CONTRACTS

NIH looks for ways to support bigger contracts

EDITOR's NOTE: This article first appeared on FCW.com.

The National Institutes of Health Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center, or NITAAC, is looking to make using its CIO-CS contracting vehicle more attractive for larger federal agencies on the market for cloud services, said the acting director of the center.

The almost-two-year-old CIO-CS "is a great vehicle for cloud solutions," said Bridget Gauer, NITAAC's acting program director in an interview with FCW.

The center lowered the contract access fees for its three governmentwide acquisition contracts by as much as 35 percent back on Jan. 5, aligning it with fees charged by other GWACs like NASA's SEWP V.

NITAAC's previous director, Rob Coen, said fees on the agency's CIO-SP3 GWAC had been reduced from 1 percent to .65 percent; CIO-SB3 Small Business vehicle fees were reduced from .75 percent to .55 percent, and fees on the CIO-CS were reduced from .5 to .35 percent. Coen moved on to GSA's Federal Systems Integration and Management Center at the end of August.

Under Gauer's stewardship, NITAAC's  CIO-CS vehicle capped fees at $70,000 for orders over $20 million.

Those fee changes will help bring in larger civilian agency acquisitions, Gauer said. NITAAC is also working with cloud providers to help make it easier for agencies to work cloud services into their contracts efficiently.

"We're asking cloud service providers what they'd like to see in solicitations," she said.

The center had some cloud success last summer, when the Department of Veterans Affairs said it determined that an NITAAC contract vehicle was the solution for its Enterprise Cloud Services for IT Infrastructure Modernization acquisition strategy.

NITAAC is also working with the Government Services Administration's GWAC and NASA's SEWP GWAC on the next iteration of the common laptop/desktop computer configurations under the Office of Management and Budget's Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative, according to Gauer.

An industry day is scheduled for Feb. 28 to discuss the latest draft of the laptop/desktop "refresh" effort, she said.

Gauer said she will be at NITAAC's helm for the foreseeable future because of the federal hiring freeze. She said her most immediate goals, aside from overseeing the new fee structures and laptop/desktop refresh, include expanding, or "on-ramping," new small business contractors to the agency's GWACs.  

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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