We’ve all heard state and local agencies and their vendors grumbling about the RFP procurement process. Agencies spend countless time and dollars on requirements gathering, RFP writing, and proposal reviewing. Vendors do the same on lead generation services, proposal writing, and travel and preparation for shortlist meetings.
This work and expense comes with no guarantees. Sometimes vendors win, sometimes they lose. Sometimes agencies find the right vendor, sometimes they don’t.
The State of Nevada estimates their costs for the Request for Proposal process range from $11,000 for a standard RFP, to $34,000 for more complex projects. And this is just staff and evaluation committee time, excluding travel and operating expenses. The same is true for vendors. Our estimated staff costs for preparing a proposal range from $6,000 to $9,000, excluding benefits, operating, and travel expenses.
However, there is an alternative that may apply in some cases: the GSA IT 70 Schedule. And it’s one we’re celebrating, as GovWebworks was just awarded a contract.
Meet the GSA
In 1949, the General Services Administration (GSA) was established by President Truman and former President Herbert Hoover to support the basic functioning of federal agencies. It also assists with government procurement via the GSA Schedules, which agencies use to buy goods and services.
“The technical definition of a GSA Schedule Contract is a government–wide, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) contract,” states the GSA website.
Although the GSA Schedules were created for federal agencies, some schedules also permit state and local government entities and educational institutions to purchase IT products through the Cooperative Purchasing Program, as defined under 40 U.S.C. § 502(c).
IT products and services are covered by the GSA Information Technology Supply Schedule, otherwise known as IT 70. This federally administered contract vehicle enables rapid, convenient, streamlined purchasing by governmental entities, including but not limited to most branches of state and local government.
Under GSA IT 70, a broad and relatively unrestricted scope of software and web development services can be delivered on either a “time and materials“ or “firm fixed price” basis.
The services that our company covers include:
- Custom system development and integration
- Website development and enhancement
- Legacy infrastructure modernization
- Implementation of our off-the-shelf solutions
Benefits of the GSA
“There’s a peace of mind that GSA customers can enjoy knowing they are getting the very best rates available,” explains GovWebworks president and founder, Justin Davis.
This is because when any agency (state or federal) chooses to use the GSA, they are contractually guaranteed to enjoy the very best rates that a GSA vendor offers to their entire customer base. GSA pricing is also evaluated for fairness and reasonableness to assure awarded rates are in line with the (already very aggressive) rates of the industry as a whole. This fact, along with avoiding the costs associated with the RFP process, can result in a financial win for agencies using the GSA.
“The fact that GSA Schedule negotiations take into consideration Most Favored Customer (MFC) arrangements, with the aim of assuring that the government is receiving the deepest and most advantageous discount imaginable, means that resulting contract pricing represents huge potential benefit to any customer,” Davis says. “This can be especially valuable to smaller agencies who have less buying power than the federal government.”
Furthermore, in scenarios where competitive procurement might be necessary, use of the GSA Schedule ensures that the process can be oriented towards a more select community. Selecting from a group of qualified, federally accepted contractors with compelling, highly responsible, pre-vetted performance backgrounds can reduce risk. Eliminating many common contracting hassles, the basic, pre-negotiated terms include the option to incorporate custom clauses and specifications as needed.
“The GSA IT 70 contract award is a big deal,” says Tom Lovering, Director of Client Engagement at GovWebworks. “Not only does it pave the way for delivering our services to the federal market, but it provides another way for state partners to procure from us. Due to the rigorous contractor vetting process the GSA applies, states can feel confident about our technical expertise, and be assured that our rates are reasonable and highly competitive.”
Procuring off the GSA Schedule
For states that wish to use the GSA IT 70 Schedule, initiating an order is relatively easy. GSA purchases are coordinated with the selected vendor directly, without federal involvement or additional administrative overhead.
Agencies should confirm with their procurement office that they can use the GSA Schedule. Currently, nearly 30 states have internally authorized GSA Schedules. These states can either contact us directly to arrange immediate purchase, or execute a competitive bid in accordance with state policies.
Portland Webworks/GovWebworks Contract: 47QTCA19D00GW
SIN 132-51 (Professional Services)
Price List: www.govwebworks.com/contracts/GSA_IT70