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FCW : June 30, 2016
22 June 30, 2016 FCW.COM Today, under SEWP V, all fed- eral agencies can buy IT products, including tablet and desktop com- puters, servers, peripheral devic- es, network equipment, storage systems, security tools, software, cloud-based services and videocon- ferencing systems. They can also get training, maintenance and installa- tion services. Protests delayed the debut of SEWP V by several months and forced NASA to extend SEWP IV through April 2015. But the lat- est generation of the GWAC has now been open for business for 14 months. And even after 23 years, analysts say, the vehicle still matters to federal IT buyers because it fills a critical need. Agencies have access to a wide range of products from one reliable source where they can pick and choose what they want. And it’s all backed by scrupulous customer service. SEWP remains deliberately prod- uct-centric — both in its huge range of offerings and in its customer ser- vice, with tools such as supply chain risk assessment. Most other GWACs have grown increasingly services- oriented, so the focus on products is an important differentiator. Nevertheless, SEWP V has evolved to be more than simply a catalog of pre-competed product offerings. The program office has made a conscious effort to evolve into a strategic partner that can help agencies better manage all aspects of their purchases. For example, SEWP has been building a rich database of the rela- tionships between authorized resellers and various manufactur- ers so that the program office can provide customers with a risk assessment for any item they’re thinking of buying via SEWP. The final purchase decision still rests with the customer, but that decision can now be made with much better information. Detailed reporting is another service SEWP offers its cus- tomers. “I believe we are the only program currently that can report at the line-item level or the product-classification level,” SEWP Deputy Program Manager Darlene Coen told FCW. Supply chain assessments can be factored into reports on an agency’s past SEWP purchases, as can data that demonstrates progress toward strategic sourcing goals, small-busi- ness contracting and Energy Star compliance. Agencies can also create their own SEWP catalogs to address unique requirements and smooth the way for future purchases as the need arises. “It’s very flexible; it’s very real- time,” Coen said. Although there are rules and regulations involved in creating agency-specific catalogs, the end result can be “an Amazon website type of offering.” “The nice thing about it is that the government is not committed to actually procuring anything on a schedule or for set pricing,” she added. Instead, “it’s an offering that’s up in the cloud...that they can procure from when the government needs it and when the government has funding for those items.” A few agencies have already set up such catalogs, she said, and “we have a lot of interest.... We’re trying to keep up with the demand.” Other GWACs are also enhanc- ing their customer-service offer- ings, and there are overlaps in the IT that’s available for purchase. But the competition among GWACs is generally outweighed by the com- mon goal of reducing the thousands of agency-specific contracts that can bog down federal operations. SEWP Program Manager Joanne Woytek told FCW that NASA, the National Institutes of Health Information Technol- ogy Acquisition and Assessment Center, and the General Ser- vices Administration are all “more concerned with the continued proliferation of non-GWAC contracts and the even larger use of open market purchasing than about GWAC competition.” SEWP V facts • 145 prime contract holders, including 120 small businesses • More than 5 million product items in the contract database of record • At least 97 distinct agency customers, including all Cabinet- level departments, commissions and independent agencies Sold through SEWP: • IT hardware, including servers, laptops and supercomputers • Network and telecommunication products • Software products, including software as a service • Cloud computing • Audiovisual products • Teleconferencing and videoconferencing products • Peripherals and supplies, including printers and power supplies • Maintenance and warranties • Installation • Site planning • Product training • Product-based engineering services SEWP V in fiscal 2015: • $2.55 billion in sales • 24,886 orders Source: SEWP Program Office FCW Contract Guide 0630fcw_021-024.indd 22 6/8/16 8:51 AM
June 15, 2016
July 15, 2016