18F

Boston uses CALC tool for buying tech

Thanks to 18F’s Contract-Awarded Labor Category (CALC) tool, Boston’s Department of Information Technology is now able to better assess and compare pricings it receives from responses to request for proposals.

Released in May as a research instrument for labor category and pricing, the CALC tool lets contracting officers search and analyze hourly rates for professional labor category positions based on historical pricing information.                 

Boston CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge explained that when the city’s IT department received labor prices from RFP respondents, contracting officers could compare those prices but had trouble discerning how the pricing aligns with what vendors are charging other government agencies.

 “CALC gives us a way to verify that we're getting reasonable rates and [allows us to] push back if we're not,” Franklin-Hodge said in response to questions by 18F. The CALC tool offers a wider, more informed view of the market, expanding available information from just what is provided by the vendors.

CALC can also provide a range of pricing for a specific labor category as well as comparable labor categories and rates that can be further filtered. According to 18F, this can help contracting officers decide which contracts warrant requests for quotations. 

The CALC database includes contract awarded prices for 48,000 labor categories from more than 5,000 recent GSA contracts.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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