The Networx Transition Checklist

Accelerating the Networx Transition
The Networx Transition Checklist
(Online Bonus Feature)

By Beth Aluise

Since it’s clear that federal agencies will have to transition to Networx, what are some of the elements they must have in place to get it done successfully?  “Having dedicated funding is one thing,” Gartner Vice President Rishi Sood told 1105 Government Information Group Custom Media. “Setting aside money to support that transition over and above what their baseline is - or something that’s directly appropriated on top of what they’re getting for fiscal 2011.  I think that’s most important.”

Second, agencies must be prepared to put some teeth behind the compliance issues associated with Trusted Internet Connections (TIC) and other mandates. “It takes rolling up your sleeves to make sure that you’re getting the right amount of lines, to understand what the cost advantage is or what the safety/disaster recovery issues need to be once you’re transitioning voice lines, for example,” Sood continued.  “That’s just some of the hard work that needs to be done.”

Although the recent deadline extensions give federal agencies a little relief, time continues to be a scarce commodity in the transition, because when the bridge contracts end, something has to be in place to keep the phones (and other services) turned on.

Karl Krumbholz, deputy assistant commissioner of network services at GSA, appears optimistic that agencies will be able to complete the task.  “[O]nce the orders are in, implementation of the orders can be a combination of activities both by the agencies and by the carriers themselves,” he told Washington Technology. “In an actual physical transition, it requires coordination from the old carrier, the new carrier and the agency all working together to make that happen.”

Transition Planning Checklist
Transitioning to Networx is no easy job, but careful planning is necessary if agencies are to minimize the impact on their services, bring new services up more quickly and reduce costs.  GSA believes that perhaps the biggest benefit smart planning can deliver is making sure that an agency completes its transition to Networx before the FTS2001 and Crossover contracts expire.  Here’s what agencies need to do to succeed:

• Identify Key Personnel.  You need to identify the key people in your agency who will be point persons for the Networx transition.  These people include the Designated Agency Representative (DAR), the DAR Administrator and the transition managers. 

• Validate FTS2001 Inventory.  You need to know where you are before you can get where you’re going.  That’s why performing an FTS2001 baseline inventory is so important.  It ensures that your agency has a comprehensive understanding of the services that must be disconnected. It also provides information on planning for the initial growth of services on Networx. GSA’s Transition Baseline Inventory (TBI) is available to help agencies develop an accurate baseline inventory via the Monthly Online Records and Reports of Information Technology Services (MORRIS).  It identifies services that must be transitioned and disconnected from FTS2001 contracts; provides a baseline for consistently measuring transition progress across all agencies, contractors, and services; provides input to the Networx Pricer; enables transaction tracking through the Networx Transition Information Portal and supports the transition reimbursement process.

• Develop Requirements.  Your agency should conduct a full analysis of its current inventory of telecom services and project its future operational requirements.  These steps will drive your requirements by determining how Networx service offerings can best meet your agency’s needs.  Then, your agency can select a vendor through the Fair Opportunity (FO) process to meet those requirements. The Steps for Requirements Development outlined in the Networx FO and SOW (Statement of Work) Guide include: determining requirements, documenting requirements and service groups, performing market research, determining acquisition, determining the process type and determining the SOW development options.  You may discover that your agency is best served by using both the Universal and Enterprise acquisitions.  For example, an agency requiring call center services may wish to use the Enterprise contract to meet those needs while using the Universal contract for information transport services, such as frame relay.

• Conduct Fair Opportunity.  Fair Opportunity (FO) for Networx involves using the above requirements, analysis and selection criteria to select one or more Networx Service Providers to meet your agency’s specific requirements. There are two processes from which your agency can choose: the Standard Process and the Statement of Work (SOW) process.  The Standard Process is used when an agency exercises the established fixed-price Contract Line Item Numbers (CLINs) in the Networx contracts.  The Statement of Work (SOW) Process is used when agencies have unique requirements for which there are not established CLINs in the Networx contracts.  The bottom line is that FO enables the agency to select the Networx contractor best suited to meet its unique needs.  However, you must document why you decided to do this then forward the decision to the GSA Contracting Officer.

• Obtain Contract Modification for SOW Requirements.  If your agency does need to opt for the SOW process, you must submit the SOW to GSA’s Networx Contracting Officer for review and scope determination. When GSA approves the SOW, the agency must agree to any changes.  At that point, GSA will issue the SOW to Networx contractors and the contractors will develop proposals.  After reviewing the proposals, the agency will make a selection and provide justification for the decision to GSA.  After GSA reviews the decision, the agency must inform the contractors of the selection. GSA will work with the contractor to modify the contract to include any SOW information that is not currently there. GSA will modify the Networx CLIN structure to add the new requirements and pricing information for future services selections.

• Transition Local Services.  In this step, GSA Regional Services will coordinate with agencies to set up processes to transition local services delivered through the regional consolidated systems.  The office works directly with service providers and agency customers to develop regional transition plans, perform regional assessments, identify requirements, and process transition orders.  GSA Regional Services aims to help reduce or eliminate risks to agencies by sharing lessons learned from prior transitions, implementing best practices, and providing expertise in resolving challenging transition issues.