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NIH launches competition for $20B CIO-CS program

May. 8, 2014 - 01:58PM   |  
By STEVE WATKINS   |   Comments
Robert Coen: Small businesses will play a large role in new contract program.
Robert Coen: Small businesses will play a large role in new contract program. (File)

The National Institutes of Health kicked off what is sure to be an intense competition for the $20 billion Chief Information Officer–Commodity Solutions (CIO-CS) Government-wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC).

NIH issued the request for proposals Wednesday for the 10-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract that will be available to all federal agencies to purchase IT commodities and solutions using fixed-price delivery orders. Bids are due by June 11.

The contract will offer on-premise and cloud-based products and services to support IT operations — namely, security, infrastructure, telecommunications and desktop applications — and health and life sciences.

NIH’s Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) will award the CIO-CS contract, which will replace NITAAC’s existing Electronic Commodities Store (ECS III) contract program that expires in November. ECS III provides a full range of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, laptops, peripherals, telecommunications equipment related to telephony, research workstations, software (including operating systems), and related warranty, maintenance and support services. It has more than 40 prime contractor holders.

Under the CIO-CS program, federal customers will be able to use an “on-premise” model or a “managed services” model for deploying IT services and products they buy off the contract.

With the on-premise model, the vendor deploys commodities and products on-site at a government site or contractor site. With a managed services model, IT services can be deployed on a public cloud or other managed service. This includes offerings of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) based on a subscription model.

The RFP lists a wide array of IT commodities to be offered under the contract, including: Public key infrastructure, enterprise resource planning software, data-management and portfolio-management tools, unified communications, web content management tools, and data analytics and visualization tools, among many others.

NITAAC acting director Robert Coen said at a recent conference that small businesses will play a large role in the CIO-CS program. He said he expects as much as 60 percent of the business generated on the contract will go to small businesses.

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