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FAS ITS Leads Innovation: Geospatial Software Contracts Simplified

| Mary Davie , Assistant Commissioner, GSA Integrated Technology Services
Post filed in: Acquisition  |  GSA Feature

The Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) supports GSA’s vision of being an economic catalyst and proactive federal partner, while maintaining operational excellence, in many ways. This includes incorporating cutting-edge, new, and innovative IT ideas and solutions into our programs, contracts and processes.

GSA Leading in FITARA Implementation

In a recent example, FAS’s Integrated Technology Services (ITS) IT Schedule 70 issued a modification to our agreement with geospatial software contractor Esri, resulting in improved efficiency, pricing, terms and conditions, and transparency. Key to FITARA, innovative projects like this help agencies better meet their missions, with a direct and positive impact for the American taxpayer.

FAS is Actively Identifying Opportunities for Operational Excellence

Beginning in August 2015, GSA met with OMB to discuss how we could better manage the government-wide $294 million annual spend on geospatial software licenses. This important software is used in everything from intelligence and surveillance to geological surveys and estimating crop yields on farms. Esri is a principle among our industry partners as they capture $74 million of the annual federal spending on geospatial software.

Innovative Solutions as a Proactive Federal Partner

A tiger team led by GSA and made up of key government Esri users including the Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Navy, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior, reviewed acquisition options to meet OMB and the tiger team’s goals to achieve better volume discounts, reduce spend, and gather transactional data from Esri. Since GSA already had a contract with Esri through IT Schedule 70, modifying the contract was a prudent, and agreed upon, solution to expedite the process and start recognizing savings immediately.

The new, government-wide agreement will save millions of dollars and allow agencies to:

  • Realize improved efficiencies by eliminating the need for separate negotiations
  • Reduce administrative costs by implementing a single set of Terms & Conditions for all of government
  • Get tiered discounts by leveraging the buying power of the federal government
  • Benefit from increased pricing transparency
  • Quickly access the agreement and associated software acquisition and management best practices in the software hallway of the Acquisition Gateway

Once agencies roll off their expiring contracts and onto the GSA Schedule 70 contract, we are expecting an average discounted savings of more than 5 percent. This should result in millions in savings each year.

Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy praised this initiative, saying it is ”…another great example of reducing duplication and driving greater efficiencies and savings.”

FAS Forward Thinking

This is an excellent example of FAS innovation: a cross-agency collaboration to streamline acquisition, create greater transparency, eliminate redundant contracts, and save the government money. As part of the FITARA strategy, GSA, working with OMB and other federal agencies, will continue to analyze the possibility of other targeted agreements with vendors, looking for opportunities to bring significant spend under management.