GSA WANTS TO KNOW HOW TO LOWER BARRIERS FOR IT 70 CONTRACT HOLDERS – HINT, IT’S NOT WHAT GSA PROPOSES
The letter from GSA states, “We are interested in understanding from industry — particularly small businesses — how our practices can be improved.” The stated intent is to make it easier for companies to obtain a GSA 70 IT Schedule contract. Even waiving the two year “in business” requirement is floated. Reading the RFI (FBO.Gov, September 2nd), however, paints an entirely different picture.
GSA is proposing to adopt the Corporate Experience elements of the OASIS contract, also coming soon to Alliant II. These contracts are great vehicles for experienced contractors and there is no issue, per se, with the Corporate Experience requirement as it applies to those vehicles. One place many OASIS contractors got their experience, though, was as a Schedule contractor. Implementing the same language on Schedule 70 will essentially close the door on any new or small business from being added to the IT Schedule and give more ammunition to the cadre of people inside GSA who feel that they have “enough” Schedule contractors already.
The Schedule 70 solicitation already requires an offeror to submit copious amounts of commercial pricing information, an implicit admission that they have successful previous corporate experience. Further, a Dun and Bradstreet report surveying previous customers has been part of the Schedule process for years. The information being sought be GSA is already asked for, and provided.
The new requirement would merely add to the time and cost of obtaining an IT Schedule. It’s a redundant paperwork burden and should be called out as such. It will raise the barrier to entry, not lower it, further discouraging small and innovative companies from applying for a contract.
GSA’s largest Schedule customer, DOD, is making a big deal about innovation these days.
Even before becoming Secretary, Ashton Carter stated, “… it is the duty of every senior technology manager in the government to drive innovation.” GSA needs to follow Carter’s lead and drop new reporting requirements proposed in the RFI so that it’s vehicles can meet Carter’s needs.