The $20 billion contract vehicle known as CIO-CS IDIQ makes it easy for government agencies to order IT commodities – just like its predecessor, Electronics Commodities Store (ECS) III. Yet CIO-CS IDIQ, awarded April 2015, does much more.
With an emphasis on commodity-enabling services that can be used either onsite or in the cloud, CIO-Commodities and Solutions is squarely aimed at providing agencies with limited IT budgets the IT they need to modernize their infrastructure, while keeping costs as low as possible.
Despite those lofty goals, the contract didn’t leap out of the gate. It posted just under $179 million dollars in its first year of operation, yet it has been a strong and consistent performer.
“Since CIO-CS launched, we’ve seen steady growth in terms of orders and contract awards have tripled,” says Bridget Gauer, director of the NIH IT Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC), which runs the contract. “We expect this trend to continue.”
GovTribe, a company that collects and collates government procurement data, puts the combined current value of all awarded task orders on the contract at around $1.24 billion, slightly more than 6 percent of the contract’s ceiling.
Fees are currently set at 0.35 percent of the order value, down from 0.5 percent at the beginning of the contract. Acknowledging the impact of low fees on the cost of large-scale procurements, NITAAC instituted a $70,000 fee cap to be charged for orders exceeding $20M.
The fee reduction should provide the kind of lasting value agencies look for when planning acquisitions to modernize their IT, Gauer says, adding that NITAAC doesn’t expect to change the fee structure “in the foreseeable future.”
Another inducement to use the contract is NITAAC’s Electronic Government Ordering System (e-GOS). Agencies post RFQs or other procurement opportunities on e-GOS. A numerical tag tracks orders throughout the process, all the way until final award, making it easier for customers to track procurements. Earlier systems used different tags for RFQs and awards.
For vendors, the CIO-CS process allows for a rapid turnaround of any technology updates on the contract. In the past, it took weeks or months to complete the technology review process (TRP). Now there’s a tacit maximum limit of 24 hours for turning around TRP requests.
“Unlike with other GWACs (government-wide acquisition contracts), we can make multiple TRP requests at the same time,” says a CDW·G CIO-CS program manager. “Sometimes the turnaround on those can be just minutes, though certainly within an hour for most of them.”
For small orders under $25,000, CIO-CS is a government-wide strategic source (GSS) for equipment such as laptops and desktop computers. The GSS is precompeted so agencies can procure such items via the NITAAC website without having to issue an RFQ.
CIO-CS AT A GLANCE
- Ten-year (five base, five optional) performance period, to April 30, 2025
- Program ceiling of $20 billion
- Intended for NIH users primarily, though open to other agencies
- 65 contracts awarded
- Access fee is 0.35 percent, capped at $70,000