Agencies Increasingly Need Help With Complex Professional Services Contracts


Move over IT, you’re not the only complicated procurement anymore.

General Services Administration contracting officers are seeing a shift in big, complicated procurements as more agencies come to the shop looking for professional services rather than IT.

Overall, the Office of Assisted Acquisition Services—which helps other agencies that either don’t have a procurement shop or don’t have the expertise to manage large, complex buys—has seen double-digit growth over that last two years and is expecting to do so again over the next two years, Tom Howder, assistant commissioner for Assisted Acquisition Services, said at ACT-IAC’s Federal Insights Exchange on Feb. 22.

Part of that growth has been due to the addition of professional services as an area of expertise. That area is now outpacing IT in growth.

“We started out in the IT world … and expanded into professional services a few years ago,” Howder said. “Where we’re really seeing the growth now is on the professional services side.”

Requests for help with IT buys continue to rise, just not at the rate professional services is growing, he said.

As the office that helps other offices with complex procurements, the Assisted Acquisition shop can be viewed as a microcosm of the federal acquisition landscape. This will become more apparent as agencies come with procurements to meet core mission needs.

“We’ve also noticed the trend that our clients are having us conduct acquisitions that are not really on the periphery of their missions but directly within their missions now,” Howder said. “The size and scale and complexity—and the revenue associated with that—are all increasing as we move closer to the missions of our clients.”