Networx transition still slow

The General Services Administration awarded Networx more than a year ago, but agencies are only slowly moving services from the expiring FTS 2001 contracts and onto the new vehicles. One reason for the sluggish pace is the complexity of the contract’s fair opportunity requirements, said Lori DeVenge, telecommunications manager for the Homeland Security Department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.

“One of our first shockers was when we started to learn about the whole fair opportunity process,” she said. “Fair opportunity took people aback.”

She spoke as a panel member at "Connecting the Dots," a day-long conference co-produced by the 1105 Government Information Group and the Topside Consulting Group, held May 13.

Fair opportunity essentially means that agencies must allow all the companies on the chosen Networx contract — Networx Universal or Networx Enterprise — a chance to compete for every significant task order agencies place.

There are tools available to make the transition process easier, said Gary Wall, Networx transition manager at the Health and Human Services department. GSA has opened a Networx Transition Center to provide aid, and an online pricing tool to enable agencies to look up prices the competing contract holders have set, among other helpful resources.

“There are a lot of tools out there,” he said. “It’s time for us to take those tools and use them.”

The pricer tool, which allows agencies to look up both current prices and price changes over the 10-year life of the Networx contracts, is especially useful for small agencies, Wall said. It allows comparison of scenarios that agencies might consider before settling on choices. However, he noted that price is, for many agencies, not the only factor to consider.

“In my agency, we’re going for a best-value decision,” he said. “It’s not based just on price.”

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.


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