GSA

What's the buzz with GSA's $10B OASIS contract?

Many are skeptical, many optimistic about OASIS

The latest discussions of the General Services Administration’s OASIS vehicle have as much skepticism as optimism.

The skepticism came to the forefront at the strategic sourcing event on Thursday, sponsored by the Professional Services Council, the Coalition for Government Procurement, TechAmerica and ACT/IAC.

The $10 billion OASIS vehicle has been proposed by the GSA as a contract that is designed to meet agencies’ needs for professional services in areas such as management and consulting, professional consulting, professional engineering, logistics and finance, as well as ancillary support services.

One main concern about the contract was the “how” aspect; both government and contractors can agree on the idea behind OASIS, but how it can be achieve what it seeks to achieve is a whole different question.

Another concern around strategic sourcing and OASIS is its apparent likeness to Lowest Price Technically Acceptable procurement, in which the government will make acquisitions based solely on price.

At Thursday’s event, however, officials affiliated with the contract offered their thoughts.

The whole purpose behind the contract is to be more intentional in what the government buys, and how the government buys it, said Lena Trudeau, associate commissioner, Strategic Innovations at GSA.

It also is an attempt to come up with a consistent vocabulary and common language when the government is making acquisitions, said Jeff Koses, director, Office of Acquisition Operations, GSS at GSA.

Koses brought up a counterpoint, saying that some people have had concerns that OASIS is a redundant contract, but he assured the audience that it was not.

It is designed to enable complex integration across multiple areas of the government, he said.

One audience member asked how small businesses would fare in a contract like this, not seeing how they could stand a chance.

“I think it’s actually going to be better for small businesses,” said Jim Ghiloni, director of business operations at GSA/FAS/AAS at GSA. The ones that lose in the bidding will learn from their mistakes, and come back stronger.

On the other hand, the performance of small-business winners will be broadcast throughout the industry, thereby helping them gain good publicity, and more work in the future, said Ghiloni.

About the Author

Mark Hoover is a staff writer with Washington Technology. You can contact him at mhoover@washingtontechnology.com, or connect with him on Twitter at @mhooverWT.

Reader Comments

Tue, Feb 12, 2013

Dave and M Steen, look closer. First, there will be a small business version of the contract. Second, there are losers in the real world. That's life and it's not Ghiloni's fault. I am not clear where small business "leaders" get the notion that someone should guarantee them contracts? Wherever does this notion originate?

Sun, Feb 10, 2013 Prof. Samuel D. Bornstein

While GSA is developing OASIS and expects to use previous FSSI BPA practices, it is crucial that GSA consider the "FSSI History" before it implements Federal Strategic Sourcing. The "history" of FSSI is evident in the GSA FSSI program which addressed Schedule 75 Office Supplies in 2010. I have been researching the impact of this FSSI program and am concerned about the impact on small business federal contrcators. The December 5, 2012 OMB Memo on Strategic Sourcing set the tone for mandating Federal Strategic Sourcing for all Federal Government Procurement. My concern is that OASIS will follow the awarding of FSSI Blanket Purchase Agreement process which was used previously under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiatives.

At last week's meeting on OASIS, I heard that many expressed that there remained questions on how Strategic Sourcing would be employed in the OASIS initiative. At a meeting just prior to the OASIS meeting, GSA expressed that they had no intention of performing a Small Business Impact Study on an FSSI initiative in another area. If they maintain that approach to FSSI, I believe that there will be "unintended consequences" that will result from the application of Strategic Sourcing without addressing the Cost/ Benefits of this program.

On June 8, 2011, I Testified before a California Assembly Committee which was evaluating that State's Strategic Sourcing Program. As a result of the hearing, the Committee submitted Recommendations to the California DGS to submit a Small Business Impact Study which would include a Cost Benefit Analysis, before continuing with the Program. To date, the DGS has not complied and the Program remains on hold. If the State of California saw the potential for a negative outcome and recommended that a Study be performed, why not the GSA as it moves forward to mandate Federal Strategic Sourcing.

Tue, Feb 5, 2013

The travesty of the concept that "those who lose will came back stronger..." is that in the end - there is not equal oportunity to compete for those who do no have infinite funding to keep coming back 0 the ones that lose - loses real money - and the ability to compete. It affects very negatively small businesses.

Mon, Feb 4, 2013 SPMayor Summit Point, WV

Your observation that OASIS is viewed with both optimism and skepticism properly captures the current situation. For my part I am concerned that the decision to escalate OASIS to a strategic sourcing vehicle has changed the nature and complexion of the contract. Keep in mind that OASIS was initiated prior to the current SSI trend - and there are those who believe GSA either added the SSI theme to receive OMB approval of the business case or that OMB required the SSI label as a condition for approval. And, GSA's assertion that client agencies have expressed a need for such a contract has never been transparently supported - it's all verbal assertions.

Mon, Feb 4, 2013

GSA says that small business by losing will become stronger. So going out of business due to GSA cutting you off from Federal business is good for small business?

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