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FCW : August 15, 2014
Acquisition 20 August 15, 2014 FCW.COM The effort to improve the IT acquisition ball game is not limited to small agency-speci c plays. The General Services Administration is explor- ing a broader strategy to expand its huge Sched- ule 70 multiple-award contracting vehicle into a way for federal contract- ing of cers to get to cloud services more ef ciently. GSA's effort to add cloud services to the Schedule 70 IT contract might give it some lever- age over competing government contracting vehicles and a leg up on advancing technology. Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of GSA's Of ce of Integrated Tech- nology Services, wrote in a blog post in July that agency leaders are thinking about creat- ing a single special item number (SIN) for cloud services on the IT Sched- ule 70 governmentwide acquisition contract --- the largest, most widely used IT acquisition vehicle in the federal government. GSA's request for infor- mation issued in early July said commercial cloud computing services were currently being sold through several SINs on Schedule 70. SINs create logical cat- egories of services within a schedule. Designating one SIN for cloud com- puting would more easily and clearly identify those services for customers and would facilitate their purchase through GSA's eBuy and GSA Advantage portals, Davie said. Procurement experts said the single SIN could offer GSA a more targeted way to compete with an expanding array of cloud options. Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel at the Profes- sional Services Council, said a single cloud SIN could help GSA re- establish the primacy of Schedule 70 in the face of proliferating sources for cloud services. "GSA is nervous because a lot of IT is leaking out of Schedule 70, " he said. The single SIN could provide an added level of clarity and con dence for agencies looking for cloud services from an assured provider, and it would offer consis- tency and transparency while yielding pricing and other data that agencies could use. Federal procurement expert Larry Allen agreed that GSA's timing could give Schedule 70 a much- needed boost. "Schedule 70 has a tremendous opportunity to get out ahead" with cloud service offerings for federal users, he said. "We ve got mixed feel- ings about the TechFAR s necessity," said Trey Hodg- kins, senior vice president of the Information Technol- ogy Alliance for Public Sec- tor. "Everything is there. It s pulling out the right things. It s helpful to condense them into a tech version of the FAR, but it doesn t make [federal contracting and pro- curement of cials] less risk-averse." Ultimately, Hodgkins said, it is a workforce and cultural challenge to change how procurement and contracting of - cers think about the ways they buy IT. "You re seeing private sector-markets and models rapidly shifting in society, and government procurement should also stay up-to-date and current as markets and models change," Mark Naggar, a procurement adviser for HHS Buyers Club who is on loan from the Cen- ters for Disease Control and Prevention, told FCW. "We re trying to take advantage of, and align ourselves with, newer models better aligned with private industry (i.e., crowdsourcing, proof of concept, agile processes, design thinking and incentive prize tools). The HHS Buyers Club...is a way to educate our audiences and better align ourselves to operate the way the private sector does but still stay within the con nes of federal law and regulations." Naggar, whom Sivak said he borrowed from CDC because Schedule 70 cloud listing could shower bene ts Procurement experts are enthusiastic about adding a separate cloud services category to the venerable contracting vehicle BY MARK ROCKWELL "With those num- bers, what s the risk of trying to do something new?" --- Bryan Sivak
July 30, 2014
August 30, 2014