Contracting

GWACs pull in billions on IT orders as fiscal year winds down

 

As the federal buying season reaches toward its end-of-fiscal-year crescendo on Sept. 30, government-wide contracts overseen by the National Institutes of Health and NASA are ringing up billions in sales.

NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) is closing in on a record for annual orders, according to its director. “We’ll have just under $5 billion” in orders at the close of fiscal 2015, NITAAC Director Rob Coen said in an interview with FCW. “That’s the highest ever.”

NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP), Program Manager Joanne Woytek told FCW in an email that the past year has also been successful for her operation.

SEWP V, the fifth iteration of the GWAC, is on track to bring in $3 billion in orders for the year, according to Woytek, which was about what was expected for the newly inaugurated edition. She expects major growth in fiscal 2016 as her team finishes transitioning contracts over to SEWP V. She said 138 of the 147 SEWP V contract holders received at least one order since the vehicle’s May launch. 

NITAAC also rolled out a new vehicle this past spring, the Chief Information Officer-Commodity Solutions (CIO-CS) contracting vehicle, which replaces ECS III, one of the three GWACs NITAAC manages.

GSA’s GWACs are closing in on $4.5 billion in contract awards for fiscal 2015, according to the agency’s GWAC portal. That’s just under fiscal 2014’s $5 billion total, but still well above fiscal 2013’s $3.5 billion.

“I think the GWACs have done a better job recently in explaining the benefit for CIO’s and other IT and acquisition planners in using already existing, well-established contracts like the GWACs to reduce their acquisition costs and time while providing more insight and control over their agency purchases,” she said.

Coen said other GWACs, including SEWP V and the GSA’s Alliant and STARs, aren’t competing for the same pools of federal business, even though there is some overlap among their markets.

Coen contends there is enough demand to support GWACs across the federal government as budgets for trained IT staff and support have tightened. NITAAC, SEWP and GSA GWACs, he said, “play off each other,” covering some of the same federal IT acquisition territory, but with emphasis on different areas. NITAAC’s CIO-CS, for instance, provides pre-competed contracts for IT products and services, especially those used by health agencies.

NITAAC has been offering assisted acquisition consulting services for civilian agencies for about a year, said Coen. The program acts as an IT consultant for the customer, from initial market research through the contract’s completion. On Oct.1, Coen said NITAAC will expand the assisted acquisition services into the Department of Defense. “It’s a natural move,” he said.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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Reader comments

Fri, Sep 25, 2015 Jarvid Mischboozta Alam

Now we can see the real importance of having the national space agency in the business of doing contracting for so many other agencies. Especially when it only has about 7500 Federal employees itself. It is a heroic and necessary job, but not as important as the Internatzional Space Statione.

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