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Procurements, Process Improvements Aired at Vendor Forum

The latest California Department of Technology Vendor Forum offered IT companies the latest word on current and upcoming procurements as well as ongoing IT work and process updates.

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The year’s final month finds the state technology organization, its parent entity and other departments refining their processes around IT – and, not surprisingly, continuing to embark on significant IT projects.

This provided officials from the California Department of Technology (CDT), its sister entity, the California Department of General Services (DGS), and other state departments with a great deal to communicate to vendors on Wednesday at the latest CDT Vendor Forum. Techwire will continue to unpack the event in coming days. Among the takeaways:

  • Ana M. Lasso, DGS’ director, told attendees DGS’ overall theme for the coming year “includes collaboration, efficient procurement processes and sustainability through economic recovery, diversity and environmental stewardship.”
    “To this end,” Lasso said, “DGS will be working on several projects, such as ensuring state processes are updated and/or emphasized to encourage use of best values and value-effective awards to vendors and state-leveraged procurement agreements. This means a focus not just on low bid or high points but also on looking at quality reliability, innovation and the use of small-business and disabled-veteran enterprises.”
    DGS is collaborating with CDT, she said, to encourage challenge-based procurement models like Gov. Gavin Newsom’s request for innovative ideas. It’s also “updating the information technology related to general provisions to ensure the most up-to-date requirements are incorporated.” DGS is evaluating the state vendor pool “to identify succinct sustainable practices” and is offering training to state buyers on procuring “environmentally preferable goods and services.” The department also intends to boost the diversity of the vendor pool via Service-Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (SDVBE) participation programs, to afford those firms a greater chance to be involved; and to use digital platforms for document submission. DGS, Lasso said, “will be collaborating with the IT industry along the way,” and she encouraged vendors to contact Procurement Division Deputy Director Angela Shell “with any of your ideas related to these initiatives.”
  • DGS’ Procurement Division has released an invitation to negotiate (ITN) to “establish Master Service Agreements (MSA) for Technology, Digital and Data Consulting (TDDC) Services.” Here, “a lot of categories” have been expanded, and proposal submission is now automated, Carol Bangs, DGS’ acquisitions chief, told attendees. “We’re trying out some new things in this, and we’re hoping that we’ll have a very successful set of contracts at the end,” Bangs said.
  • The California Multiple Award Schedules’ (CMAS) portal and search functionality are now complete, Bangs said, noting that “some little nuances” continue to be worked out. It’s now possible, she said, for departments to search and find CMAS vendors and for “people that want to re-enter CMAS certification to renew their CMAS eligibility.” Application submission and quarterly reporting are now also possible via the portal – where previously, reports were emailed in Excel format. “We’re hoping that this is going to be helpful and faster for a lot of businesses that use this one,” Bangs said.
  • Represented by CDT, the California Department of Motor Vehicles is in pre-solicitation on a “state-to-state” solution – contractor-developed and DMV-owned and -maintained – that would enable “electronic communication between existing DMV systems and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) State to State (S2S) System (SPEXS 6.0) ... .” The state will seek “qualified bidders” to demonstrate their services. Bidder’s solution, per the pre-solicitation document, released Dec. 6, “must include a full suite of services that work with existing DMV systems and processes, including but not limited to hardware, software and network capabilities.” The post, the state said, “is not an active procurement.” Written feedback and confidential discussion requests are due by 9 a.m. Dec. 17; confidential meetings with potential bidders are Dec. 20-21; and a solicitation is expected Jan. 4, with a contract award date of March 1.
  • Coming in 2022 will be the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Servicesnext-generation 911 auxiliary procurements. Tiffany Angulo, CDT’s deputy director of statewide technology procurement, said this will be the next phase of procurements following the first phase award. “Now, we’re looking at call logging, analytics and chat interfacing,” Angulo said. There’s also the California Public Utilities Commission, which will release a solicitation regarding its LifeLine program, for vendors to host a system – with a large component of that being a call center. LifeLine provides discounted home phone and cellphone services to qualified households.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.