Leveraging Xentity’s 8(a) certified status for sole-source acquisition

Blog post
edited by
Wiki Admin

Follow-on article to Accessing Xentity through a Simplified Acquisition which describes the 8(a) program and the simplified acquisition vehicles. In 2010, Xentity qualified, received certification, and began participating in the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development program – commonly referred to as just 8(a). Quick summary on 8(a);

Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, this program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses with a high potential for success to compete in the marketplace. It also helps these companies gain access to federal and private procurement markets. For more information on the program and its requirements, visit 13 CFR 124 (8(a) Business Development/Small Disadvantaged Business Status Determinations) as well as the 8(a) Business Development page to learn about benefits, eligibility standards, and goals of the 8(a) Business Development Program.(http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development)

For accessing Xentity services on larger tasks than $150,000,  there are larger vehicles up to $4 million for more mid-term tasks leveraging Xentity’s 8(a) certified status and accessing as a sole source acquisition. Here are some key points:

  • Xentity consulting services, products, and training can be acquired without more than a statement requesting sole source on the statement of work basis that goes into a request for proposal that requests “Recommend sole source award for Xentity Corporation, an 8(a) certified organization (CAGE #: 4Q8L9)“. 
  • These can be for contracts with task orders up to $4 million up to five years and the award cannot be protested or challenged as long as SBA determines Xentity to be eligible for the 8(a) program. 
  • Such requests can be presented as firm fixed price, time & materials or even Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) with initial task orders 
  • This can even be used again as such after the initial contract period is completed. 
  • If over the $4 million threshold, if there is not a reasonable expectation that at least two eligible and responsible 8(a) firms will submit offers at a fair market price, this can be treated still as sole source justified.
  • This process can take up to 60 days, though can sometimes be completed in one month, once the initial contact is made from the government technical point of contact with their acquisition lead. 

Summary of Steps

  • An agency can contact their acquisition office or their agency small business unit with a requirement, with an estimated value of up to $4 million, that could be awarded to an 8(a) company (non-manufacturing).
  • What needs to be put together is a basic statement of work through their normal drafting and review procedures that lists the tasks, deliverables, performance expectations, known as a Performance Work Statement (PWS).
    • What will be key, after going through a normal PWS review, the request should be annotated with – Recommend sole source award for Xentity Corporation, an 8(a) certified organization (CAGE #: 4Q8L9)
  • Thereafter, the agency acquisition lead will contact SBA with an offer letter and SBA will typically immediately return in kind an “acceptance letter” once internal work validates our active eligibility.
    • It is at that point, a RFP (request for proposal) will be issues directly to the registered Xentity point of contact.
  • Xentity will reply within one week with the technical and cost proposal(s) as requested, and in many cases, using Xentity’s GSA Schedules which further expedites the cost negotiation as rates have been pre-negotiated and already determined to be fair and reasonable.
    • If the proposed costs are not within the funding range expected, another round of negotiations may occur removing or adding scope.
  • Once accepted, a task order is issued to the SBA, and Xentity will begin working to the contracted task orders.

This is a much faster, and simple process for the government to acquire services from a pre-qualified source such as Xentity.

Federal Acquisition Regulation References

The aforementioned is based on the FAR and cites FAR 6 and FAR 19.8. The following helps capture the points cited.

As a quite important side note, Xentity actually consults, trains and advises other small and medium-sized businesses on doing business with the Federal Government, knowing the FAR, and compliant, responsible, and responsive business solutions is one of our primary services. 

For contracts up to $4M and up to 5 years, Xentity can be awarded a contract with MUCH less contracting procedural requirements than other means. This is because Xentity has “pre-competed” and has been certified as a small disadvantage busines with the potential for success, as SBA terms it. Per FAR 6.204 , Xentity, for our services, will not require additional justification to sole source

(a) To fulfill statutory requirements relating to section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, as amended by Pub. L. 100-656, contracting officers may limit competition to eligible 8(a) contractors (see Subpart 19.8).

 (b) No separate justification or determination and findings is required under this part to limit competition to eligible 8(a) contractors. (https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%206_2.html)

This means, the acquisition can be made a sole source with the additional FAR 6.302-5 provision citing 15 U.S.C. 637 (see Subpart 19.8

(b) Application. This authority may be used when statutes, such as the following, expressly authorize or require that acquisition be made from a specified source or through another agency:
(5) Sole source awards under the HUBZone Act of 1997—15 U.S.C. 657a (see 19.1306). (https://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%206_3.html)

In reviewing, FAR 19.805-2(d), additional contracts, task orders can be issued after the initial period of performance:

(d) The eligibility of an 8(a) firm for a competitive 8(a) award may not be challenged or protested by another 8(a) firm or any other party as part of a solicitation or proposed contract award. Any party with information concerning the eligibility of an 8(a) firm to continue participation in the 8(a) Program may submit such information to the SBA in accordance with 13 CFR 124.517.

 There are some cases where the award can be done this way over the $4 million threshold, under the general section in FAR 19.805-1(b).

(b) Where an acquisition exceeds the competitive threshold, the SBA may accept the requirement for a sole source 8(a) award if—

(1) There is not a reasonable expectation that at least two eligible and responsible 8(a) firms will submit offers at a fair market price; []

though, (c) does state, to not abuse the threshold by splitting into two series of acquisitions to get under the $4 million threshold

(c) A proposed 8(a) requirement with an estimated value exceeding the applicable competitive threshold amount shall not be divided into several requirements for lesser amounts in order to use 8(a) sole source procedures for award to a single firm.

Much more can be reviewed under Acquisition.gov – Subpart 19.8—Contracting with the Small Business Administration (The 8(a) Program) which covers the basic steps for acquiring a certified 8(a) contracting firm for its services. 

Accessing Xentity through a Simplified Acquisition

Blog post
edited by
Wiki Admin

In 2010, Xentity qualified, received certification, and began participating in the Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development program – commonly referred to as just 8(a). Quick summary on 8(a);

Named for Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act, this program was created to help small and disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace. It also helps these companies gain access to federal and private procurement markets. For more information on the program and its requirements, visit 13 CFR 124 (8(a) Business Development/Small Disadvantaged Business Status Determinations) as well as the 8(a) Business Development page to learn about benefits, eligibility standards, and goals of the 8(a) Business Development Program.(http://www.sba.gov/content/8a-business-development)

The following is a quick primer on one of the easiest 8(a) contract acquisition vehicles called a Simple Acquisition was is great for initial task orders or any task order under $150,000, which is the purchasing threshold. As noted in the ACQuipedia Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) .

They are designed for relatively simple Government requirements, and their use is subject to designated dollar thresholds. Examples of items commonly purchased using SAP include office supplies, computer software, and groundskeeping services.

 The purpose of simplified acquisition procedures is to:

  • Reduce administrative costs;
  • Improve opportunities for small, small disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran-owned, HUBZone, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns to obtain a fair proportion of Government contracts;
  • Promote efficiency and economy in contracting; and
  • Avoid unnecessary burdens for agencies and contractors.

The simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) is $150,000.

From our experiences, this vehicle works as advertised and is by far the easiest way to access Xentity on an initial task order. If your task order is over the  simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) is $150,000, but you want the work to get started, we have found this vehicle to be an excellent “bridge” vehicle to get the initial work started, while working on other longer-term vehicles.  For orders over this threshold, and up to $4 million, please review Leveraging Xentity’s 8(a) certified status .

Your contracting office is very familiar with the process, find it very simple, and as well, are usually very aware, of their requirements to meet small disadvantaged, and thus incented to work with you on such a task order request. In some cases, we have even found using this vehicle at times is even easier than adding a task order onto an existing large contract (i.e. BPA, IDIQ, GWAC), in the cases where Xentity and the prime have not worked together as many times a prime may see Xentity is a competitor versus a collaborator. 

The timing from conception to start of work can take 30 to 60 days, which in typical government acquisition terms is very fast. This is fast as Xentity is already pre-qualified as an 8(a) contractor, thus we can receive the award as a sole-source as we are already uniquely justified for acquisition as such. As well, we already have GSA-approved rates we can use in many cases which can accelerate the acquisitions office for validating fair and reasonable pricing. 

That being said, when, looking to acquire any of Xentity’s services on an initial task order for federal government work, in many cases, we recommend government agencies leverage the simplified acquisition vehicle.

How to start

If interested in Xentity consulting services, products, and training can be acquired without more than a statement requesting sole source via simplified acquisition on the statement of work basis that goes into a request for proposal that requests “Recommend sole source award for Xentity Corporation, an 8(a) certified organization (CAGE #: 4Q8L9)“. 

 

 

Xentity receives 8(a) status

Blog post
edited by
Wiki Admin

Xentity will begin its GSA Schedule application process in 2011 with hopes of schedule award in 2012. (NOTE: Xentity has received GSA Schedule as well as of 2012).

Xentity is a Small Business Administration 8(a) Business Development Program active participant. Federal Government clients, where justifiable, can access Xentity via simplified acquisition vehicles (up to $150,000), sole-source vehicles as defined task orders up front or IDIQ (up to $4,000,000, 5 years). 

Leveraging Our 8(a) certified status for sole-source acquisition

In short, the 8(a) status allows Xentity to prime and lead Federal contracts via simplified acquisition, sole sourcing opportunities. To learn more about 8(a), click here.

Why the name “xentity”?

Blog post
edited by
Wiki Admin

There are two general small talk questions we get asked a lot. The first is “How do you pronounce xentity?” Our usual answer is ZEN-i-tee, CENT-it-ee, zen-ti-TEE, X-EN-ti-tee . Going through life with a name like Tricomi, you hear them all – tric-OH-mee, TRIC-uh-mee, tric-OH-my. To-MAY-toe, To-MAH-toe. Then, we are asked, “OK, so what does it mean“? Thats the fun answer, in which, pending the listening audience, we give a one-liner or the full gist. Below is the latter.

=====

One week after September 11, 2001, Xentity was founded to help businesses restart after the tragedy. Leveraging our previous successful experiences in Travel Architecture (among other sectors – Financial, Energy, Education), we left our previous jobs and gained a contract to help a small business specifically focused on getting people traveling again. Of least priority, was a name.

In 2002, we still didn’t have a name. We were halfway through the first contract, but nameless. At the time, we were proposing business model designs for a prominent venture capitalist who was looking to properly invest in both a business services firm and its enabling IT services. He wanted to understand – does he spin-off IT services, does he run as division, does he sell it to mitigate risks or focus, does he co-invest with us? This reminded me of Orbitz per their name and organization. When doing architecture  proposal support then, they, among several dot-com engagements, weren’t letting us know or didn’t yet know what they would become, so the architecture couldnt be referred to as T2’s architecture, or a certain airline partners architecture, so in the documents we had put x entity’s architecture. This happened over a few proposals, architectures, and spin-off support. 

So, in 2002, we did it again. It was at that time we simply merged x and entity to make xentity. We slapped our first logo and name on our co-investment option with xentity in lower case and in aqua green colors with a grey shadow branded prominently. We only made it official in 2003 once we started with Federal contracts requiring the full formalities.

But, beyond the novelty, what I liked about the name is the homonym nature of it. “entity”, just like the dot-com example, allowed us flexibility in adjusting to the client based focusing and needing change. I wasn’t hitting a rolodex like most consulting firms start out. We were delivering new architecture for new or changing business models, and well, relying on our performance, and the clients executive relationships to say “you got to check these guys out – look what they did for me”. I didnt know if the client based would change, or types of services, topical areas, subject matter, level of executive advisory would change, size of client?

And to us x meant change. To digress, x in math typically is the defacto variable for an equation. And, when you are born with an equation in your namsake – Euler–Tricomi equation –   – you tend to have math and lots of x’s on your brain. Add on top of the years of advanced study in engineering, you see x’s in your sleep. Whether its a DIFFY-q (differential equation) where you are mathematically deriving the function as x changes, or you are trying to connect the business drivers, goals, products, technology, resources, and costs – you need to design for change – design for the x or change in your entity . 

All I knew is we started to focus on changing groups, entities. We wanted to help clients be more relevant, efficient, and impactful. I knew I wanted to be in change, find people who wanted to make an impact (not a body shop). We started because we wanted to be a part of getting the world flying again. We looked ten years into the future. As noted in our core architecture concepts, We could see the positive and negative disruption of the recent then of offshoring.  We were looking beyond the marketing and selling craze of the internet and tracking Moore’s law on digitized solutions would look to change how the world would communicate, learn, discover, and solve new problems. We wondered how could increasing interaction following Metcalfe’s law impact solutions and knowledge. We looked into how the online could impact the offline and vice-versa especially where once abundant resources were now either trending towards scarce or requiring new solutions. We knew their were so many variables, that change design, analysis, architecture, and planning was needed. We were wowed by veteran innovators – for instance, of course a fellow College Alum Dean Kamen, who hit pop fame with the Segway, but interested or more socio-technology solutions such as water for 3rd world. 

So, xentity it was. 

In the world of transformation consulting, managing change, leading change, or even just handling change we believe strongly is what will make businesses of this century more relevant and more efficient. With that in mind, when you read the concepts and services, you can likely now see, hopefully clearly, our focus, even in our name is on helping change your entity.

-Matt