VA Awards Sole Source Contract to Upgrade, Automate Its COVID-19 Visualization Tool

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Contracting officials justified the $1.5 million award by citing a $6 million price tag to fully replace the tool.

The Veterans Affairs Department is using a specific data visualization tool in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and recently awarded a $1.5 million sole source contract to upgrade and automate the software.

VA awarded a contract to Four Points Technology through NASA’s governmentwide acquisition contract Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement, or SEWP, to acquire, integrate and maintain the latest version of Edge Technologies’ visualization tools.

While VA already uses Edge Technologies’ software to visualize patient data, the current tools rely on outdated Adobe Flash players with security holes, among other issues. Under the new contract, VA will be upgrading to the EdgeCore tool, which is based on HTML5 and comes with a host of other improvements.

“This acquisition will provide additional visualization and integration capabilities, eliminate security vulnerabilities related to Adobe Flash used in the current version, enhance 508 Disability Compliance, and provide new robotic process automation features,” according to the award announcement.

Contracting officers looked at several other potential products, including Microsoft BI, Splunk, Qlikview and Elastic’s Kibana, but none would be able to slot in without significant changes to VA’s systems.

“Only Edge Core provides the capability to … automatically and seamlessly upgrade existing Edge Technologies dashboards, while also providing enhanced 508 Compliance and security features,” contracting officials wrote in the sole source justification. “Due to the proprietary nature of the software, other brands cannot access or use the dashboards created by Edge Technologies products and, therefore, the dashboards would need to be completely rebuilt if other products were used.”

Officials estimated the cost of completely replacing the dashboard at $6 million, plus “several thousand hours of engineering and conversion work.”

The justification also lauds the EdgeCore platform for being data agnostic and able to “display real time, live visualizations of data from other products as if it were the native, original product dashboard.”

“No other product could be substituted,” officials said.

The contract will run for one year, with two one-year option periods for ongoing maintenance.