GSA Helps Agencies Write the Right Thing
GSA # 9768
December 6, 2000
Contact: Bill Bearden, (202) 501-1231
WASHINGTON, DC - In search of a faster, sleeker process to acquire federal information technology, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has stepped forward to help create improved IT solicitation documents for several federal agencies, a move which officials say will benefit government and industry.
Statements of Work (SOW) and Evaluation Criteria documents are required steps in the federal IT acquisition process and often spur a smoother acquisition effort. Well-constructed statements "open up competition and give bidders the opportunity to be innovative and provide good alternatives," says Karen Kopf, GSA's Acquisition Project Manager for the Federal Systems Integration and Management Center (FEDSIM).
FEDSIM, GSA's large-scale IT systems integrator, already creates or reviews agency-prepared SOWs, and other acquisition documents as part of its service to Federal agencies. But GSA's effort to improve federal solicitation documents currently in place "is a viable solution for Federal IT Managers. (They are) faced with challenges in hiring and retaining qualified technical personnel who typically develop such documents," notes Bob Suda, Assistant Commissioner for the GSA Office of Information Technology Solutions. "The task is to look at it as an outsider," Kopf agrees. "If I can identify and understand the requirement as an outsider, a bidder should be able to as well."
FEDSIM's involvement results in more clearly expressed agency requirements and includes performance measures contractors must adhere to. Such work statements make acquisition quicker, smoother, and more competitive. They may also prevent misinterpretation of contract requirements after a contract is awarded. Kopf concedes a well-written work statement "might take a little longer up front," but notes that the effect of contract misinterpretation may ultimately undermine an agency's mission, as with critical programs, because corrective action could delay a contract or even cancel it.
Kopf was also recently selected to address the Thurgood Marshall Development Offices Conference about preparing acquisition documents and responding to solicitations and proposals. Thurgood Marshall Development Offices is a government outreach program to the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund, which supports historically black public colleges and universities. She previously worked for five years in the IT industry developing proposals and technical documents before returning to FEDSIM.
For additional information, contact Jeff Williams at (703) 605-9963 or visit the FEDSIM Web site at http://fedsim.gsa.gov.