Mindbank Consulting LLC Awarded new IT 70 GSA Contract

Mindbank Consulting Group, LLC has been awarded their follow on twenty year GSA schedule contract under the GSA’s Group 70 IT schedule program.  A successful GSA contractor with their current GSA contract, GS35F5283H, Mindbank has been awarded their new contract, GS35F708GA, under the GSA’s streamlined, dual contracts program.  Their current GSA contract will stay in place until expiration to service existing Federal customers with BPA’s and contracts awarded under that contract while the new contract will be available for new Federal business.  Mindbank’s newly awarded GSA contract is effective September 26, 2017. 

Mindbank Consulting Group, LLC is a Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) providing Enterprise IT Support Services and Wireless Communications for Public Sector and Commercial organizations. Their highly trained resources operate as a seamless extension of their client’s technology team, and together provide a suite of services in advanced design, integration, implementation, network management and consulting solutions to enable capabilities.

Government Consulting Services, Inc. (GCSI) www.gsacontract.com represented Mindbank at GSA for their original GSA contract award in 1997, has provided continuous contract administration for the term of that contract and is pleased to have also represented them for their newly awarded GSA contract. 

See more at: http://www.mindbank.com/index_mcg.htm 

2018 Trump Budget – Boost for IT and Cloud Services Spending

WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

IT modernization gets big boost in Trump’s 2018 budget

Obviously, there is a lot of attention paid to the Trump fiscal year 2018 budget proposal. The document is thick with spending cuts, tax cuts and increases to defense spending.

Looking at it from a macro level, the budget proposal is not much of a surprise. In general, it is in keeping with the priorities set forth in the so-called “budget blueprint” of a couple months ago.

A few highlights to point out:

  • Reverse sequestration for the defense budget. No such luck for the civilian side.
  • IT spending expected to hit $95.7 billion – $42.5 billion for defense and $53.2 billion for civilian.
  • IT modernization language that establishes $228 million fund at GSA.

The language around the modernization fund provides strong support for congressional actions to establish a mechanism for agencies to move away from legacy systems. It starts at the very bottom of page 1064 with most of the details on page 1065 of the appendix.

Of course, the cuts are what are getting the most attention. But taking a very narrow view and just looking at it from potential opportunities, the overall increase in IT spending is positive for contractors as is the emphasis on the IT breakout on modernization.

The modernization language emphasizes that the administration doesn’t just want to swap out old tech for new. “Rather it is a holistic approach to Federal IT that fundamentally transforms how agencies accomplish their missions.”

They want to look at business processes and use the cloud and shared services for more efficiencies.

Category management gets a shout-out as a tool for the government to buy more like a business. The administration also wants to reduce contract duplication and adopt standards.

Cybersecurity is held out as a priority as is cloud adoption and email migration. The budget sets a goal of moving all federal agencies off of agency-owned and operated email systems to cloud-based email. This seeks to reduce costs, improve security and increase productivity. The Trump administration holds up the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Justice Department as agencies that made the move and saved millions in annual costs.

Overall, IT fares well in the budget. But there will be agencies getting their programs cut. The impact there will vary from agency to agency and contractor to contractor.

But it is important to remember that this budget is just a proposal. Where the cuts will come, if they come, remains to be seen. We have a long way to go and theoretically only a few months to get there.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 23, 2017 at 1:19 PM

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Symplicity Corporation Awarded Five Year Option Period on GSA IT Contract

Symplicity Corporation has been awarded a five year option period on their GSA contract GS35F0440M.  The award runs through April of 2022 and provides Federal and State and Local government access to Symplicity’s custom software development, cloud based CRM solutions and SympleObjects e-business platform.

Symplicity provides four critical systems that are part of the Integrated Award Environment at the General Services Administration. These systems are FedBizOpps.gov (FBO), ESRS, FSRS, and CFDA. Services include initial development and design using an agile approach, ongoing operations and maintenance, professional services, Tier II support, and program management.

Cloud-based CRM

Our best-of-breed, cloud-based CRM solution VOICE is used by federal agencies, including the U.S. State Department, and state government agencies, including the Illinois State Senate.

Custom Development

We provide additional custom solutions utilizing the SympleObjects e-business platform and agile development approach at the United States Courts, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, SBA, and many other federal agencies.

Government Consulting Services, Inc. (GCSI) www.gsacontract.com represented Symplicity Corporation at GSA for this contract action. 

See more at: https://www.symplicity.com/solutions/government/#sthash.m1WrY9EU.dpuf

Cloud Services Taking Off with the Federal Group 70 GSA Schedule Contract

With the addition of Cloud Computing Services (SIN 132-40) on the GSA Group IT GSA Schedule just about two years ago, GSA contractors with Cloud Computing Services on their GSA contracts are reaping the benefits of having added the cloud SIN to their contracts. In the first quarter of the Federal fiscal year 2017, GSA sales of cloud services on the Group 70 IT schedule were just a little over $1.2M while Q2 GSA sales zoomed to over $7.5M making Cloud Computing Services one of the fastest growing services on the contract. Largest gains have been seen with the addition of AWS and Microsoft Cloud services to the contracts.

Federal Government Looks to Leverage Existing IT, Acquisition and Shared Services in Agency Reform Plans

In an article appearing in Federal Computer Week on April 12, 2017 FCW author Mark Rothwell quotes the White House as saying -

Agencies should consider GWACs and federal supply schedules, it said, for common goods and services to save money, avoid wasteful and redundant contracting actions and free-up acquisition staff to accelerate procurements for high-priority mission work.”

It would appear that, despite all the plans for Federal Government reform, GSA schedule contracts will continue to play an important role in how the Fed procures goods and services.

Transactional Data Reporting for the Group 70 IT GSA Schedule

GSA’s new Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot brings greater flexibility to the GSA Group 70 IT program for both new and existing Group 70 contractors and eliminates the requirement for Price Reductions Clause (552.238-75) compliance.  Contact GCSI for applicable SINs under the program and additional information.

— C. Bruce Dickinson, Principal, GCSI cbd@gov-consult.com

Transactional Data is Here: GSA Publishes Rule to Capture Data, Drive Taxpayer Savings & Reduce Burdens on Industry

November 15, 2016 | Tom Sharpe, FAS Commissioner

FAS at the Forefront |

I’ve written before that FAS, along with our industry stakeholders, has taken on the monumental task of transforming GSA’s very successful Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program to ensure that it continues to offer the efficiency and value it was created to provide. We’ve made great strides to date, including giving our contracting professionals access to better tools and more data.

In keeping with our commitment to making the acquisition landscape easier to navigate, this summer we announced the biggest change to the MAS program in more than two decades: the introduction of the Transactional Data Reporting rule (TDR).

TDR offers great value to the American taxpayer.  Through this process, we are able to collect transactional-level data on purchases made through a GSA contract vehicle – invaluable information that not only helps us craft smarter buying strategies, but allows agencies to make smarter purchasing decisions, enhances competition and gives the federal government intelligence around buying patterns.

This new GSA Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) rule also creates tremendous advantages for the vendor community, eliminating the cumbersome Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) and Price Reduction Clause (PRC) reporting requirements, reducing compliance burdens on contractors, particularly small businesses.

As with all great change, we will all experience a period of adjustment and acclimation; but please know that we at GSA are committed to going through this process in the closest cooperation and open communication with our industry partners. GSA will continue to be transparent to industry and all of our stakeholders as we move forward in TDR data analytics and access. Please know that my door is always open, and I look forward to working with you to make an already outstanding MAS program even better for all concerned.

Category Management: Simplifying Government, Increasing Industry Opportunity

The government spends over $420 billion purchasing goods and services each year through more than 500 contracting activities dispersed among federal entities, causing contract duplication and increased administrative burdens.  In the increasingly difficult environment of doing more with less, we simply cannot afford to operate this way.

TDR fits in with the government’s move toward category management, a business model aimed at streamlining the way the public sector does business.  We’ve collaborated with our partners in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) to implement TDR and believe it will help us reach our goal of giving contracting officers the analyses they need to “buy smarter”.  This is a critical step forward as we enable federal contracting professionals to be faster, more strategic, and more successful within the category management framework.

Additionally, the valuable data and market intelligence collected from TDR reporting will make the Multiple Award Schedules program more attractive to federal buyers, increasing business opportunities for the industry community.

Reducing Burden and Removing Barriers to Entry

In recent discussions about the MAS program, industry voiced concerns about burdensome reporting requirements and offered suggestions for improvement.  GSA took this to heart, and implemented meaningful changes.  By accepting TDR, contractors no longer have to report CSP disclosures or comply with the hefty PRC requirement.  During our TDR pilot program, this equals an annual net burden reduction of $29 million.  Even better, these reporting requirements are eliminated prior to award, translating into burden and cost reductions for companies even before winning business off GSA Schedules.

GSA takes our commitment to socioeconomic opportunities very seriously, crafting the TDR rule with our small businesses partners in mind. Simply put, eliminating the CSP disclosures requirement in the final rule makes it easier for smaller companies to pursue Schedule contracts. In addition, unlike the PRC and CSP, TDR is not an upfront hurdle small businesses must clear so that they may do business in the federal marketplace.

We also heard that GSA has “underestimated” the burden TDR imposes.  Let me respond by saying GSA’s burden projections include a wide range of contractors, including those that have hundreds of millions of dollars in sales for thousands of items, and those with few to no sales for a relatively low number of items. However, even though TDR will result in a high burden for some contractors, it still pales in comparison to the current burdens imposed by the PRC and CSP disclosure requirements, which industry has already frequently acknowledged as burdensome.

Collecting and Managing the Data Effectively

Regarding the collection of data: there is a widespread misconception that the federal government already captures all the transactional data we need to make the best purchasing decision possible.  In reality, GSA only collects 1% of transactional data for orders placed through our ordering systems through GSA contract vehicles (e.g. GSA Advantage and eBuy), data is not currently collected through the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) or any other governmentwide acquisition system. Yes, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working on its e-invoicing initiative to capture all government invoices electronically, and we are committed to working with OMB and partner agencies on the success of those initiatives.

And, GSA is ready to protect incoming data and use it effectively.  After all, that’s our business. GSA already collects and manages sets of reported data elements on contract vehicles including, but not limited to FSSI Office Supplies, Commercial Satellite Services and complex professional services under the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) vehicle, and we are committed to building on our existing successful best practices for storing and sharing data.

You might be wondering who will have access to this data and when.  First and foremost, transactional data will be available to and used by category managers to understand demand management and craft better buying strategies.  This is our main focus after sufficient data collection. In the future, we see foresee that GSA’s contracting officers (COs) will gain access to sets of data to evaluate and negotiate Schedule contracts in accordance with policies to ensure that MAS continues to focus on value, not low price, at the contract level.  Down the road, ordering activity COs will be able to consider the data analytics and pricing trends when placing orders.

GSA is currently reconciling public comments on the public disclosure of TDR information, and is committed to communicating the path forward to all stakeholders.

Join Us in This Pivotal Effort!

Now, federal and industry partners can join GSA as we continue to transform MAS, making it easier for agencies to meet their missions and buy smarter while reducing burdens on industry and supporting small enterprises seeking to do business with government.

We expect the added value of transactional data will make the Schedules program the vehicle of choice for the acquisition community.  And by driving contracting professionals to best-value contracts, we will ultimately reduce duplicative contract vehicles, lowering the transactional and administrative costs for both agencies and contractors.  Cutting those costs and making it easier to get on schedule, along with cutting back on redundant and inefficient procurement transactions, helps remove known barriers to entry into the federal marketplace, which is particularly important for the small business community.

The transactional data reporting requirement will be applied to any new GSA government-wide acquisition contract where transactional data is not already collected through other methods.  The rule requires monthly reporting on FSS contracts, Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), and Governmentwide Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contracts.

For FSS contracts, TDR is being implemented in phases, beginning with a pilot of specific Schedules and Special Item Numbers (SINs).  Please visit Interact for more detail about the pilot, the Vendor Support Center for recorded webinars and frequently asked questions, and the user-friendly FAS Sales Reporting site to report sales, view tutorials, and get online help.  Please also send any questions or feedback to our central TDR email box (tdrteam@gsa.gov), managed by a cross-functional team, to get your answers.

I know that change isn’t always easy, but as the stewards of more than $50 billion, GSA FAS must make the decisions necessary to obtain the best solutions for the American taxpayer – and putting TDR in action is one of those.  I look forward to remaining in close communication and cooperation with our industry partners, and to sharing our progress as we move forward with the Transactional Data Reporting rule.