NIH follows up with CIO-SP 2

CIO-SP home page

The National Institutes of Health awarded the follow-on to its pioneering

Chief Information Officers Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP) contract Tuesday.

The follow-on, CIO-SP 2, is potentially worth $19.5 billion and provides

federal agencies the opportunity to outsource information technology services

and support to 48 vendors.

CIO-SP 2 was awarded to 27 large companies and 21 small, disadvantaged and

woman-owned businesses. The firms provide IT solutions in nine general categories,

including IT operations and maintenance, integration services, critical

infrastructure protection and enterprise resource planning. The awards are

indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts with 10-year performance

periods.

CIO-SP 2 will give the government access to innovative technologies it would

otherwise have missed out on, said Elmer Sembly, associate director for

communications and outreach for NIH's Office of Administration.

"We did market research in order to find what new technologies are out there

that government is not utilizing fully," he said. "We found that a lot of

small businesses are developing these technologies."

The contract's structure enables small businesses to offer niche services

while also enabling large companies to offer their wide expertise, a combination

that a lot of governmentwide acquisition contracts weren't able to accomplish

before CIO-SP was created, Sembly said.

The first CIO-SP contract, awarded in 1996 and set to expire in September

2001, was one of the first to take advantage of new contracting techniques

allowed under procurement reform, such as prequalifying vendors to bid as

prime contractors. NIH awarded CIO-SP 2 well before the initial contract

expired so that users planning multiple-year projects would know which companies

they would be able to work with after September.

CIO-SP also charged a low 1 percent user fee for agencies contracting through

it, forcing fees on other contract vehicles to drop, Sembly said.

CIO-SP 2 will charge on a sliding scale, from a maximum of 1 percent to

a minimum of 0.25 percent, depending on an agency's use of 8(a) businesses

and the dollar amount of services they buy, Sembly said. The low fees indicate

"how much business we're expecting" from the new contract, he said.

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