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  1. So a COTR brought this up.... COTR is considering a new acquisition. Among other tools used in the research, he "GOOGLED" possible solutions. (He did other research as well, but GOOGLE was one of the search engines used.) "When we are looking at cloud services (or really any product for that matter) search engines like Bing and Google are indispensable for gathering market research, documentation, etc. Since the companies that provide the search engines also compete on other products, could they use search and site visit history to identify competitors for an RFP and gain an unfair advantage?" GOOGLE recently came to the agency and demonstrated a new product. In his words "They were such a close match to the kinds of functionality we searched for and tested that I began to feel like they were in our heads. Having been on the “vendor side” before, I have seen first-hand how intense the desire for competitive info is and how ethically unconstrained most response team leads are. Having access to search data would give a tremendous advantage." and further.... "I did a test. I went back and looked at my search history for “(redacted name of project)” to see if I could identify which products we were considering. The answer was a resounding “Yes”. By plotting them over time, I was basically able to map our project lifecycle." I told him I did not think he had done anything wrong, as he is still doing research. However, it does raise some interesting points. I do not especially worry about a search engine finding out about other competitors when THEY search. Theoretically I might worry they "block" a competitors product from coming up in one of OUR searches, but only when indulging in paranoia. Such an argument does give me more ammo to tell the COTR that a "Google search" in and of itself is not sufficient for a JOFOC, so that is helpful. I can more easily envision an vendor "tracking" our searches in order to customize a sales pitch. All the more reason to have a properly constructed solicitation, and not to evaluate on capabilities that we did not explicitly call out in the official paperwork. (Hey, we didn't ASK for it, but that sure looks COOL!) Has anyone had any "real life" issues related to such a situation?
  2. I need assistance getting copy of JD for Procurement QA/QC. Specialist. Can you assist?

  3. replying to here_2_help Heavens no. We are not at all interested in stealing anything. IP rights are an entirely different set of questions/bear traps. The MAKE OR BUY thing for us would help determine --- 1) Is something close to what we want already there, and can we eventually make it work in our universe? 2) Are we trying to weld a big tractor to a little red wagon, which CAN be done, but is not really something commercial ventures have declared worth pursuing? In which case, build is a "reasonable" decision. 3) are we asking for an underwater toaster, which we thought was a really good idea at 2am, but, when we talk to other people the next day, turns out to be a bad idea. Maybe we should step back. The techies are getting grief for a perceived bias to build instead of buy (OMB? OFPP? SBA? Someone like that) . Maybe if we do this, it can provide some argument for them, along the lines of "see, we really DID give the commercial people a chance, and tried hard to find something, but we are just to weird for anyone to be able to help with an existing product" My questions are if anyone has tried anything similar to what I described... or thought about it while stuck in traffic...and what leapt out at your as a good or bad thing about it.
  4. So 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.
  5. Just an note to reinforce the advice from Vern-- If you are concerned about using the terms properly, then define them when you use them and be consistent in your usage. We did run into problems with a SOFTWARE purchase, a case of what we felt we were entitled to get VS what the salesman wanted to deliver. It turned out the government defined specific technical needs under an ATTACHMENT, while the contractor defined what they wanted to deliver under their LICENSE AGREEMENT, included as an ADDENDUM. See 52.212-4 Contract Terms and Conditions—Commercial Items (Dec 2014) (s) Order of precedence. Any inconsistencies in this solicitation or contract shall be resolved by giving precedence in the following order: (1) The schedule of supplies/services. (2) The Assignments, Disputes, Payments, Invoice, Other Compliances, Compliance with Laws Unique to Government Contracts, and Unauthorized Obligations paragraphs of this clause; (3) The clause at 52.212-5. (4) Addenda to this solicitation or contract, including any license agreements for computer software. (5) Solicitation provisions if this is a solicitation. (6) Other paragraphs of this clause. (7) The Standard Form 1449. (8) Other documents, exhibits, and attachments. (9) The specification. Ugly feelings all around.
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