UPDATE: 18 more ACCENT awards were made on March 6, 2018. These awards went to 12 large businesses and 6 small businesses, with contracts lasting until February 2020. All of the contractors, old and new, can provide services to all agencies across DOD.
In February, the Army awarded contracts to 50 large and small businesses for the $248.7 million opportunity known as the Army Cloud Computing Enterprise Transformation, or ACCENT. While the contract ceiling is not as large as some other major programs in the booming IT sector, its unique procurement set-up, important mission, and opportunity for extension/expansion make it a very interesting program.
As a part of the Joint Information Environment goals, which spurred the Joint Regional Security Stack (JRSS) procurement, the Army has made the transition to the cloud a procurement priority. In order to move forward with a more uniform approach to cloud migration, the Army created ACCENT, which:
provides an Army contract vehicle to procure technical support for transition of Army enterprise systems/applications migrating to a commercial cloud environment or an Army Enterprise Hosting Facility (AEHF). These requirements are in support of the Army Data Center Consolidation Plan (ADCCP) modernization and migration requirements. The Army is moving designated IT applications, systems and associated data to authorized commercial cloud service providers (CSP) and consolidating data centers to AEHFs.
ACCENT’s goals will be accomplished through three main areas:
- Cloud Hosting: through Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), or Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud service models
- Transition Support: including application and security analysis, engineering, and training
- Modernization: including developing new software and applications, modernizing legacy systems, and enhancing security
Importantly, ACCENT will be using the Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA) model of procurement. According to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), a BOA is not in and of itself an actual contract. But it is a written instrument of understanding which includes, at the very least: terms and clauses which can be applied to future contracts, descriptions of the supplies/services to be provided, and the methods of actually pricing and ordering the services under the BOA. This means that although these BOA’s do not constitute any guarantee of contracting dollars for the company, the contracting clauses can easily be implemented in a new order. Not only will the ACCENT orders be procured through these BOA’s, but it will be done through the Army Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) IT e-Mart, something we have covered in-depth before. CHESS, traditionally used for hardware and software procurement, will allow the Army more control over a familiar procurement process.
The BOA’s will last 3 years, with potential task orders going to a range of companies from Amazon Web Services and Booz Allen Hamilton in the large-business category, to companies including FWG Solutions and Jasper Solutions in the small-business category. This is the first big step by the Army in the direction of modernization, and it will present an important test for both the contractors and the procurement model.
This follows a consistent trend in Federal procurement for IT modernization and cybersecurity, with programs like the Air Force SBEAS still shaping up, GSA planning the massive Enterprise Infrastructure Services vehicle, and increasing competition among the GWACs and GSA’s IT Schedule 70.
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