Research Report: The Virtual Public Sector

SEWP V to make services easier to leverage

Services are a tricky component of SEWP. Being a products-oriented contract, SEWP is not designed to deliver the broad range of services that other GWACs do. But the SEWP program office aims to provide users with everything they need to implement the products and systems they purchase, and services are a necessary part of that equation.

As with everything else on the contract, it’s been an evolution. Under SEWP IV, users can purchase services for the initial installation and implementation of a product they buy through the contract, as well for such things as product training and site planning. There’s no limit on that purchase. Other labor services associated with the product order are capped at 10 percent of the total order amount.

Under SEWP V, on the other hand, there will be a five percent limit order limit for some services, but that doesn’t mean a cut in the overall amount of services agencies can use. In fact, just the opposite.

The amount of product-based services SEWP will provide on the next version of the contract has increased substantially, according to Joanne Woytek, SEWP program manager. Users will be able to fill an entire order with services, as long as they are within the scope of the contract.

“The five percent figure is for those kinds of services that are supported by other government contracts,” she said. “If you really want to do that [through SEWP], then by design it should only be a small part of the overall order.”

The product-based services bought through SEWP V also don’t have to be associated with any particular product purchase. If a user has a Cisco system already installed in their office but needs engineering help optimizing that, for example, they will be able to buy that help through SEWP V, up to 100 percent of the value of a single order.

SEWP customers had been asking for that capability, but the current 10 percent per order cap on such services precluded that, Woytek said.

The change in the percentage caps may confuse some people at the beginning, said Donna Norris, SEWP IV program manager at PCMG, but overall she doesn’t think it will be a big deal. Most SEWP customers are already very familiar with the use of initial implementation and installation services, and those services are not going to be capped.

“If it takes six months to install a system it takes six months,” she said. “Now, it’s a firm, fixed-price contract, and you can’t just use it to tick off hours, so you have to bid it carefully and accurately. But the current customers of SEWP mostly understand that.”

To be sure about what other services they can buy and when, customers should follow the same strategy for SEWP V that they would use for SEWP IV, she said. Take their requirements to the SEWP program office, which will tell them if SEWP is the right contract for them to use.

The SEWP support staff will be direct with that kind of advice, according to Woytek.

“We want people to focus on where we are centered, which is on the products and product services and not on general support,” she said. “There are better contracts for that.”

SEWP V, even more so than with SEWP IV, allows for the flexibility of future IT needs to be incorporated, she said, but it’s not the goal to be everything to everybody.

“But, if it’s within the scope of the contract, we want to make sure we have it available for them,” she said.