GSA PROMOTING ITS OWN “MARKET RESEARCH AS A SERVICE” SOLUTION
One perennial customer crack, unfair we think, against GSA is “what do we get for our money?” when paying contract access fees. While Allen Federal believes it should be obvious that customer agencies get a great deal from GSA in terms of vetting contractors and establishing popular acquisition vehicles, the agency is nevertheless adding a new feature to help its customers more easily find contractors that meet specific needs. The “Market Research-As-a-Service, or “MRAS”, feature will leverage existing GSA research and analytics to assist customer agencies in developing an appropriate acquisition approach and potential contractors that can meet their needs. MRAS personnel will help customer agencies define and identify suppliers and contracts, research and identify supplier capabilities, access existing market reports, and assist with a comprehensive market plan that includes contract suggestions and socio-economics considerations. All of these services will be provided at no cost to GSA customer agencies. MRAS will function differently than GSA’s fee-for-service assisted acquisition offices, which perform many of these same functions, but also manage actual procurements. Just as with assisted acquisition offices, though, contractors will want to establish relationships with MRAS providers. Working with GSA to meet customer needs is already a proven best practice. Ensuring that this office has the latest information not only on individual company capabilities, but also on market trends, examples of previously successful acquisition approaches and more, will be critical to ensuring that GSA’s MRAS office has the information it needs to be successful. Also, never forget that relationships matter in acquisition just as much a process knowledge. Contractors should get to know MRAS just as customer agencies will.