Search the Community
Showing results for tags 'it'.
Found 8 results
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.
Odinita posted a topic in Contracting WorkforceCan anyone provide me examples of how your agency has implemented FITARA law and what it applies to? Any information is appreciated. I have 16+ years of Contra ting experience, mostly with DoD. I now work for a civilian agency that is just beginning to implement FITARA. I support research scientists who regularly by scientific equipment that requires the installation of software or comes with hardware. Under our current application of FITARA anything associated with IT must go through the IT buying process. For example, any microscope hydraulic lift etc. have to go through the IT contracting group and receive approvals at Department levels. This process is failing us. The good news is that the CIO is listening to me and are considering updating their processes. I am arguing that the IT in Scientific equipment is incidental to the intent of the bye and strict FITARA rule should not apply. I have convinced them to other organizations are doing it this way, now they’re asking me for examples.
IT modernization still more important than ever to federal agencies According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Office of Management Budget’s (OMB) 2019 budget document, over 80 percent of all information technology (IT) spending is on the Operations and Maintenance of "aging legacy systems, which pose efficiency, cybersecurity, and mission risk issues, such as ever-rising costs to maintain them and an inability to meet current or expected mission requirements." That’s because the current push for modernization is not just about updating or replacing old technology. It’s about “creating the platform for change,” as the President’s Management Agenda describes it—that is, finding more cost-effective, innovative approaches to delivering IT services and improving services delivered to the citizen. As the pace of modernization accelerates, many agencies might find themselves struggling to keep up. Here at NITAAC, we get it. That’s why our contracting officers are so essential to our offerings. We have a team of FAC-C-DS Level-III certified contracting professionals who can guide customers through every step of the acquisition lifecycle. They understand how to leverage different contract vehicles, how to define IT requirements accurately and clearly, and how to translate those requirements into solutions that work. Using proven methods, they can get from requirements definition to award in as few as 30 days. It’s acquisition at the speed of innovation. But innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens in the context of individual procurements, each reflecting the unique mission and goals of an agency. Whatever your modernization requirements, our GWACs can help. CIO-SP3 is a good choice for agencies looking to develop innovative solutions based on cutting-edge technology. The program includes 137 different labor categories (and more can be added at the task order level), and supports every contract type in the FAR. CIO-SP3 also has a small business companion contract, which helps agencies meet their small business goals for HUBZone, 8(a), Woman-Owned, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business, and Small Business. CIO-CS, on the other hand, provides easy access to a wide range of commodity and commodity-based solutions that can be deployed either on premise or in the cloud. The offerings are always current, with a technology refresh process that enables product updates to be added as soon as they become available. Not in days or weeks—but hours. The contract includes both original equipment manufacturers and value-added resellers. CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business and CIO-CS are all designed to simplify the acquisition process. You don’t need a special “Delegation of Procurement Authority” to issue task or delivery orders, nor do you need to synopsize or post requirements, since these programs fall under FAR 16.5. The streamlined process doesn’t require you to compromise on price. As part of the original contract awards, we negotiated competitive prices for products and services—and as part of task and delivery orders, you can negotiate even better rates and prices. The pricing for commodity products is lower than open market and less than or equal to what you can get through federal supply schedules. We can’t promise that modernization will be easy. But what we can promise is that the acquisition process can support your efforts, rather than frustrate them. We’re here to make that happen. For more information, visit https://nitaac.nih.gov or call us at 1.888.773.6542. You can also email NITAACsupport@nih.gov.
Playing with new IT and potential new way to procure
quango posted a topic in Contract Award ProcessSo our IT guys have set up an “incubation lab”. This will allow them to play with potential tools already available commercially, and see what breaks (of their stuff or ours) and what we like. Or to consider whether we can justify building it ourselves, as opposed to buying it. Now they want to do something like this— Release a single solicitation Make (basically) identical awards to, say, 4 companies. With option years. and 3 stages. Potential XXX gazillion dollars for each award. Initial period, for EVALUATION IN OUR ENVIRONMENT (XXX thousand dollars, a few months) Follow on for FURTHER DEMONSTRATION OF FURTHER CAPABILITIES (significantly more money. More months) And then IMPLEMENTATION (Potential XXX gazillion dollars for each award, up to 4 additional years.) Fleshed out a bit-- Initial period, for EVALUATION IN OUR ENVIRONMENT Each company will come in and show off, and let us play with their toys for a few months. We will pay for their expenses. Follow on for DEMONSTRATION OF FURTHER CAPABILITIES If we like Company A and B, we can exercise an option to have JUST THOSE companies come in for more playtime. Again, paid, but more money, and a longer time. BUT the same options for companies C&D are NOT exercised. But these are options, so those companies cannot object. (as opposed to a new award) After whatever time it takes, we decide we like company A more, because it is “friendlier” (note: not a defensible argument for sole source, but often what I am given) For IMPLEMENTATION we exercise options with COMPANY A only. And company B cannot object, because those are OPTIONS. Have you come across anything like this? Any pros or cons leap out? NOTE: We do NOT have any of those special OTHER TRANSACTIONAL AUTHORITIES that some other agencies have been given. Just vanilla civilian agency FAR. NOTE: We have looked at and rejected the USDS 8(a) Digital Service Initiative for “Select the Tech”, https://techfarhub.cio.gov/initiatives/8a/. While this may be a great thing for smaller agencies, our guys want to do the eval themselves.
IDIQ Unit Pricing for 5 Years - Why?
Subutai posted a topic in Schedules, GWACS, MACs, IDIQsNewish CO here. I am pre-award with an IDIQ that will have a BOM for a bunch of contractor-provisioned IT COTS hardware (maybe 100 different items, up to $80K unit price). These IT materials are from a dynamic market. Prices, models, features all change quickly. I am being asked by management to get 5-year pricing at the unit level for everything, and incorporate that pricing into the IDIQ. To me, this is a bad idea and a waste of time. My question to you all is - am I right in my assessment? Am I missing something? I see nothing in FAR 16.5 requiring any pricing of any type at the IDIQ level. Pricing and price analysis occurs at the order level. I understand that ceiling unit prices can be established by the IDIQ and found fair and reasonable, so that orders with unit prices at or below those levels are also fair and reasonable automatically, and this greatly speeds up the procurement process. However, this is predicated upon the assumption that the unit prices and things being priced will be stable over time. For example, carpenters and database administrators exist now and are reasonably likely to exist five years from now, and their hourly rates aren't going to change very much between now and then. This is not the case with IT hardware. Basically everything on the IDIQ's BOM has a lifecycle of less than 5 years and prices will change quickly, and by a lot. Also, new stuff comes onto market all the time. So why bother with IDIQ level pricing, you are going to have to do the price analysis per order anyways? If you know now, before award, that the IDIQ unit pricing will be obsolete and therefore can't be used for price analysis in the future, why bother having it? I know I will not win this battle with management, so this is for my personnel edification.
http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/FITARA.pdf I was wondering if some of the senior members of this discussion board had any impressions of the proposed legislation. It is a bit different from the initial draft (Summary of changes found here: http://oversight.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/FITARA_RevisionsSummary.pdf). One piece of the proposed legislation is the introduction of the "fixed-priced technical competition" that I thought would be of interest to some (Sec. 503). I know that some find IT acquisitions dry as dirt, but IT procurement is something that every agency procurement division manages in some form or fashion, and the implications of this legislation fall beyond IT procurement. Just interested in your impressions. Jon Johnson
Innovative Procurement Methods
marknaggar posted a topic in Contract Award ProcessThe traditional approach to IT service acquisitions is to put a solicitation on the street and evaluate written proposals of how a contractor would design, build, and implement a new IT system. Does anyone have experience or can point me to IT service acquisitions where rather than direct potential contractors to "Tell" us how they'll do something, we direct them to "Show & Tell" us how they do it? In other words, a group I'm working with is exploring the notion of providing a concept paper and 4 databases (web, access, excel, sharepoint, etc...) along with fake data from each and providing potential contractors the time (60-90 days) to provide a live system for us to actually test. In theory, this will minimize the failure rate (typically high) of contractors to deliver on time and within budget, not to mention a viable product. This approach would enable us to see which company can actually do the work and do it the best, and supposing it works, we could provide them with the contract to finalize the system, maintain it, and perform ad hoc upgrades. What I'm looking for are examples across contracting where this has happened or something similar so we can mitigate failure and achieve success. Thanks, Mark
How to Handle Unknown Overage Charges
rios0311 posted a topic in Contract AdministrationI have an IT contract for cloudbased webhosting services among the many contracts I've inherited recently. IT contracts are new to me, so I don't know if the contract was properly written or not. The contract provides the agency with a definite amount of bandwidth every month. During a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS), the amount of bandwidth the agency uses can easily exceed the amount of bandwidth that the contract allows for. The subject contract provides for overage charges for whenever the agency exceeds the amount of bandwidth provided by the contract on any particular month. My concern with this scheme is that the contract currently does not provide funding for overage charges incurred by the agency. In fact, I have to modify the contract to add funds in order to be able to pay last month's invoice because it included overage charges that the agency had not anticipated. I assume that there should be funding on the contract to cover the overage charges, but how do I estimate something that can vary so significantly from month to month? We have no advance knowledge of when DDoS attacks will occur, or of how many attacks might occur in a month. Since the amount of the overage can be so significant, how do I go about keeping the contract properly funded? Is there a better or more common method of setting up the contract? Another concern I have is that the provider has offered us a type of "protection" plan that for a monthly fee establishes a fee cap on the amount of overage charges the agency would incur during a DDoS attack. The "protection" plan requires the agency to request a service credit after the agency has suffered a DDoS attack. Upon receipt of the agency's request, the provider would credit any overage charges that are in excess of the fee cap established by the "protection" plan. The "protection" plan they're offering seems to have - to some degree - the effect of insurance. Is this type of plan/service considered insurance? If so, are we allowed to purchase these types of "protection" plans? Or is the Government's limitation on purchasing insurance limited only to insurance provided by insurance companies? My last concern with this contract is that the contractor is a FedRAMP compliant cloud service provider (CSP). That's why the agency chose the contractor. The agency's CIO was surprised to learn that bandwidth overage charges could be incurred by the agency during a DDoS attack under this contract. The contractor claims that it provides the agency with DDoS protection (through a third party), but that the additional bandwidth required to keep the agency's websites available during a DDoS attack is not included in the contract price. Does anyone know whether or not a FedRAMP compliant CSP is required to provide DDoS attack protection and additional bandwidth at no additional cost to the Government when there is a contract in place for cloud services? Or is there a more common method the industry employs to allow for excess bandwidth usage in government contracts without additional charges?