IT Category Management
The IT Category is one of ten categories in the Federal Governmentwide Category Management Framework. The government implemented category management to think more like an enterprise to buy smarter and more efficiently as a government.
Category Management is the practice of buying common goods and services that everyone already buys, but buying them smarter. Examples of these goods and services include office supplies, travel and lodging, information technology, and more.
The practical reason for category management is that because the government buys so much of these, it should buy like an enterprise, rather than independently operating agencies and components. Doing so is a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
For more on the federal framework, visit the Acquisition Gateway.
IT Category Management
Primarily the Governmentwide IT Category Management Program works in tandem with the governmentwide ITVMO to drive change in federal procurements and strengthen our vendor relationship management practices.
We are striving to advance category management principles at the market, agency, and vehicle level, breakdown barriers for small business and small disadvantaged businesses, as well as improving our use of made in america vendors, and we are also strengthening our supply chain by mitigating vendor concentration risks and increasing knowledge on top OEMs, buying trends, and emerging technologies to inform agency acquisition strategies.
Focusing initiatives to enable aid and support in federal and marketplace compliance by:
- Racial Equity -- boosting small business participation in the marketplace to improve market equity and diversity of suppliers, products, and services.
- Buy American -- increasing use of American-made products through stronger vendor relations and market confidence reporting and analysis.
- Supply Chain -- establishing standards across IT vehicles as well as increased agency awareness to reduce risks of vendor concentration, cybersecurity attacks, and other vulnerabilities.
- Climate Crisis -- analyzing IT spend and consumption costs to focus on sustainability.
- Cybersecurity -- translating cyber policies into acquisition best practices and strategies to eliminate use of products or vendors more susceptible to bad actors.
Brokering federal IT acquisition intelligence and resources by:
- Category Management Principles -- leveraging established best practices to ensure agencies are acquiring IT equitably, efficiently, and securely.
- Vendor Management Principles -- building strong relations with original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and small businesses to help maximize the likelihood that agencies are getting a good deal for the taxpayer by avoiding unnecessary costs and ensuring compliant solutions.
Category-wide Performance (Key Performance Indicators)
The core key performance indicators (KPI) are spend under management (SUM), cost avoidance, and small business utilization (SBU).
The IT Category sets annual targets and tracks monthly on how we are doing against that target. One of the primary goals of category management is to increase spend under management or “SUM” by decreasing use of Tier 0 solutions (or as we commonly call these types of solutions, Open Market).
Read more about measuring and evaluating your SUM and SBU KPIs on the Acquisition Gateway.
Federal targets as well as historical and year to date performance against Category Management KPI measures can be found on the Executive Summary Dashboard (ESD). There are views for governmentwide, category-specific, and department performance in the ESD.
Additionally, the ITVMO’s domain experts, analysts, and category program team are available to help. Annually, the program seeks out to meet with agencies. Interested in being one of those agencies? Contact us today at ITVMO@gsa.gov.
Governmentwide Cost Avoidance Methodology
There are many variations used to calculate Cost Avoidance amounts for services, which creates an inconsistent approach across contract vehicles. A standard methodology was created and maintained by the Governmentwide IT Category Program so that the federal IT Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) can be evaluated objectively and with confidence.
The Governmentwide Cost Avoidance Methodology provides an approach that uses the mid-point as identified as Previous Prices Paid by Functional Grouping. This method uses last fiscal year pricing data as a basis of comparison against current pricing instead of using published rates (Master Contract Ceiling) compared against current pricing, as in prior practices. The methodology also uses the concept of categorizing the costs by functional groups as defined by the newly updated Product Service Codes (PSCs), which were derived from the IT Financial Management industry best practice framework Technology Business Management (TBM).
The combination of using the immediate previous price paid for similar services and grouping costs by category provides several benefits such as:
- Realistic and conservative estimates - baseline measures are recent and consistent with best practices.
- Scalability - the methodology may be used by unpriced contracts.
- Standardization - results and data may be used for comparison across contracts and industry benchmarks.
The Governmentwide IT Category Program maintains the model and associated tools for running. The team is available for analysis of your vehicle solution. Contact us at ITVMO@gsa.gov.