Connections II Web Portal Enables Self-Serve Ordering by Agencies
Connections II is all about efficiency
The Connections II contract boasts a “one-stop shop” web portal providing agencies with the information and tools they need to issue and award task orders.
Contracting officers can go online to get statement of work (SOW) examples, request a Delegation of Procurement Authority (DPA) to place orders, access tools to manage task orders, and view instructions for using the contract, including how to satisfy fair opportunity requirements. The website includes a link that allows customers to send a request for quotation (RFQ) via e-mail to every industry partner on Connections II, said Debbie Clark, Connections II Program Manager.
Although Connections II has 21 industry partners, Clark does not expect agencies to be overwhelmed with proposals when they issue task orders. “Because this is a new contract, we might see eight to 10 responses to task orders at first, but historically, we have seen that it settles down quickly to three to five on average because industry partners focus on the tasks that are their forte,” she said.
One of the tools available on the Connections II website is a CLIN (Contractor Line Item Number) checker so that agencies can estimate costs or verify prices. Connections II officials also plan to provide an online management reporting system that will enable industry partners to report task order awards and modifications.
Although the Connections II portal enables agencies to issue and award task orders on their own, program officials will provide any advice or direct assistance requested by agencies, such as conducting scope reviews and arranging local support at GSA’s regional offices. Their goal is to answer questions within an hour.
“Customers can do all of their work on our website without talking to us, but we are ready to help if they need it,” Clark said. “We are trying to make the contract as easy to use as possible and not overwhelm customers with bureaucracy.”