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  1. The current push for modernization is not just about updating or replacing old technology. It’s about “creating the platform for change”— that is, finding more cost-effective, innovative approaches to delivering IT and improving service to the citizen. A common component of the push for IT modernization is delivering data, information and transactional services across multiple platforms to enhance how citizens engage with the government. Unfortunately, buying digital services is not a skill that is gained through the Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting (FAC-C) curriculum. Many seasoned contracting officers are now facing a start-of-FY2022 deadline to learn and apply new skills for Digital Services (DS). Realizing the void in digital services knowledge, in 2018, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) introduced the Digital IT Acquisition Program (DITAP). It is a specialized and immersive training program that helps contracting officers gain digital services expertise. The program also raises the overall competency of the acquisition workforce. DITAP focuses on teaching federal contracting officers how to design innovative and flexible procurements for services and solutions, such as human-centered design, iterative development, cloud and everything-as-a-service (XaaS). Any purchase over $7 million must be handled by DITAP certified personnel. OFPP gave agencies a hard deadline of FY 2022 to train and begin buying technology using DITAP-taught and other evolving approaches. Agencies have been instructed that any technology purchase worth more than $7 million must be handled by a contracting officer or specialist that has earned DITAP certification, often referred to as FAC-C-DS. Unfortunately, COVID-19 and remote working have made it increasingly difficult for contracting officers to take the six-month training. In fact, to date, only 400 contracting officers have completed the certification. NITAAC contracting officers and specialists were among the first 400, trained and certified early on to seek evolving technology and service our customers at the cutting edge. As 2022 quickly approaches, many agencies are left wondering how to manage their digital IT services procurements without the proper credentials. NITAAC has the solution. As all NITAAC contracting officers and specialists are already DITAP certified, they are specially trained to handle information technology procurements on each of our three Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts for IT – CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business and CIO-CS. Not only have they completed the rigorous training process; but, they are experienced in implementing the most innovative and streamlined strategies in IT acquisitions. OFPP does offer remedies for contracting officers who have yet to obtain their credentials, such as requesting a waiver and obtaining the appropriate certifications within a year. A delay in certification, however, could lead to a penalty for an agency. According to the OFPP, “non-compliance may result in increased risk to effectively soliciting, evaluating and administering critical digital service contracts that could have lasting ramifications on the agency.” How other agencies can access NITAAC Contracting Officers NITAAC’s Assisted Acquisitions Service is the perfect solution for agencies who lack DITAP certified professionals but have digital IT services requirements. With Assisted Acquisitions, federal agencies benefit from the capabilities and expertise of NITAAC contracting officers, as well as the efficiencies and economies associated with leveraging resources and requirements. It’s a win, win for all. If you are interested in partnering with us on a requirement, or simply want more information, contact NITAAC Support at 1.888.773.6542 to speak with an intake specialist. NITAAC contracting officers also take questions every business day about our government-wide acquisitions contracts through our help desk at NITAACsupport@nih.gov.
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