NASA SEWP Training & Industry Day

Published: April 08, 2019

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The NASA SEWP Training and Industry Day was held on April 3, 2019 at the JW Marriott Hotel in downtown Washington, DC.  Its purpose was to provide training for both the Federal Government and Industry and offer opportunties for questions and discussions on several topics related to the current SEWP GWAC.  Most of the industry participants were SEWP contract holders who took advantage of the event to ensure they were utilizing SEWP to the best of their ability.  The primary speaker in the morning for the industry session was Kenneth R. Brown, Industry Relations Manager for the NASA SEWP Team.

The morning session began with an overview of SEWP.  The GWAC Vehicle celebrated its 25th Anniversary last year and is currently in its 5th iteration.  It consists of over 200 contracts with over 140 contractors and resellers of IT products and services.  The SEWP V procurement process was tracked under GovWin IQ Opportunity Report ID: 82396.

Information was provided regarding the types of products that can be purchased through SEWP.  It was noted that more government agencies are moving towards SEWP for IT procurements rather than recompeting existing IDIQ contracts.  To date, SEWP V has seen over $15.5 billion in federal spending obligations with over 115,800 individual orders (as of March 16, 2019).  They emphasized that SEWP spending continues to grow year over year and this trend is expected to continue. 

The presentation then shifted to the agency catalogs and how new products are added daily to SEWP contracts.  The turnaround time to add a new item to the catalog is about one business day.  This speed was highlighted as one of the key features that makes SEWP so appealing to government buyers and procurement officials, as IT items often have to be acquired as quickly as possible.  It was emphasized that SEWP is one of the GSA’s Best in Class vehicles and there are no sustained Protests for any acquisition that was made to date.  

The session continued with an overview of the SEWP tools.  There was a walkthrough of the SEWP website which showed where to find customer support information, including FAQs, contractor performance, training videos, and how to submit questions.  They also shared that a new Industry Relations team was created in January for the purpose of outreach and training for contract holders and also for government agencies.  A demonstration was provided on how a procurement official can create a market research or RFQ post through SEWP, how they can utilize the agency catalogs to find specific items, and some of the safeguards in place to ensure that the FAR is not violated.  

Later in the training, a panel discussion was held entitled “NASA SEWP Contract Holders and You.”  The participants included:

  • Moderator: Gayle Ward – Customer Relations Manager, NASA SEWP
  • Colby Bender – Carahsoft
  • Mark Fertik – Ace Computers
  • Steve Hartmann – Copper River

The panel discussion addressed the topic of proposal preparations.  The key points from the panel included: 

  • The Proposal process is a months-long effort which will take a significant investment in money and resources, especially if outside help is brought in
  • Interested vendors should pick their area of focus – they should not submit Proposals for each Group within SEWP, just the ones that include categories and products they excel at
  • Vendors should consider submitting Proposals for more than one Group
  • Vendors should also take advantage of the opportunity to participate in one-on-one discussions with the SEWP Team and participate in a debrief after Proposals are submitted, even if they do not win a contract

Additional questions the panel addressed focused on the advantages of being a SEWP contract holder.  The panel cited the quick turnaround time to present updates to the SEWP PMO, the continued need of government agencies to acquire IT products, and the importance of new companies to add their products to the agency catalogs to meet demands.  They also addressed a question concerning how to explain the benefits of SEWP versus GSA Schedules.  The panel suggested steering the conversation to SEWP based on product availability and also highlighting the quick turnaround time.

In the afternoon, the Industry Day held a session which provided an overview of Section 508.  Standards were released in 2001 and were revised in 2018.  There is a Voluntary Products Accessibility Template (VPAT) developed by the ITIC which is used to guide the evaluation of a particular product to ensure that it is Section 508 compliant.  They shared that NASA is collaborating with ITIC to develop a simplified checklist.

The Industry Day concluded with the opportunity for attendees to request topics to discuss  Some of the key points included:

  • Cloud products can be acquired through SEWP as a service via Delivery Order with Options (DOWD)
  • Emerging technologies can be added to existing SEWP contracts
  • In terms of professional services, agencies often bundle the support services with the acquisition of specific products, and include one combined price for everything 

While the SEWP Industry Day was geared primarily for vendors who are incumbent contractors and the procurement officials who are utilize it – or are looking to learn more about it – the information was nevertheless valuable for vendors who are looking to do business through SEWP in the future.  The key takaways included the following:

  • The speed at which procurements are process and new items can be added to the SEWP Agency Catalogs – plus the fact that this happens daily
  • The fact that SEWP continues to grow in use by Federal agencies
  • SEWPs team is growing in size and a new Industry Relations Team is ramping up to assist industry in effectively using the tool – they are also continually looking for ways to improve the efficiency and ease of the GWAC for those who use it
  • While there are no plans for an On-Ramp, vendors who are not incumbent SEWP contract holders can still get involved by teaming or promoting their products with incumbent vendors and work to have them added to the catalog
  • The SEWP website is created to be user-friendly for procurement officials and safeguards are in place to help ensure the FAR is not violated
  • There are still many procurement officials who are unaware of SEWP – but the more that people learn about it, the more they look to use it instead of an agency IDIQ or GSA Schedule
  • SEWP VI is expected to take place, but the planning process has not started yet

It is currently Deltek’s plan to create a new Opportunity Report for the expected SEWP VI procurement, but it is early days yet – so an Opportunity Report ID number is unavailable.  Deltek believes the follow-on procurement process could begin as early as FY2023, in order to allow sufficient time for the follow-on awards to be made before the incumbent contracts expire in 2025.