GSA seeks help to improve back-end management of NS2020 program

The General Services Administration is putting the pieces in place for its Network Services 2020 strategy.

The latest one is a request for information regional and enterprise infrastructure solutions.

GSA is looking for feedback from industry about the “management and operations functions that include ordering, billing, inventory and service level agreements management” and “pricing concepts.”

In the RFI, GSA wrote that a key objective of the RFI is to “seek substantive comments from industry about the proposed management and operations strategy specifically relating to Web interface, system-to-system [vendor and government] data exchange, business support system (BSS)/operational support system (OSS) business processes and the draft network services future systems data dictionary.”

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Networks 2020 is not a single contract, but a strategy around the next generation of telecommunications technologies and a more competitive model.

The RFI expands GSA’s goals for Network Services 2020, saying the goal of the program is to be the “federal government’s strategic sourcing center for network-based and network-enabled services. Understanding telecommunications technology and markets, including regional, national, and worldwide markets, is a key to identifying the integrated portfolio of services as part of the NS2020 Strategy.”

The program will focus on six service areas:

  • Infrastructure solutions
  • Satellite
  • Mobility/Wireless
  • Advisory services
  • Emerging technologies and services
  • Government shared services

GSA said in an April 2014 Network Services 2020 white paper that it planned to release a draft request for proposals for EIS in first quarter of 2015 and a final solicitation in the third quarter.

In all, GSA asked vendors to respond to 42 questions covering the management and operations functions, cybersecurity, business and operational support systems, pricing, equipment and other areas.

For example under the Web interface section, GSA stated it wants only minimal requirements to let customers submit and track orders, obtain inventory data, review billing, trouble tickets and monitor SLA performance.

“The government does not intend to specify how these management and operations functional requirements are provided,” the RFI stated. “The goal is to minimize custom development and cost to vendors by accepting as much functionality as possible from the Web interface that the vendor provides to commercial customers, with additional government-specific compliance requirements relating to security (FISMA Moderate, see Appendix C) and accessibility (Section 508).”

Under system-to-system data exchange, GSA plans to use Extensible Markup Language (XML) to push data between government and industry systems.

“It is the government’s intent to simplify interoperability between vendors and agencies by using a common taxonomy and common data exchange standards,” the RFI stated.

The goal is to reduce custom development and setup costs and increase the value of the data to the government by using interface and data standards.

Responses to the RFI are due by Dec. 1.

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