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FCW : March 15, 2015
What do NASA’s Solutions for Enterprisewide Procurement program and the Mars rovers have in common? More than you might think. Many recall NASA’s Spirit and Opportunity rovers, which launched in 2003 with a tightly focused, 90-day mission yet continued to explore the red planet for years. The agency’s SEWP contract is far less famous, but it too was launched with a smaller, more focused job in mind — and that was more than 20 years ago. The multiple-award, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC) has been a pioneer in its own right and has proven durable and effective well beyond its initial expiration date. The program was authorized in 1993 by the Office of Man- agement and Budget to help the agency buy computers more effectively. The acronym originally stood for Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement, and the contract provided technical and engineering-related IT products but not associated services. The acronym changed to its current form in 2007 after computer technology blossomed and firm-fixed-price services became available. SEWP is now in its fifth iteration. Under the contract vehicle, all federal agencies can buy IT products, including tablet and desktop computers, servers, peripheral devices, network equipment, storage systems, security tools, software, cloud-based services and videoconferencing systems. They can also get training, maintenance and installation services. Even after 22 years, analysts say, SEWP still matters to federal IT buyers because it fills a critical need. Agencies have access to a reliable source of a wide range of products gathered in one place where they can pick and choose what they want, and it’s all backed by scrupulous customer service. SEWP: An acquisition pioneer is still going strong BY MARK ROCKWELL Protests have delayed SEWP V, but industry experts say the contract vehicle offers agencies service and value that are hard to find 24 March 15, 2015 FCW.COM ExecTe c h SEWP timeline SEWP I (February 1993– February 1997) • Emphasized Unix systems to replace proprietary VAX and IBM systems • $800 million, four-year delegation of procurement authority (DPA) • No small-business or 8(a) awards SEWP II (November 1996– July 2001) • Included higher-end systems and administrative IT classes • $1.8 billion, four-year DPA as GWAC • Two small-business set-asides and five 8(a) awards SEWP III (July 2001– April 2007) • Increased Web and database enhancements • $4 billion, five-year term • Three small-business set-aside competitions (with two awarded to seven companies) and three 8(a) noncompeted set-asides 0315fcw_024-026.indd 24 2/20/15 10:12 AM
March 30, 2015