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A graphic look at GSA Schedule vs. GWAC vs. Open Market and Stand-Alone Contracts for IT buys.

Sunday, June 23, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Guy Timberlake (
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If you're interested in getting a good perspective on federal IT purchasing, specifically, where it's happening as it relates to contracts and contract vehicles, listen up for a moment or two, it will be worth your time.

The folks at FCW put together a nice infographic (below) that provides a snapshot of governmentwide spending on the GSA and NASA GWACs and the IT-70 Schedule for FYs 2009 through 2012. Apparently the folks at NIH weren't interested in having the results of their GWACs posted alongside GSA and NASA so that's not part of the result.

What the graphic represents are buys that show up in the Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation (FPDS-NG) as a "Delivery Order" in the section of the records entitled Award Type.


What this shows for FY12 specifically is that although close to $6 billion was obligated to the GSA and NASA GWACs, that combined spending only accounts for about one-third of the total spend processed through the IT-70 Schedule. FCW also gives you a break-down of FY12 spending by customer (Top 5) for Alliant and SEWP.

Wonder what the numbers would look like if governmentwide awards for open market and stand-alone contract buys were pulled (a.k.a. the No Contract Vehicles Needed awards)? Glad you asked.

I queried "Definitive Contract" and "Purchase Order" awards for FY12 under the following NAICS Codes:

  • 334111 - Electronic Computer Manufacturing
  • 334112 - Computer Storage Device Manufacturing
  • 334118 - Computer Terminal and Other Computer Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing
  • 541511 - Custom Computer Program Services
  • 541512 - Computer Systems Design Services
  • 541513 - Computer Facilities Management Services
  • 541519 - Other Computer Related Services

Guess what I found out?

Federal agencies awarded more than $4.7 billion in competitive and non-competitive buys in FY12 under these seven NAICS Codes. More than what was obligated on SEWP or the combined total of all GSA GWACs.

The top spenders by agency were (pay close attention to the agencies in the number two and three slots) :

  • Air Force - $939M
  • NASA - $281M (No SEWP for you!)
  • HHS - $242M (GWACs? What GWACs?)
  • Commerce - $122M
  • HUD - $121M

Overall, DoD racked up just under $3 billion of the FY12 total. Curious about the competition for these buys?

Here you go:

  • Full and Open Competition (including After Exclusion of Sources) - $2.4B
  • Competed Under Simplified Acquisition Procedures - $219M
  • Not Competed and Follow On Awards - $2.0B

So, what's my point?

In some cases, the companies awarded GWACs or the IT-70 Schedule fared well or better in the "open market." Take GSA STARS II as an example. GSA STARS II boasts $231M in task order awards YTD while "open market" 8(a) awards issued as "definitive contracts" and "purchase orders" come in at $270M YTD. This result based on awards where one of the four STARS II functional area NAICS Codes is referenced. Nearly sixty of the GSA STARS II awardees have been awarded a number of these buys (more than $50M) away from the STARS II GWAC.

I guess the streamlined acquisition benefits of STARS II aren't enough for agencies like USDA, Air Force, Navy, Army, CPSC, DEA, HHS, FAA, SBA, IRS, State Department and Coast Guard since they opted to take what on paper is the more difficult acquisition path to their IT needs. Even GSA has issued awards this way.

 Whether your company has an established contract vehicle or not, keep your eyes on the prize of tangible opportunities currently represented by Uncle Sam spending $18 billion more this fiscal year on buys where an established contract vehicle is not referenced in FPDS-NG and presumably was not a factor in the award.

Have you ever taken a snapshot of an agency or a specific contracting office to see if how you or your company thinks they do business is actually how they do business? You might be surprised.


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