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So the question you have to ask yourself is, do you feel lucky?

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Thursday, July 18, 2013

Well do ya' feel lucky to have been awarded a GSA STARS II GWAC? In light of what the numbers currently show, are you still solely focused on waiting for GSA to flip an opportunity "over the fence?" Still putting all your efforts into tracking agencies who are most likely to use STARS II as an acquisition vehicle for their next IT buy?

I only ask because in a recent blog entry, I did a comparison of federal agency IT spending on contract vehicles versus open market buys for the same/similar goods and services. The basis of it was a good infographic produced by the FCW team that compared agency spending on the IT-70 Schedule versus the NASA and GSA GWAC's. The result of this cursory review showed the FY12 IT spend on open market/stand-alone contract buys was more than the total spend on the GSA GWACs (by over $1B) and more than spending on NASA SEWP by over $2B. The combined total spend on the NASA and GSA GWACs was only $1B more than open market spending which was only based on seven IT NAICS Codes.

The point is, even after all of the evidence being presented about these governmentwide IT-specific "hunting licenses" being a great tool if you have it and work it, there are still tremendous opportunities where these vehicles are not a factor.

GSA STARS II just happens to be the very brightest shining example of this fact.

If you are not familiar with STARS II, it is a vehicle exclusive to 8(a) companies that allows agencies to make directed (sole source) buys up to $4M for requirements that can be acquired under one of the following four functional areas corresponding to key IT services NAICS Codes:

  • 541511 - Custom Computer Program Services
  • 541512 - Computer Systems Design Services
  • 541513 - Computer Facilities Management Services
  • 541519 - Other Computer Related Services

The STARS II contract was awarded to 599 companies (whereas its predecessor had just under two hundred awardees) and FY13 YTD, agencies have obligated $262M to STARS II. That's roughly $437K per company if they all were actually winning tasks, but they are not and in fact, nearly sixty of the STARS II primes are doing pretty well outside of STARS II for the same type of work. Where 'definitive contracts' and 'purchase orders' were used for awards made under one of the four NAICS Codes referenced above, federal agencies have obligated nearly $2.5B during FY13. Companies participating in the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program saw $307M in sole source and $214M in 8(a) competitive set-asides so far. According to FPDS-NG, the YTD awards to 8(a) companies and joint ventures (set-aside or not) under the four STARS II NAICS tops $657 million

That's more than two and a half times greater than the YTD obligations made to GSA STARS II.

Some of the top agencies (of 43 involved) making these open market buys include:

  • DoD ($1B)
  • NASA ($180M)
  • HHS ($175M)
  • Commerce ($170M)
  • DOT ($147M)

FYI, GSA rings the bell at $5.3M.

While 53 U.S. states and territories are referenced as place of performance in these buys, Virginia, Maryland and DC (in that order) account for $1.1 billion of the YTD spend.

To those STARS II awardees not currently part of the "20" based on the Pareto Principle, what changes are you willing to make to better your results?


The Chief Visionary

"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."

Tags:  541511  541512  541513  541519  open market  simplified acquisition  STARS II 

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