GSA confident that EIS is on track

Mary Davie 2014

GSA's Mary Davie said the process of awarding the agency's massive EIS telecom contract is moving smoothly.

Less than a week after the General Services Administration pushed scheduled feedback on bidder proposals' for the Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) contract from late July into August, one of the agency's top managers for the massive $50 billion, 15-year telecommunications contract expressed confidence that the bidding process was moving smoothly.

"We are very close," said Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of GSA's Office of Integrated Technology Services. "Our get-back to industry will be in a couple of weeks."

She added that the EIS team was still reviewing the proposals. "There was just a lot of information to get through, and we appreciate everyone who had the interest and all of the information you submitted," she said during a wide-ranging panel discussion with other top GSA acquisition officials on Aug. 2, hosted by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.

GSA was supposed to issue deficiency reports to EIS bidders at the end of July. The reports point out issues bidders need to address in their proposals so they can submit the best possible final bids.

At the AFFIRM event, Davie said she is confident the EIS contract will provide several significant improvements over the previous Networx contract. "One of those is security," she said. "We really focused on security for obvious reasons, but also just the ability [of agencies] to get the kinds of solutions over the life of that contract."

Shifting agencies from Networx in three years is the next aggressive goal for EIS, she added.

The shift to Networx took six years, but Davie said much more work has been done this time around to prepare agencies to migrate to EIS.

"We've been preparing for this shortened time frame," she said. "That means it's on [U.S. CIO] Tony Scott's radar. We worked with the budget side of [the Office of Management and Budget] to say, 'Hey, these agencies are going to need more money. They're going to be requesting money from you for this transition, so don't be surprised.'"

In her new role as IT category manager at GSA, Davie now regularly briefs the CIO Council -- an interaction that she said allows her to "keep EIS on their radar."

She said transition preparations must go beyond agencies to include service providers, and industry should be able to handle task orders quickly.

"We're going to move fast," she said, adding that general service-level agreements and other measures can help speed up the task-order process. "We need people to be able to respond."

Davie said GSA officials are considering putting Networx-to-EIS transition planning on the agency's Interact site to facilitate planning. The portal has proven vital to promoting industry and agency interaction on important contracts and could also aid in post-award collaboration, she added.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

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, 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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