GSA looking to switch up IT Centers of Excellence acquisition strategy

The GSA building in Washington, D.C. (Tajha Chappellet-Lanier / FedScoop)

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The General Services Administration is soliciting industry feedback on a proposal that would change the acquisition strategy of the IT Centers of Excellence initiative.

The proposed shift would see GSA issue a Blanket Purchase Agreement for the CoE’s Phase I discovery and assessment efforts, instead of the current single contract approach. The Discovery BPA would create “a pool of multiple awardees with expertise in at least three functional areas” that agencies participating in the program would be able to call on as-needed.

This, GSA says, will add a “new level of flexibility” to the project.

“The desired outcome of the Discovery BPA is to emphasize repeatability and scalability,” Bob De Luca, Executive Director of CoE, said in a statement posted to GitHub. “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.”

Per an FAQ page about the RFI, the new approach “[builds] on the lessons learned from our current efforts, using the feedback gained from the initial group of vendors we worked with, the vendors who participated in all our previous procurements, as well as our own CoE teams.”

While information about the proposed change is posted to GitHub, vendors who wish to respond must do so via eBuy. Vendors have until Feb. 8 to provide feedback.

The CoE initiative is the administration’s signature attempt at “[building] change management capacity for enterprise-level change in the federal government,” White House special assistant Matt Lira has told FedScoop. In March 2018 GSA announced the contract winners for Phase I of the project at its first host agency — the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and work began in April. USDA is now in Phase II, the implementation phase. In September, the CoE team announced that it would be setting its sights on the Department of Housing and Urban Development next — starting with a “discovery sprint.”

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Acquisition, Centers of excellence, General Services Administration (GSA), request for information (RFI), Technology Transformation Service
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