Best in Class (BIC) contract vehicles and why you need them

The Federal Government is encouraging agencies to use Best in Class (BIC) government wide acquisition contracts (GWACs) to better leverage their buying power. In a January 5, 2017 report, Improving Government Operations, Helping Agencies Be More Effective and Efficient, the General Services Administration (GSA) stated, “OMB named several government-wide contracts, including a GSA contract, as best-in-class federal contracting vehicles for procuring laptops and desktops. This initiative has already produced negotiated savings of up 27% on IT Schedule 70 contracts.”

On April 12, 2017, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) formalized GSA’s prompting by published a memorandum, Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government and Reducing the Federal Civilian Workforce. In the memorandum, OMB Director Mike Mulvaney declared, “Agencies should consider leveraging…External service providers, including those providers on best-in-class contracts as part of the category management effort.” Since 2017, the government has encouraged agencies to use BIC GWACs to save money and make informed buying decisions.

To become a BIC GWAC, the GWAC’s agency must complete documented evaluation, which includes a cross category or cross agency subject matter expert evaluation, a Category Management Leadership Review, and a Category Management Leadership Council review. In addition, the BIC GWAC must satisfy five OMB criteria:

  1. Rigorous requirements definitions and planning processes;
  2. Appropriate pricing strategies;
  3. Data-driven strategies to change buying and consumption behavior (i.e., demand management);
  4. Implementation of category and performance management strategies; and
  5. Independently validated reviews.

GSA leads other government agencies in the number of BIC GWACs they hold. GSA BIC GWACs include Alliant, Alliant (Small Business), Veterans Technology Services (VETS 2), Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI) Wireless Blanket Purchase Agreement, Government-wide Strategic Solution (GSS) Laptop/Desktop, and IT Schedule 70 Hardware & Software SINs.

Although GSA is the BIC front runner, other agencies are right behind them. The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) has already had its CIO-CS contract awarded BIC status and is likely to get the popular CIO-SP3 and CIO-SP3 (Small Business) GWACs awarded BIC status in 2018.

Other BICs include:

  • S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Facilities Reduction Program
  • Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCATS)
  • USA Learning
  • Identify Protection Services (IPS)
  • Domestic Delivery Services (DDS3) Next Gen

In summary, consider adding a BIC to your GWAC/IDIQ arsenal of contracts. Inform your agency customer how BIC GWACs benefit them and how to use them.

By Brenda Crist, Vice President at Lohfeld Consulting Group, MPA, CPP APMP Fellow.

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