NITAAC Provides Fast, Government-wide Access to Latest IT Products and Services
Agencies trying to keep abreast of the latest advances in technology while also complying with White House mandates can find everything they need through NITAAC’s three government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs).
“We make sure our vehicles stay in tune and are current with administration mandates and our customers’ requirements for cybersecurity, data center consolidation, cloud computing, and other initiatives,” said Diane Frasier, Director of the NIH Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management and Head of the Contracting Activity. Frasier, who oversees all of the NIH’s acquisition, property, supply, and transportation programs, is responsible for setting the strategic direction for NIH Acquisition programs. NITAAC, the NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center, is the only federal organization that is designated as an OMB-Authorized Executive Agent for three GWACs for IT products, services and solutions.
The three NITAAC vehicles are:
CIO-SP3 for IT services and solutions. This 10-year contract, which has a $20 billion ceiling, was awarded in May 2012 to 53 companies. The contract features 137 labor categories across ten task areas that cover the entire spectrum of IT.
CIO-SP3 Small Business for IT services and solutions. This 10-year contract also has a $20 billion ceiling. In addition to 137 labor categories across ten task areas, the vehicle enables agencies to conduct task order competitions within five small business categories: Small business; 8(a); Service Disabled Veteran Owned; HUBZone; and Women Owned.
Electronic Commodities Store III (ECS III) for IT hardware, software and related services. The 10-year contract, which has a ceiling of $6 billion, has 42 Contract Holders, and is slated to expire on November 26, 2012, but NITAAC officials intend to extend the contract until a follow-on contract is awarded. The follow-on contract to ECS III, focusing on Commodity Solutions, is under development.
The NITAAC GWACs can be used by any federal civilian or Department of Defense agency to fulfill a wide range of IT requirements. ECS III delivery orders are firm fixed price, while both CIO-SP3 vehicles utilize task orders and a variety of contract types. The speed and efficiency of GWAC competition enables agencies to award in modular increments and incorporate performance-based features, as well as streamlined planning, acquisition, and deployment of large-scale IT program requirements.
Superior NITAAC Program Management
The popularity of the NITAAC contracts, which continues to grow each year, stems from a variety of factors, said Frasier, who pointed to NITAAC’s often-praised customer service, flexible contracts for incorporating emerging technology products and services, collaborative relationship with industry, and excellent program management. “We have great staff and leadership,” Frasier said.
“We know technology will change, and so the task areas are broad enough to allow the CIO-SP3 contract to evolve and expand with the technology. If something falls under the FAR [Federal Acquisition Regulation] definition of information technology, then our vendors can provide it.”
Diane Frasier, Director of the NIH Office of Acquisition and Logistics Management and Head of the Contracting Activity
One of those leaders is Mary Armstead, who is NITAAC Program Director. Armstead and her staff work closely with customers and vendors to solicit and evaluate suggestions for improving the program. They are constantly adding new services and features to the program, such as upgrades to NITAAC’s Electronic-Government Ordering System (e-GOS); and they ensure that the contracts are constantly refreshed with the latest technologies. “We can address all of the CIO’s needs for products and services for mobility, cloud computing, security, IT architecture—for everything IT,” Armstead said.
To support agency efforts to achieve their small business goals, the NITAAC office created CIO-SP3 Small Business, the only GWAC with separate contract awards in five small business categories. “Over the history of the program, we’ve always reached out to see how we can have more small businesses involved,” Frasier said. “And so we are working to make sure we have robust small business representation on the program.”
A self-sustaining organization, NITAAC uses the contract access fees charged to agencies to pay for NITAAC’s systems, services, and staff. If sales revenue generated by the fees exceeds the cost of operating the program, NITAAC invests the surplus funds in new systems and other improvements to strengthen customer service. “In the past, excess fees have also enabled NITAAC to lower its contract access rate,” Armstead said. “If our new vehicles are as successful, we hope to be able to do the same in the future.”