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FCW : August 15, 2014
August 15, 2014 FCW.COM 21 Two of the largest GWACs --- NASA's Solu- tions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement and the National Institutes of Health IT Acquisition and Assessment Center's Elec- tronic Commodities Store --- are in transition. SEWP is undergoing a fth revi- sion, with contracts due this summer, while ECS III is set to expire Nov. 25. NITAAC of cials have said they are expecting responses to ECS III's suc- cessor, the multibillion- dollar CIO-Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) GWAC, by the end of the year. "If GSA moves adroit- ly, they can be the rst among the major con- tracting vehicles" to offer a more ef cient way to buy cloud services, Allen said. Additionally, Chvotkin and Allen said the effort to create a uni ed SIN under Schedule 70 does not render redundant the federally mandated "cloud rst" policy that requires agencies to increase their use of cloud computing. Cloud services do not yet per- vade the federal gov- ernment, and they said a simpli ed SIN would provide a clearer way for agencies to buy cloud services rather than rely on Schedule 70 solutions that might or might not employ the technology. "We're not near ubiqui- tous cloud services yet, " Allen said. The technology is not explicit in some Schedule 70 offerings, but the single number would make it explicit, he added. GSA of cials said some federal contract- ing vehicles make buying cloud services easier than others. In remarks made after GSA's RFI was announced, Maynard Crum, acting director of GSA's Of ce of Strategic Programs, said the cloud market had matured to the extent that federal agencies were getting used to the idea of using two government purchas- ing vehicles --- GSA's Alli- ant GWAC and Schedule 70. In an email statement, Crum said Alliant is broad enough to make buying cloud services easy, while Schedule 70's lack of a single cloud SIN meant technologies, integration and migration services were spread among vari- ous SINs. "The current plan is to encourage people to respond to the RFI, " Crum said. "Our goal is to gather as much feedback as possible, ensure we're collaborating with our government customers and our industry partners, and take all input into account. Once we're able to sift through every- thing, we will determine the best course of action going forward. "■ of his creative approach to IT procurement, noted a few more examples of innovation in federal procurement that might be hiding in the FAR's shadows. He said the 2010 America Competes Reauthorization Act, though separate from the FAR, opened the door to current reform efforts by creating Challenge.gov. The law and subsequent website provide all agencies with broad authority and a clear legal path to conduct prize competitions. Naggar also pointed out that federal agencies can take advantage of crowdsourcing websites --- such as 99designs, Elance, oDesk and others --- under the FAR through simple purchase card payments because those sites cost less than $3,000 to use. "This market is changing so rapidly and is so new that people aren't familiar with them, and [those sites are] a wonderful strategic sourcing tool with amazing value," he said. "We can pay less than $1,000 for graphic designs, get them in less than a week, and have hundreds to choose from among 30 or more designers compared to hiring one rm who could charge so much more and offer more limited designs in more time." Joanie Newhart, associate administrator for acquisition workforce programs at OFPP, said efforts like the Buyers Club and TechFAR are important parts of a broader effort to helps agencies better understand procurement. "While the FAR has signi cant exibilities, we are con- tinuously looking for ideas and feedback to increase its effectiveness," said Newhart, who is also on the board of the Federal Acquisition Institute, a government/industry group focused on acquisition workforce issues. TechFAR "is one example of a new tool to help agencies use the FAR's exibilities to leverage proven innovative strategies for getting better results and expanding access to the best companies," she added. ■ "GSA is nervous because a lot of IT is leaking out of Schedule 70. " --- Alan Chvotkin
July 30, 2014
August 30, 2014