NIH Contract: Another Trailblazer
NIH Contract: Another Trailblazer<@VM>What NIH's CIOSP II Will Provide
By Nick Wakeman, Staff Writer
The National Institutes of Health Chief Information Officers Solutions and Partners II contract will cover work in hot areas such as digital government, enterprise resource planning and information assurance, and promises to break new ground like its predecessor, industry and government officials say.
The multiple award contract, potentially worth $10 billion, will have fewer primes than the 20 companies that won CIOSP I. The new contract will include added task order areas such as support services for CIOs as they deal with legislative and policy issues; critical infrastructure protection, digital government, and software and services related to enterprise resource planning.
NIH also will continue its focus on providing customer service to both the contractors and the agencies using the contract, said Leamon Lee, NIH associate director of the Office of Administration.
Other task order areas that will be carried over from the first CIOSP contract include outsourcing, IT integration services and IT operations.
Lee promised some other surprises when the request for proposals, which industry officials expect in June, but Lee would not detail many of those.
"It is a very competitive world out there," Lee said, adding that he did not want to tip his hand too soon because of concern that another agency might rush out a contract with the very features he wants to add.
"It is all about building a better mousetrap," Lee told Washington Technology.
The original CIOSP contract was awarded in August 1996 to 20 prime contractors. With a $10 billion ceiling, the contract was a trendsetter in terms of being one of the first multiple-award, governmentwide contracts that gave agencies a vehicle for buying solutions rather than just products or services.
"We were the first one out there," Lee said. "Other contracts have copied us, so we have to be more innovative to keep up and stay ahead."
Lee and his staff are still developing the new contract, which he wants awarded in August. That will leave about a year overlap between CIOSP I and CIOSP II. CIOSP I expires in August 2001.
CIOSP II will run between five and 10 years and likely will have a similar $10 billion ceiling as CIOSP I.
In the three and one half years since CIOSP I was awarded, other innovative governmentwide contracts such as the General Services Administration's Millennia contract and the Department of Transportation Information Technology Omnibus Procurement II contract have been awarded. Services also have been added to the GSA schedule.
Contract holders of CIOSP I have witnessed the increased competition that the contract has faced, company officials said.
"We have seen some work move away from CIOSP, but that has primarily been a result of the other agencies catching up with NIH," said John Myers, vice president of the information technology solutions and services business unit at Logicon Inc., the IT division for Northrop Grumman Corp. of Los Angeles.
But Myers said he had no complaints about the way the contract operates. "Its basic processes are good and are to the advantage of both the government clients and the industry," he said.
Logicon holds two CIOSP contracts. Other companies with contracts include: Andersen Consulting, BAE Systems Inc., Computer Sciences Corp., Digicon Inc., DynCorp, Electronic Data Systems Corp., IBM Corp., OAO Corp., Orkand Corp., Science Applications International Corp., SRA International Inc. and Unisys Corp.
Lee said there likely will be fewer than 20 winners of CIOSP II. "We are still working on the requirements," he said.
Industry officials believe there may be only 10 winners, one executive said.
Despite more competition from other contracts like ITOP II and Millennia, CIOSP has continued to perform well, Lee said. In 1998, agencies bought $290 million worth of services from CIOSP contractors. In 1999, the figure was $250 million, Lee said.
So far in fiscal 2000, $49 million has been spent through the contract, he said.
The key to success for CIOSP II will be the contracting services NIH provides to contractors and to the agencies using the contract, said Mike Danick, director of civil federal sales for TRW Federal Enterprise Solutions.
"They are going to have to figure out a way to differentiate themselves [from the other multiple award contracts]," Danick said.
But an advantage that CIOSP II has is that the NIH staff running the contract have completely bought into the procurement reforms that made the contract possible, said Jeffrey Westerhoff, vice president and director of governmentwide acquisition contracts at Fairfax, Va.-based SRA.
"This contract has risen to be one of the top contracts, and that is because Dr. Lee has instilled a customer focus in all his people; the contracting officers not only understand streamlining, but they did it," he said.
Another plus is that NIH has stayed up to date on what the agencies want, Westerhoff said. "Look at the new task order areas being added ? digital government, ERP, information assurance ? that is where the future is," he said.
Contract and task order management
Critical Infrastructure Protection
Enterprise Resource Planning
Clinical Support for Research and Studies