Small businesses expected to benefit from geospatial BPA

Government procurement executives yesterday listed the benefits of the upcoming SmartBuy Blanket Purchase Order for the federal Geospatial Line of Business and emphasized the cost savings and the reduced administrative burden they anticipate from the project.

"We expect substantial savings," Ivan DeLoatch, managing partner of the geospatial line of business for the Interior Department's Federal Geographic Data Committee, told attendees at Vendor Day in Washington.

Matt Leopard, chair of the common services work group for the Environmental Protection Agency, called SmartBuy the "Super Bowl of acquisitions."

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to come together and reorganize how we do business," Leopard said, adding that more than 15 government agencies are working together on the project.

The Office of Management and Budget is promoting the geospatial procurement vehicle to provide greater transparency, leverage the government's buying power, obtain greater discounts and reduce administrative costs.

The multi-vendor BPA will offer government users a common portfolio of geospatial technology options. Vendor responses to a request for information are due by Oct. 31, and an award is expected by February.

At the EPA, geospatial analysts are managing 170 separate software license renewals each year, which are unwieldy and time-consuming, Leopard said.

The BPA will create categories of commercial off the shelf geospatial software, geospatial data and other geospatial products and make it easier to procure them, officials said.

The government anticipates making accessible a greater variety of software and products and expanding SmartBuy to other categories and lines of business, such as emergency response, Leopard said, adding that small business vendors will gain visibility by being able to supply software to many more agencies.

"This is a great opportunity for small businesses to extend their product lines beyond their wildest dreams," Leopard said.

Federal agencies use geospatial software for tasks such as producing maps and conducting geographic analysis. Under SmartBuy, they will have access to a centralized contracting vehicle that will provide them with access to a fully array of products, including training and technical support.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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