GSA Wants On-Call Vendors for the Centers of Excellence

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The agency is asking for feedback on a new contracting vehicle for the program.

The General Services Administration wants industry to weigh in on a proposed policy change that would create a pool of on-call contractors for the Centers of Excellence program.

The proposed blanket purchase agreement would enable GSA to build a roster of vendors that could be quickly tapped to assist agencies in planning IT modernization projects. The agency would choose vendors with expertise in at least three of the program’s functional areas to serve for a three-year performance period, officials said Thursday in a blog post.

Launched in December 2017, the Centers of Excellence program brings together tech experts from industry and government to help agencies overhaul outdated IT systems. The new contracting vehicle would cover only the first phase of the program, during which agencies spend roughly six months strategizing their modernization efforts. In phase two, agencies recruit another set of contractors to implement those solutions.

The vehicle would replace GSA’s current approach to phase one, which uses a single contract to cover every vendor. Under the new system, participating agencies could call on new contractors to chip in on an as-needed basis, bringing more flexibility and speed to the process.  

“The desired outcome of the Discovery BPA is to emphasize repeatability and scalability,” Bob De Luca, the program’s executive director, said in the post. “We want to give every agency that works with CoEs access to private sector partners who can provide the expertise and technological know-how successfully implement IT modernization agency-wide. It will also serve to reduce the total cost associated with the CoE efforts.”

Vendors have until Feb. 8 to submit feedback on the proposal.

The CoE program has shown promising results at agencies that often lack the resources for major IT upgrades. The Agriculture Department, the program’s pilot agency, saved some $26 million through the first phase alone, and the second iteration of the program is already underway at the Housing and Urban Development Department.

GSA expects to launch a new CoE agency every six months, meaning the next announcement could come sometime in late April.