Inside the Reporter's Notebook: Shining a light on GSA contract awards; Congress continues battle over E-Gov Fund

Friday - 8/2/2013, 1:34pm EDT

"Inside the Reporter's Notebook," is a bi-weekly dispatch of news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and the like.

This is not a column nor commentary — it's news tidbits, strongly sourced buzz and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.

As always, I encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions, and, of course, news to me at

The General Services Administration awarded a bunch of contracts recently that fell under most people's radars.

GSA created some buzz back in December with a solicitation for CXO consolidation support. After several rescopings of the work, GSA finally chose Ernst and Young under a $4.6 million deal over three years.

E&Y will focus mainly on the administrative services and human resources consolidation with some work in the technology and financial management areas.

Industry sources say GSA removed most of the IT and financial management work during the modifications to the RFQ.

"The consolidation is part of GSA's efforts to better align the agency by cutting redundancies, overhead and increase efficiency," a GSA spokeswoman said by email.

The agency also is going down a familiar road in hiring IBM to create a new system. GSA hired Big Blue under a five-year, $30.6 million deal to develop internal order management services.

Some in industry question why GSA is again hiring IBM after the company struggled so greatly with the System for Award Management (SAM). The consolidation of procurement systems has been on a better track of late, but it suffered technical and cyber issues over the last year, and has come under criticism from Congress.

Under the contract, IBM will facilitate the transformation of GSA's Supply business line and streamline the processing of customer orders, a spokeswoman said.

"The result will be a single, cloud-based solution that increases the efficiency of GSA order processing and improved visibility of all transactions for both GSA employees and its varied customer base worldwide," she said. "Due to significant competition, the contractor offered considerable discounts and the ultimate award resulted in significant savings compared to the independent government estimate."

GSA anticipates several benefits, including the ability to track and manage supplier performance to ensure delivery requirements are met and a real-time look into order status, receipt, validation, inventory levels and other items to help make better decisions.

The spokeswoman said the contract is part of a multi-year supply transformation initiative to make GSA's supply chain must be flexible and agile.

GSA awarded a third contract recently that igarnered a lot of interest initially and then many people in the community asked, "What's the deal?"

Well in June, GSA awarded 15 companies a spot on the performance management and continuous process improvement blanket purchase agreement that could be worth $60 million over five years. GSA initially released the RFP in September 2011 in an effort to help agencies comply with the Government Performance and Results Management Act Modernization Act, signed into law in February 2011.

But over the course of the next year, little happened — leaving many in industry to wonder if GSA decided to change direction.

But with the BPA award in June, vendors will provide an assortment of services including strategic planning and performance management, strategic business analysis, process and performance improvement, communications and change management, and training, certification and recognition.

"Government is in need of process and performance management services more than ever," said Grant Thornton global public sector managing principal Srikant Sastry in a release. "This vehicle provides an excellent opportunity for federal agencies to get the best practices and insights of the most qualified" companies.

Grant Thornton is joined by a host of small and large businesses in under the BPA including Booz Allen Hamilton, Accenture, Sapient, Plexus Scientific Corp. and many others.

And finally, from the "could it be true?" category. GSA's Mary Davie, the assistant commissioner for the Office of Integrated Technology Services in the Federal Acquisition Service said recently the transition to the Networx telecommunications contract is 100 percent done.

When asked for more details, a GSA spokeswoman said, "The FTS contract is closed and there are no agencies operating under that contract anymore. All services have been moved under the Networx contract."

My first reaction was, of course, wow, finally. GSA set and moved final, drop-dead deadlines several times over the last five years, but the arduous move to Networx is complete.