The General Services Administration issued solicitations for the second phase of the Centers of Excellence at the U.S. Department of Agriculture July 30 and 31, including mid-August deadlines that give industry little time to turn around proposals.

“Solicitations were issued for each of the Centers of Excellence (CoE) through the eBuy portal to implement and execute Phase I recommendations at USDA,” a GSA spokesperson told Federal Times.

The Centers of Excellence program — a collaboration between USDA, GSA and the Office of American Innovation — aims to propel the agency into modernized IT systems through two phases of partnerships with the private sector.

The program is divided into five teams:

  1. Cloud Adoption
  2. IT infrastructure Optimization
  3. Customer Experience
  4. Service Delivery analysis
  5. Contact Center

The solicitations for a Business Modernization Office, Customer Experience Digital Support Services, Data Analytics Capacity Building and Infrastructure Optimization/Cloud Adoption have a response deadline of August 10.

Solicitations for Contact Center Design, a Voice of the Customer Tool and Data Visualization and Analytics are due August 17.

At a June industry event, CoE officials said that they intended to have solicitations for Phase 2 of the program out by August with the intent to start work with contractors by late September or early October.

According to the GSA spokesperson, the Professional Services Schedule contract was used for the Business Modernization and Customer Experience solicitations, while IT Schedule 70 was used for the Data Analytics Capacity Building, a Voice of the Customer Tool, the Data Visualization CoE and for support for both the Infrastructure Optimization and Cloud Adoption CoEs.

The Alliant contract was used for a solicitation for the Contact Center CoE.

The new CoE solicitations come just as one of the program’s central figures, GSA Technology Transformation Service Director Joanne Collins Smee, announced her departure from government service.