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FCW : March 15, 2015
Chvotkin said. “The larger the opportunity, the greater value to the incumbent” providers — and the harder they fight. That pressure was evident in November when NASA decided to re-evaluate dozens of contracts it had awarded under SEWP V in response to protests. On Oct. 1 and Oct. 15, NASA had approved 73 contracts for hardware, software and related services in three categories based on company size. Protests started almost as soon as the contracts were announced, with 17 firms filing in various categories. As a result, the agency extended SEWP IV until April as it works through the SEWP V protests. NASA officials have also made some efficiency improvements to SEWP IV operations and lowered the fee built into product prices from 0.45 percent to 0.39 percent. SEWP’s situation isn’t unique in the current contentious market, McCann said. Companies “are scrapping about where they are” on federal contracting vehicles overall. Woytek said GWACs are no more susceptible to protests than any other federal contract, and Chvotkin agreed that there’s no reason to expect SEWP V to be hit by more pro- tests. Ultimately, “it’s up to the agencies to get [contracting vehicles] right,” he said, adding that SEWP V might have an advantage because its creators included vendors in the development process. The impact of strategic sourcing Another potential hurdle for SEWP is the growing influence of GSA’s efforts at strategic sourcing, which include detailed, price-oriented category management. GSA has been steadily building detailed product “hallways” where federal IT buy- ers can find details about specific applications, products and, perhaps most important, prices other agencies paid for the same or similar equipment and services. GSA officials hope to bolster the agency’s standing as the default source for federal IT managers looking for solutions. The agency also has its own GWAC and the Schedule 70 IDIQ, which is the most widely used acquisition vehicle in the federal government. GSA’s efforts to build information on product categories do not necessarily come at the expense of other GWACs because GSA officials have said they want to include infor- mation on all federal GWACs. In fact, McCann and Chvotkin said GSA’s efforts will probably aid SEWP. “Category management hallways will bring more visibility to a host of IDIQ GWACs, including SEWP,” Chvotkin said. He and McCann agreed that SEWP will almost certainly endure. The GWAC continues to respond to the market- place and federal users’ demands, McCann said, and Woytek “knows how to adapt to changing needs.” McCann also credited Woytek with creating a culture of scrupulous customer service that has built a loyal following among federal buyers. “That’s something you don’t see in government every day,” she said. n ExecTe c h 26 March 15, 2015 FCW.COM SEWP IV facts 37 contract holders 4,700 companies with products and/ or services on one or more contracts 2.7 million unique products At least 97 distinct agency customers, including all Cabinet-level departments, commissions and independent agencies BY THE NUMBERS: TOTAL BUYING UNDER SEWP: WHAT’S IN A NAME? $2.35 billion Fiscal 2013 $2.52 billion Fiscal 2014 The acronym soon came to be associated with the saying “as easy as duck soup.” The Marx Brothers’ movie “Duck Soup” also became linked to the effort, which makes SEWP’s cartoon rubber ducky logo a little more understandable. 0315fcw_024-026.indd 26 2/23/15 4:19 PM
March 30, 2015