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By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

GSA releases final RFP for $50B EIS contract

The General Services Administration has released the final solicitation for its massive Networx follow-on contract that carries a $50 billion, 15-year ceiling.

The contract, known as Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions or EIS (which at least one GSA official wants to call Eyes), will replace Networx Enterprise, Networx Universal and a variety of other GSA regional telecommunications contracts.

The Networx contracts are held by major telecom companies – AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, CenturyLink and Level 3 Communications. All are expected to be bidders on EIS.

What remains to be seen is if GSA is successful in enticing other non-telecoms into the competition, a goal they set when they started developing EIS. That goal has been met with some skepticism because of systems integrators will be challenged to provide the mandatory services on the contract without bringing on one of the telecoms as a partner.

So far, only Harris Corp. has said they plan to bid as a prime. To date, they have declined to name their teammates.

The mandatory services on the contract are virtual private network service, Ethernet transport service, Internet Protocol voice service, circuit switched voice service, managed network service, and access arrangements.

The concern voiced by the integrator community is that these mandatory services are squarely in the wheelhouse of the telecom companies and not systems integrators.

Meanwhile, the optional services such as contact centers, cloud services, managed security services and unified communications are services many systems integrators do provide

The contract also is structured different than Networx in that GSA dropped the requirement of providing services in any location in the United States. Instead, bidders must be able to provide services in 25 of the top 100 core-based statistical areas or CBSAs. There are 917 CBSAs in the country.

The reduction of the required geographic coverage is seen as an enticement for systems integrators and perhaps smaller telecom companies.

Time will tell if GSA will be successful in growing the pool of primes beyond the major telecom companies.

As the replacement for Networx and other telecommunications contracts, EIS is designed to meet all federal telecommunications needs as well IT and infrastructure requirements.

Proposals are due Jan. 15, and GSA said it expects to make awards in late 2016.

"The EIS acquisition demonstrates GSA’s commitment to provide federal agencies with the business solutions they need to fulfill their important missions," said GSA Assistant Commissioner of the Integrated Technology Services, Mary Davie, in a GSA statement.

GSA has been working agencies and industry for more than two years to develop the contract, she said.

“We believe the EIS RFP achieves the appropriate balance between industry’s goals and capabilities, GSA’s objectives, and federal agency’s current and future needs,” she said.

GSA also released some factoids about the contract that are worth sharing:

  • Federal agencies spend about $2 billion annually on network services through GSA’s Networx and Regional contracts
  • Total sales on Networx in FY14: $1.53B
  • Networx saved agencies $670M in FY14
  • EIS will replace the existing Networx and Regional contracts
  • EIS should be available for federal agencies to use in early 2017
  • To provide the time for an orderly transition to EIS, current Networx and Regional contracts will be extended from 2017 to 2020
  • GSA has already started conversations with agencies and industry to initiate transition planning.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Oct 16, 2015 at 9:31 AM

Reader Comments

Mon, Oct 19, 2015

I love GSA, but they are heavily incented to get longshot awardees (in this case systems integrators) onto their IDIQ contracts as column-fodder, so then they can go out to Agency clients and claim their vehicles have lots of competition. Those of us who have had the misfortune to spend lots of money chasing a GSA IDIQ when no agency will view you as qualified to get a task order OR (perhaps worse) those who have been the gold standard on an IDIQ only to get no business because the agency buyers see the vehicle as a direct-award to your company -- know that GSA vehicles can be a challenge. I love Mary Davie, but there's NO reason SI's should waste their money chasing this IDIQ.

Sat, Oct 17, 2015

What will GSA do if only the incumbents and Harris bid/win? What is the measure of success? Is it lower prices than Networx? WT should ask those hard questions to GSA.

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