GPO rallying support, readying RFP for FDsys chief integrator

The Government Printing Office plans on issuing its solicitation for the chief integrator of its massive content management and data storage project by early March, with an award in mid-April, GPO officials said today.

Hosting its second industry day on its Future Digital System (FDsys), GPO officials also said they are continuing outreach not only to Congress and the executive branch but within the agency itself, where support for the project is still being firmed up.

Noting that there are about 2,500 people within GPO with an interest in the project, Mike Wash, chief technical officer, said the FDsys program management office is making the rounds.

'There are aspects of the FDsys' focus on information content that touches all aspects of this agency,' Wash said. 'I think we're making pretty good progress, but it's going to take time.'

The program management office also is meeting with congressional committees and several agencies as FDsys moves forward, Wash said.

FDsys, a $29 million project, will digitize nearly every federal document published since the birth of the nation, starting with the 1787 Federalist Papers, transforming the way GPO collects, authenticates, stores and shares federal documents.

GPO held its first industry day on the project in October, when it envisioned issuing an RFP for a master integrator in December, with a contract award the following month.

But interested vendors urged the agency to issue a draft RFP instead, which GPO did last month, so they could provide comment on how the project will be managed. The master integrator will be responsible for developing and integrating the various technologies, including some that are commercially available, into the system.

With comments on the draft RFP in, GPO said today it now anticipates issuing a final RFP in late February or early March, with an award in mid-April. And even with the initial delay in issuing the RFP, GPO still anticipates the project reaching initial core functionality in 2006.

Scott Stovall, GPO's deputy chief technical officer, said the agency made a few changes to its contract strategy because of the vendor feedback.

For example, the RFP will no longer be a fixed-price contract with a statement of work, he said. Instead, GPO will release a statement of objectives and collaborate with the vendor on how to integrate the different technologies and systems into FDsys.

One common theme in the feedback was 'our integration process was defined too clearly,' Stovall said.

'We received hundreds of pages of comments on the draft,' Wash said. 'So we'll be going through that and incorporating the comments' into the final RFP.

The agency also contracted with Steven Stryker & Associates of Rockville, Md., to help them through the RFP process, Wash said.


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