NIH awards $20B CIO-CS acquisition contract for IT

The National Institutes of Health awarded its $20 billion Chief Information Officer – Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) Tuesday to 65 vendors.

“This GWAC is intended to support the full range of IT needs across the federal government with a particular emphasis on agencies like NIH and its parent, [the Department of Health and Human Services], that are involved in health care and clinical and biological research,” the original solicitation said.

The contract, which has a five-year performance period, has a maximum ceiling value of $20 billion and is the successor to NIH’s Electronic Commodities Store (ECS) III. NIH originally solicited for CIO-CS on May 7, 2014.

Seven of the vendors awarded the CIO-CS contract are original equipment manufacturers, while the remaining 58 are value-added resellers.

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The ECS III contract is valid until May 9 and contract holders can continue to file orders on that contract through that date. New orders submitted by that deadline will continue to have a five-year performance period.

“As soon as ECS III expires, NITAAC’s new Chief Information Officer-Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) contract will be open for business,” NIH said on its NITAAC website. “Like ECS III, you will still be able to order IT commodities for the enterprise, lab and office. We are, however, excited that CIO-CS opens new horizons with service enabling commodities that can be used on-site or in the cloud.”

In addition, CIO-CS will be part of e-GOS, NIH’s Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center’s (NITAAC) online ordering and competition management system.

“Every order placed through e-GOS becomes part of your permanent record so you can access acquisition data anywhere, anytime,” the NITAAC website said.

NIH, which runs three difference GWACs for IT products and services, is determining how best to give agencies and vendors the best pricing data.

“Through our GWAC programs we try to be as transparent as possible with ceiling prices on all the products and services sold through our contracts so agencies know what the ceiling rates are and actually the other industry partners know what the ceiling rates are for their competitors,” NITAAC acting director Rob Coen said, in an interview with Federal News Radio last month. “We’re also working on setting up a dashboard so that customers can see what other agencies are buying, whose buying what, who they are buying it from and what they are paying so they can be more strategic in what they buy.”

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