Feds Satiate Hunger for SEWP
Technological innovation has soared since NASA’s Solutions for Enterprisewide Procurement (SEWP) revolutionized the way federal agencies acquire information technology. Yet in 1993, the year SEWP became the first governmentwide acquisition contract (GWAC), the tech revolution was still using training wheels: the Mosaic browser was released that year; the administration of then-President Bill Clinton put the White House online and started the .gov domain; and future Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg turned 9.
Today, cloud-based services are easily accessible, live streaming is fast becoming ubiquitous, and artificial intelligence applications are entering the mainstream. SEWP has changed, as well. Throughout the contract’s five iterations, it has continued to expand, adding products, services and customers. Yet the twin pillars of its foundation endure: a commitment to working closely with partners across industry and government; and ensuring that “ease of use” informs the experience of SEWP’s customers.“With each iteration we get a little bit better and include more things,” said Theresa Kinney, SEWP’s
deputy program manager. “We’re trying to make this easy for both our contract holders as well as the federal government to use.”
With more than 140 pre-competed prime contract holders, the program offers IT products such as tablets, security tools and audio/visual equipment. There are also product- based services, including installation, training and maintenance. Because SEWP vets those products and services, agencies are secure in the knowledge that vendors have met the contract’s rigorous standards.
SEWP charges the lowest surcharge, at 0.375 percent, of any GWAC and fulfills requests at Amazon-like speed. A day is the time needed to add new products and respond to customer-service inquiries.
SEWP V excels at providing customers with actionable business information. In May 2018, it added
a “delivery program performance” rating column to its program performance page, ensuring that contract holders get accurate lead times when quoting against the SEWP contracts. The office recently added a webpage dedicated to Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program-compliant products.
“If you did a survey today and asked, ‘What is the main reason people use SEWP?’ they would tell
you the ease of use and the tools,” Kinney said. “We’ve constantly improved customer service to constantly keep up with the demand and fulfill the needs of our customers, and that still remains the one most important factor in this office.”
SEWP stands out from other contract vehicles in three main ways, says Jeff Trent, vice president of federal government sales at GovConnection, Inc., doing business as Connection (GovConnection). GovConnection is a global IT solutions provider. First, its robust website has clear guidance for customers and a real-time, complete listing of offerings.
“Also, SEWP is very flexible in terms of what products can be added to contract, while also being very concerned about making
sure that the offered products are clearly marked with all of the things that federal customers need, such as country of origin, [Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool] compliance and Energy Star compliance, to name a few,” Trent says. “Additionally, contract holders must disclose their [original equipment manufacturer] authorizations, which enhances supply-chain integrity.”
The program office recognizes its role beyond providing a large catalog of products and services. Besides boosting supply-chain security,
it’s helping agencies comply with requirements and serving as a data source to assist decision-makers.
“The growth for SEWP is just going to continue,” Kinney said. “We’re just trying to help out everybody as best that we can.”