October 14, 2011 by cs
February 20, 2011 by cs
We’re very excited about the Small Business Speed Partnering event in Albany on Tuesday, and we hope you’re excited, too!
As a reminder, the event is being held at the Albany Civic Center and begins with coffee and informal networking at 8:00 am. The program begins at 9:00 am sharp.
If you haven’t already pre-registered, please do by going to http://tinyurl.com/4dvxlxj and then hitting the “Sign Up” button.
You can see an advance copy of the agenda at:
When you look at the agenda, you’ll see that there are two blocks of time during which you will be able to meet one-on-one with buyers representing any of 11 different government agencies. (Marine Corps Logistics Command (MCLC) Albany; Georgia Department of Administrative Services (GSA); US Treasury Department, IRS; US Department of Interior, National Park Service; Georgia Department of Administrative Services (DOAS); University System of Georgia; Georgia Department of Corrections; Dougherty County; SW Georgia Regional Airport; City of Albany Procurement Division; and Sumter Youth Juvenile Justice.) The “speed partnering” times are at 10:00 to 11:00 and 1:45 to 2:45. You’ll have 15-minutes to have these meetings, so give some thought now to which agencies you’d liek to meet with.
To prepare for a speed partnering session, we recommend two things: 1) Bring copies of a short “capabilities statement” with you to hand-out, and 2) Be prepared to state exactly what you do and why you’re an expert at it (this is known as an “elevator speech.”
To help you prepare to do these two things, here are two short articles you can read:
We’re also conducting great workshops during the event. Plan to attend these during the course of the day:
- Business Communications, Elevator Pitches and Capability Statements
- Reading and Responding to Bid Solicitations
- The Do’s and Don’ts of Government Contracting
- Conducting Government Market Research
- SBA’s New Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) Program
And, of course, you won’t want to miss addresses by Meredith Lilly, a Presidential-appointee and special assistant to the GSA regional administrator, as well as Patricia Hanes, Regional Director of the Atlanta National Enterprise Center, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), U.S. Department of Commerce. They will be providing tips for greater success in both the government and commercial markets.
We think you’ll agree — the Albany Civic Center is THE PLACE TO BE on Tuesday, Feb. 22. Plan to arrive at 8:00 am if you can to receive all the benefits of the day!
November 20, 2010 by cs
GSA Schedule contracts can be a ticket to do business with federal agencies — if you qualify, prepare a good proposal, and are prepared to market yourself.
Don’t pay thousands of dollars to learn about GSA Schedules. (There really are seminars that charge that much!)
Instead, take advantage of the free class being offered on this topic by Georgia Tech in conjunction with the City of Albany’s Small Business Procurement Program.
Join us on May 11, 2011 for a comprehensive workshop on what a GSA Schedule contract is, and how you may qualify.
To find out about the exact time, location, and to register, just click here.
October 4, 2010 by cs
Looking for help with the GSA Schedule process before the next class is available through the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC)?
Now, GSA Schedules training is being offered by GSA on-line. The webinar-format training will be offered in both Novemeber and December 2010.
GSA’s free webinars are designed to support small businesses interested in obtaining a GSA Multiple Award Schedules contract. You must pre-register for the GSA webinar.
- Register for the Nov. 15 webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/670264562.
- Register for the Dec. 13 webinar at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/913141458.
If you have questions regarding these webinars, please contact Christy Jackiewicz by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at (202) 219-0396.
October 3, 2010 by cs
The Office of Small Business Utilization of the General Services Administration (GSA) is conducting a free one-hour webinar on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010 to explain the agency’s Mentor-Protégé Program.
The webinar provides both potential mentors and protégés with a general overview of GSA’s Mentor-Protégé Program as well as a review of the policies and procedures for participation.
You must REGISTER for this webinar in advance. If you have questions regarding this webinar, please contact Anthony “Tony” Eiland by email at email@example.com or by telephone at (202) 208-0257.
October 3, 2010 by cs
The White House has created an interagency working group to stop counterfeit goods from entering the supply chains that support Defense Department weapons systems and private sector electronic goods, the nation’s first intellectual property czar said on Tuesday.
“The implications of DoD procuring counterfeit goods are negative and obvious,” said Victoria Espinel, the U.S. intellectual property enforcement coordinator at the Office of Management and Budget. “Our understanding is that this is a problem that a number of our agencies are struggling with.”
Espinel made her comments at an event hosted by the nonpartisan Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, before the start of a panel discussion on strengthening enforcement of IP rights in countries that systematically extort intellectual property. Congress created the IP coordinator position in 2008, to respond to concerns that government agencies responsible for protecting intellectual property were not coordinating.
This summer, the White House issued a joint strategic plan to combat IP theft that called for establishing a governmentwide working group to study how to reduce the risk of agencies procuring counterfeit parts. The framework stated the task force should include representatives from the National Security Council, Defense, NASA, General Services Administration, Commerce Department, Small Business Administration and Homeland Security Department.
A January 2010 Commerce survey found that nearly 40 percent of entities across the procurement supply chain discovered counterfeit electronics between 2005 and 2008. The semiconductor industry has aired concerns that counterfeit chips mislabeled as military-grade can lead to fatal malfunction in military and aerospace parts, according to the White House’s strategic plan.
On Tuesday, Espinel observed the IP problem is one issue where there is consensus in Congress. “I feel very lucky to be working in an area where there is great bipartisan support,” she said. Democratic Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Sherrod Brown of Ohio in an Aug. 6 letter to Ashton B. Carter, undersecretary of Defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, expressed fear about the potential for counterfeit parts to delay military missions and seriously affect the integrity of weapons systems.
The senators’ letter referenced the Commerce study and a March Government Accountability Office report that found Defense did not have specific procedures for detecting and preventing counterfeit parts from infiltrating the supply chain.
China, the country most frequently identified as the source of counterfeit items, should be treated with “a carrot-and-stick approach,” Espinel said. “China is both an economically sensitive issue and a political sensitive issue.”
September 30, 2010 by cs
When Clint Boulton wrote about the competition for the cloud services proposals that have gone to the General Services Administration, he correctly pointed out that Google, IBM and Microsoft all have products that are essentially similar.
The three companies are proposing to provide Web mail and other office applications in a cloud-based environment. All of them will cost about the same, and all will provide federal workers pretty much the same thing. But that doesn’t mean that these companies have an equal chance of winning. It doesn’t even mean that any of them will win.
The GSA has great latitude in awarding contracts, and the companies have great latitude in what they propose to deliver. In addition, it’s a certainty that whoever eventually does win the contract award will find the decision being appealed. So any move to cloud services will happen only when something final comes out of the process. But there’s no guarantee that the end result will resemble the initial proposals.
First, it’s important to remember that federal government contracting is rife with rules that attempt to make sure that the government gets the best overall deal, that no unfair practices are taking place and that a number of Congressionally mandated requirements are met. Second, it’s not unusual for the GSA to ask for modifications to a proposal to reflect changes in technology, the products in question or to meet emerging requirements that weren’t in the original RFP.
It’s also not unusual for one-time competitors to decide to team up to win a contract so they can provide a capability at a price that no one else can offer. And, of course, it’s possible that the GSA will decide that all of the proposals are deficient, and not award the contract to anyone. All of these things happen routinely in government contracting.
In the case of IT contracts, there’s a big advantage in being the incumbent contractor providing a service. You already know exactly what’s going on; you already know the people awarding the contract; and you know exactly how you’ll do the migration. Because of this, you might be able to propose a solution that has the best credibility. It also helps a lot if you have long experience in crafting winning proposals. You know exactly how to present your products and solutions so that they meet the requirements, stated and implied, of the procurement.
If there’s one company that leads in this group, it’s IBM. Despite the fact that IBM is primarily a computer hardware, software and services vendor, this company is good enough at federal contracting that it’s won systems integration contracts for everything from helicopters to spacecraft. The fact that IBM is also the incumbent, that federal employees are already used to IBM’s Lotus product line, and that IBM should have the easiest time in migrating existing Lotus users to Lotus-in-the-cloud won’t be lost on the people evaluating the proposal.
But that doesn’t mean that IBM will have an automatic win. The GSA does pay attention to the proposed cost, and if a company proposes a credible solution that’s significantly more cost effective than the company with what might be seen as the best technical solution, they might win anyway. As unlikely as it may seem, the GSA really does try to keep a tight hand on the purse strings, and has been known to be flexible about technical requirements if it will substantially lower the price.
But to win, the proposed solution will have to be credible. IBM probably can demonstrate that it can meet the government’s needs in terms of responsiveness, security (even if this product isn’t yet FISMA certified) and the ability to meet the needs of very large organizations. Microsoft, which has a long history in government contracting, although not as long as IBM which won its first government contract in the 19th century, can point to vast installations of desktop, server and Web software throughout the government. But Google might have problems in this area. In addition, all of those Gmail outages, the occasional security breach and the Google cloud’s growing pains could give the government evaluators pause.
Or they might not. Google might be able to convince the GSA that it can deliver everything the federal government wants, and the GSA might be in a mood to take a break from IBM and Microsoft. But whatever solution gets chosen will have to be justified, and that’s where we’ll see exactly what made the difference. And then if anyone is still paying attention, we’ll learn more during the appeals. Or we might not.
The only thing you can really count on with the GSA cloud services contract is that it won’t really be over at the end of September. There’s no assurance that whatever company gets the win will really be the winner. There may not even be one winner or even a winner at all. The arbiter of what’s best for the government is the GSA, and ultimately they’ll decide using their own criteria what’s best for the federal government. Unless, of course, Congress gets involved.
– by Wayne Rash – eWeek – Sept. 23, 2010
September 7, 2010 by cs
Some agency officials say they are following a well thought-out approach to spending what’s left in their fiscal-year information technology budgets — a game plan that defies the myth that departments rush to spend funds before they become unavailable after Sept. 30.
The phenomenon of the year-end spending sprees first came to light in 1980, when the Senate Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management issued a report that found the hurry to obligate expiring funds before the end of the fiscal year often led to a lack of competition, inadequately negotiated contracts and the purchase of low-priority items.
In a 1998 follow-up to that study, the Government Accountability Office concluded agencies’ spending patterns were hard to assess because quarterly budget data, which could show a spike in fourth-quarter spending, was unreliable. Since then, federal auditors haven’t evaluated the issue much, and information on last-minute expenditures can be hard to obtain, according to some academic researchers.
Ramji Balakrishnan, an accounting professor at the University of Iowa who co-wrote a 2007 report on the subject, recently told Federal News Radio that he was able to access figures on year-end spending at U.S. Army hospitals largely because his co-author, a veteran, had contacts inside the military. According to the paper, which was published in the Journal of Management Accounting Research, administrators stockpiled supplies toward the end of a fiscal year, but then saved more money than they spent during the year-end splurge at the start of the next fiscal year.
A trend of precalculated buying seems to be occurring at several agencies with large IT budgets, including the General Services Administration and Veterans Affairs Administration, according to government officials.
In April, Administrator Martha Johnson directed GSA’s chief information officer, Casey Coleman, to complete five high-priority IT projects within 18 months — a feat that Coleman said the agency finished in 10 weeks. The agency’s IT budget for fiscal 2010 is $605.9 million. By quickly wrapping up the projects, which included boosting the capacity of GSA’s networks and adding remote private networks for teleworkers, Coleman was able to focus late-year spending on supplemental purchases for the agency’s increasingly mobile workforce, she said.
“By doing that we really set the foundation for IT modernization for the agency,” Coleman said in an interview with Nextgov. “Now we are in Phase 2 of our modernization program.”
Phase 2 involves purchasing green products. Johnson this summer challenged GSA to eliminate the federal government’s adverse effects on the environment, what’s known as creating “a zero environmental footprint.”
The agency plans to spend its IT money in September on products and services that support the zero e-emissions goal, Coleman said. GSA will invest in videoconferencing equipment; shared printing workstations to replace individual desktop printers, which are rarely used; and a cloud computing tool for e-mail, scheduling and other interoffice communications. Cloud computing is an arrangement that provides online access to hardware and software, eliminating the need to rely on energy-hungry, in-house data centers for IT services.
A contract for cloud services is expected to be awarded in October using fiscal 2010 money earmarked for spending in September.
GSA was unable to provide information on remaining money the agency returned to the treasury at the end of the last fiscal year.
The thinking is that GSA, as the nation’s biggest storefront, can expand the green IT market governmentwide — and perhaps nationwide — by purchasing environmentally responsible goods. Experimenting at the departmental level also might enable GSA to eventually offer governmentwide, eco-friendly IT contracting vehicles, agency officials said.
Veterans Affairs, which has a $3.3 billion IT budget, will spend its remaining fiscal 2011 funds on rolling out systems that can quickly exchange patient records via the Web, VA officials said. Such expenditures should increase access to health care, including mental health services, they added. September money also will support upgrades to benefits delivery systems and the department’s IT infrastructure.
At the end of fiscal 2009, Veterans Affairs let $462,000 in IT-related funding lapse, or become unavailable for new purchases.
In the past, officials at the Environmental Protection Agency spent all of their IT money by the end of the year, but only after careful planning, they said. Last year, EPA did not return any IT-related funding to the treasury. The agency’s enacted IT budget for fiscal 2010 is $465 million.
A significant portion of EPA’s technology infrastructure spending is managed under a business model that quantifies IT needs at the beginning of each fiscal year, officials said. “This process promotes spending that is thought-out and forecasted, and minimizes a potential end-of year spending surge,” EPA spokeswoman Latisha Petteway said.
– By Aliya Sternstein – NextGov.com - 08/26/2010