companies and those located in disadvantaged communities.
Laura Stanton, assistant commissioner for the Office of IT Category at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said the agency was “rocketing” toward its milestones for the Polar- is GWAC, a vehicle that supplies IT services and solutions with a focus on emerging technologies and small companies
Governmentwide acquisition contracts are a key part of the Office of Management and Budget’s category management strategy. Agencies are encouraged — and in some cases required — to use GWACs that have met OMB’s Best in Class criteria because of their rigorous requirements definitions, appropriate pricing strategies, and supporting data to measure and manage performance. The following IT-related GWACs have been designated Best in Class.
Run by the General Services Administration, this GWAC focuses on integrated IT solutions from small, disadvantaged businesses that have been certified under the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program.
This Army-administered contract vehicle offers laptops and desktops as well as tablets, monitors, printers, and ruggedized and semi- ruggedized devices.
Alliant 2
Administered by GSA, the current Alliant vehicle offers comprehensive and flexible IT solutions worldwide.
Run by the National Institutes
of Health’s IT Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC),
this vehicle offers commercial IT products and as-a-service solutions on site or in the cloud.
These NITAAC GWACs complement CIO-CS by offering a wide range of commercial and non-commercial IT solutions and services. CIO-SP3 has a small-business set-aside.
Complex Commercial SATCOM Solutions
This GSA-run GWAC covers large, complex, custom satellite solutions, including services and components.
Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions
The successor to Networx, EIS is GSA’s comprehensive solution- based vehicle to address all aspects of agencies’ IT telecommunications and infrastructure requirements.
FSSI Wireless
This GSA-run GWAC offers wireless services for governmentwide use.
The IT-focused section of GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule, long known as Schedule 70, provides innovative hardware- and software- based technology products, services and solutions. There is also a subsection dedicated to wireless mobility solutions.
Administered by GSA, OASIS focuses on flexible and innovative solutions for complex professional services that span many areas
of expertise, mission spaces and disciplines. OASIS SB is a small business-only vehicle.
Now in its fifth iteration, NASA’s SEWP delivers a broad range of commercial IT products and services governmentwide.
A set-aside for small businesses owned by service-disabled veterans, this GSA-run GWAC provides federal customers with customized IT solutions.
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