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GSA Pushes Small Business Impact During Pandemic

The agency is driving adoption of emerging technologies through innovative IT contract vehicles.

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The General Services Administration is ensuring government agencies have the most streamlined and comprehensive opportunities for the most pressing technology needs during the COVID-19 pandemic and its acquisition practices opened many opportunities for small businesses, GSA leaders explained during a session profiling its various contract offerings.

A huge undertaking that contributed to this has been GSA having entered its third and final phase of its Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) consolidation.

“We spent most of 2020 getting everyone moved over to the new solicitation for contractors that were on legacy ones. We finished moving everyone by July 2020, and then we moved to phase 3 of MAS consolidation,” said Stepahnie Shutt, director of the MAS program management office at GSA, during the event. “The rest of this year, we’ll be focused on moving companies that have multiple contracts to one contracting officer, so that you can establish plans for contract consolidation.”

GSA has been undergoing the effort over the past two years to further modernize federal acquisition practices and make it easier for government and contractors to do business together.

In this final phase, Shutt noted that the “heavy lifting” has been completed. Now, GSA is working to fine tune parts of the project, such as streamlining operations, updating systems and simplifying processes. It plans to complete the consolidation by the end of this year.

“There should be additional projects coming up that will address these issues and help everyone move to one vehicle,” Shutt said. “This will make other projects a lot easier because everyone has the same terms and conditions.”

These efforts have streamlined acquisition processes and attracted more federal customers and suppliers to acquire technologies, especially for additional cybersecurity and cloud services demanded over the past year, said GSA Division Director Tyrees Jones.

The pandemic has spurred sudden demands in technology for agencies encountering widespread remote telework and other pandemic-response efforts. GSA experienced an uptick in agencies using its services for the utilization of mobile solutions. The Department of Agriculture, for example, added 4,500 mobile lines of service, and the Social Security Administration added 3,000 lines of service, noted Ellery Taylor, director of strategic solutions at GSA.

The pandemic also drove the adoption of emerging technologies, which have added significant capabilities across the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health agencies have utilized GSA’s contract vehicles to promote health information technology, emergency response and automated contact center solutions, Taylor said. GSA incorporated these technologies under “special item numbers,” including the wireless mobility and IT software subcategories.

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