Multiple-award, generic, governmentwide blanket purchase agreements: Vertical contract duplication

This column was originally published on Roger Waldron’s blog at The Coalition for Government Procurement and was republished here with permission from the author.

As the General Services Administration continues to engage stakeholders regarding its strategy for the cloud marketplace, avoiding vertical contract duplication will be critical to creating a competitive, efficient, and effective cloud marketplace for customer agencies and industry partners. Unfortunately, GSA appears to be focusing on a strategy employing multiple-award, generic, governmentwide blanket purchases agreements (BPAs) for cloud services. The strategy creates vertical contract duplication, unnecessarily increasing bid and proposal, contract administration, and program management costs. It is also inconsistent with FAR 8.4 guidance on the use of multi-agency BPAs.

In May of this year, this blog focused on the continuing acquisition management challenge of vertical contract duplication. In addition, the Coalition provided a set of Best Practices for BPAs under the MAS program. As a follow up, the flow chart below illustrates the redundancy and increased costs of vertical contract duplication.

Image credit: Coalition for Government Procurement

Just last week, the Coalition submitted member comments in response to GSA’s Request for Information (RFI) for GSA’s Multiple Award Blanket Purchase Agreement for commercial software-as-a-service, platform-as-s-service, and infrastructure-as-a-service. The comments reflect industry’s continued concerns regarding the unnecessary duplication and increased costs associated with generic, governmentwide BPAs.

As the above chart demonstrates, Coalition members believe task order competition directly against the underlying MAS contracts for agency-specific cloud requirements is a more efficient and effective approach than through generic, governmentwide BPAs for cloud services. GSA already has the cloud marketplace. It also has the MAS program’s contracts for cloud services. Generic, governmentwide BPAs do not leverage the cloud marketplace; task order competitions for agency requirements do.

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