Friday, December 30, 2016

2017 - The Year of the GWAC

Recently Bloomberg Government (BGov) released a study stating GWACs hit a record $10 billion in 2016. 

I agree it was a record year, but the total was slightly over $15 billion, not the $10 billion reported by BGov. From the GSA GWAC dashboard, a call to the SEWP office and having worked with NITAAC during most of 2016, I knew the numbers: GSAs combined GWACs nearly $6.2 billion, NITAACs 3 GWACs almost $5 billion, and SEWP came in at about $4 billion.

Everett Dirkson would be impressed, because now we're talking real money.

Overall a good year across the board for the eight GWACs: 8(a) STARS II,  Alliant, Alliant Small Business, CIO-CS, CIO-SP3, CIO-SP3 Small Business, SEWP V, and VETS,

Why the seemingly "sudden" growth? There are several factors.

First, and perhaps most obvious, many of the companies that own prime spots on the GWACs are out there actively pushing these vehicles to their customer and prospect base. The contracts offer lower fees for agencies than the GSA Schedules, are very easy to use, and have a broad range of products and services. The companies that are most successful on GWACs - even small companies - are aggressive in promoting those GWACs. Just look at the growth of Red River, a top SEWP perfomer over the past several years.

Which leads to factor two: OEMs and service providers love GWACs. OEMs without access to GWACs have limited access to Federal buyers. When Oracle announced it would no longer make products available on any GSA Schedule, do you think it hurt their sales?

Probably not, as their partners in the GovCon arena own spots on multiple GWACs and other IDIQs. One major partner, DLT Solutions, is on SEWP V, CIO-CS and has an Army BPA for Oracle. Oracle's departure from GSA Schedules will hurt Schedule 70, not Oracle.

I advise hardware manufacturers to talk to both NITAAC and SEWP directly, then to look for key contract holders, preferably companies that have spots on both contracts. Adding new OEMs on SEWP and CIO-CS takes hours, not weeks or months. I often assist OEMs in their search for right channel partners.

Another factor contributing to the growth is the number of sub-contracts for these vehicles is growing. Most of the prime contract holders welcome the new subs if it is a good fit for them and the contract. Joanne Woytek of SEWP, Casey Kelley of Alliant and Rob Coen, then with NITAAC but now at FEDSIM all discussed this aspect of their respective contracts when they were guests on my radio show on Federal News Radio. GWACs and IDIQs are frequent topics on my show.

If you don't have a prime spot on one of the GWACs, look for a partner that does.

Yet another factor is that each of the GWAC program managers will spend time with any agency contract shop explaining how and why to use their contracts, as well as the lower fees and the ease of use. SEWP and NITAAC are quite active in this.

We are also seeing more contract specific training events, a key to educating both buyers and sellers. I have moderated GWAC panels at conferences like 930Gov  and the Government Procurement Conference because of the growing popularity of GWACs. Alliant and SEWP both have major events in January 2017.

Then there is the FITARA halo effect. NITAAC has e-GOS, a dashboard that allows the agency (and the contractor) to see and download their entire transaction history: date, price paid, vendor, product/service, SIN, delivery and much more. This helps the buying agency when it does FITARA reporting. SEWP is launching a similar dashboard in 2017.

As FITARA will probably be with us for a while, the dashboards will make reporting almost seamless, making the contracts more attractive to CIOs.

Although there are other factors at play, when you tally the pluses of GWACs against the mis-adventures of strategic sourcing (FSSI), TDR and other GSA Schedule changes, GWACs come out looking like manna from heaven for both buyers and sellers.


If by chance you will be at the SEWP conference in January, 2017, I'd like to meet with you to discuss marketing tactics for your contract. I will be at the conference on January 11th. Shoot me an email and we can set a time to meet - 

I have been advising companies on marketing GWACs since 1995 and the 2nd GWAC ever awarded- SuperMini.

Have a successful 2017!

Mark Amtower