The draft RFP for NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) VI was officially released on September 8th, 2023. If you’ve got insights or feedback on this RFP, make sure to submit your comments by the deadline of October 23rd, 2023. Additionally, an Industry Day has been scheduled for October 18th, 2023, providing an invaluable opportunity for dialogue and clarification.
The final RFP is projected for release in February 2024 with proposal due within 60 days of the release. Contract award announcements are anticipated in October 2024, leading to a contract commencement date of May 1st, 2025.
The SEWP VI contract framework builds on SEWP V’s foundational elements. It integrates key updates to align with contemporary technological advancements and evolving government stipulations.
Key features of the SEWP VI contract include:
- Emerging technologies: A pronounced emphasis on integrating and leveraging state-of-the-art technologies. This includes artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud solutions.
- Cybersecurity Protocols: A reinforced focus on ensuring robust cybersecurity measures, emphasizing data integrity and protection against potential threats.
- Small Business Engagement: A dedicated commitment to enhancing small business participation, recognizing their integral contribution to the federal marketplace.
With the 2023 industry day coming up on the 18th of October in Hyattsville in Maryland. We look back at the 2022 Reverse Industry Day to uncover the industry’s top queries.
The government answered 186 questions during this event and using VisibleThread’s Discovery feature we analyzed all the questions. We identified the day’s core themes and pressing concerns. We found some very interesting results.
What is Reverse Industry Day?
Imagine flipping the script in the federal acquisition world! That’s precisely what Reverse Industry Day (RID) events are all about. Instead of the usual setup where the government lays out its plans to eager vendors, RID turns the tables. Here, it’s the industry experts who take center stage, sharing their insights, challenges, and expertise with government officials.
When it comes to NASA’s SEWP contract, think of RID as a dynamic brainstorming session. Industry leaders, both potential vendors and current contract holders, engage directly with NASA representatives. The dialogue? A deep dive into the industry’s best practices, the hurdles faced, and invaluable feedback to refine the SEWP framework. It’s all about collaboration, understanding, and moving forward together.
What did we learn from the questions asked on RID?
Diving into the RID discussions you can see the most used terms of the day in the word cloud. We used VisibleThread’s Discovery to highlight some of, what we thought, were the most important themes.
The main recurring themes we explored further from Discovery were Certification, Requirement, Terms, Deliverables and Goals. Here are these themes along with some example questions and comments.
Digging into the theme ‘Certification’ we noticed a large amount of mentions of ISO and CMMI/CMMC certification. Most questions addressing these requirements were answered by the government with ‘The Government is still considering requirements’. Hopefully the Industry day will shed some more light on these queries.
Question: How can the NASA SEWP PMO and CO make decisions that deviate from whatever the CMMC mandates may be? Seems that industry input re: CMMC may be moot if DoD issues final and definitive CMMC requirements?
Answer: The SEWP PMO anticipates the requirement for CMMC being dictated by the Ordering agency at the delivery/task order.
Requirement had a mentions in relation to certification requirements and also different comment like the example below.
Question: Can you eliminate requirement to upload “OEM Letter” with quotes if contractor has authorization status?
Answer: The SEWP program does not require “OEM letters” however issuing agencies may have different requirements. We encourage them to use the authorization status currently in the SEWP database.
Another important theme we looked into was ‘Terms’. The top queries and comments around this theme focused on outdated terms and conditions and creating a ‘manufacturers view’.
Question: Can you create manufacturer pages where the manufacturer, not the contract holder, can post the most current terms applicable to its technology so there is no confusion created by the use of outdated terms and conditions?
Answer: The Government will take into consideration the addition of a manufacturer view within the SEWP tool.
Deliverables are always a hot topic in the questions and answers for RFP’s and here it was no different. The comments and queries all focused on ‘mandatory requirements’ meaning this is an important aspect of the RFP that needs to be clarified. The government has not made any decisions on mandatory deliverables but we welcome feedback from industry on this matter.
Most of the ‘Goals’ requests focused around setting subcontracting and small business goals to use a percentage of total contract value instead of percentage of subcontracted dollars.
Comment: For small business goals on unrestricted awards, will NASA please use “percentage of total contract value” instead of “percentage of subcontracted dollars”? This makes a huge difference to small business subs on unrestricted awards.
Answer: The government is taking this into consideration.
But that was just the tip of the iceberg, we identified several more smaller themes that the questions revolved around. While many queries received answers, some await the government’s response.
- Small business
Question: SEWP V had quite a large number of small businesses – will SEWP consider continuing this trend in SEWP VI?
Answer: The government plans to ensure small businesses have every opportunity to participate in the SEWP VI contracts.
- Past performance and experience
Comment: A contractor’s performance on a prior GWAC should be considered, rather than just performance of a purchase order.
- Feedback and recommendations for SEWP VI
Comment: The SEWP PMO needs to play an enhanced role in supply chain integrity (support, track, and verify supply chain relationships) as the foundation for the SEWP VI contract and require validation of authorized reseller status from the SEWP Industry Partner/manufacturers prior to award.
Answer: The SEWP PMO currently requires the contract holder to validate their relationship with an OEM/Provider by providing a point of contact from said OEM/Provider that can attest to the relationship between the contract holder and OEM/Provider. We plan on enhancing the capability in SEWP VI.
In essence, the Reverse Industry Day of 2022 was a goldmine of insights. Using VisibleThread’s Discovery we gathered the collective intelligence of the contracting community, capturing their pressing concerns and invaluable feedback.
How did we do it?
We used the Discovery feature in VT Docs to quickly analyze through the question-and-answer document. Discovery analyzes the text and pinpoints recurring phrases, keywords, and patterns, presenting a clear picture of the predominant themes.
See how it works.
The Discovery feature serves as a powerful solution for identifying themes in a document. This capability is especially beneficial for large or complex documents where manual analysis would be time-consuming. Using this feature, users can gain insights into the core messages. And identify potential areas of concern, and opportunities for improvement within their documents.
Fun fact – Why does SEWP use a duck for a mascot?
Ever wondered why SEWP has a duck as its mascot? It’s a delightful nod to the phrase “as easy as duck soup,” symbolizing simplicity and ease. The connection deepens with a touch of classic cinema, drawing inspiration from the Marx Brothers’ film, ‘Duck Soup.’ Delving into its origins, the term ‘duck soup’ is a vintage American expression dating back to at least 1902. It’s all about something being a breeze or a cinch. While its usage might have dwindled over the years, its charm remains. Intriguingly, the exact roots of this phrase remain a mystery, adding a touch of enigma to SEWP’s feathery mascot!
As we reflect on the Reverse Industry Day insights, it’s evident that collaboration and feedback are at the heart of this initiative. The SEWP contract is not just about procurement; it’s about fostering a symbiotic relationship between the government and industry experts.
The upcoming Industry Day on October 18th promises to be a melting pot of ideas, concerns, and solutions. So, whether you’re a potential vendor or a stakeholder remember to mark your calendar and be part of this collaborative journey. And as you navigate the complexities of government contracts, let the SEWP duck remind you that, with the right tools and insights, things can be “as easy as duck soup.”
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