Safe, secure, and sustainable today, tomorrow, and into the future – plus sharp cost savings for Federal agencies – were among the key takeaways from General Services Administration (GSA) officials who explained the benefits of GSA’s Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) communications contract on October 5 at an event organized by FCW.

Federal agencies have been working for the last few years to transition to the EIS contract, and away from Networx, WITS 3, and local telecommunications contracts. Most recently, agencies faced a Sept. 30 deadline to move telecom services to EIS, or sign memorandums of understanding for continuity of service periods that ultimately end in 2024.

In an August blog posting, GSA’s assistant commissioner for the Office of Information Technology Category Laura Stanton said that the EIS transition has been “slow for many federal agencies,” and that as of June 30, only 94 percent of planned task orders for transition have been awarded.

“We urge agencies to push toward completing 100 percent disconnection of services by September 30, 2022 and assess their risk of not completing transition by May 30, 2023,” Stanton said. “Those who need more time to transition must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be authorized to use the CoS period from June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2024.”

“The contract can meet a particular agency where it is on its modernization journey and where it needs to go,” said Tracy Malick, deputy director of GSA’s Enterprise Technology Solutions, said at the October 5 FCW event. “They can use it to best meet the challenges that they have to solve on their modernization journey.”

Also on the plus-side for EIS, Malick said that the contract features “about a 30 percent savings rate over the best commercial” telecommunications contracts that are available. Additionally, because the contract vehicle is already convenient to agencies, they won’t have to start the process from scratch, she said.

Loren Smith, GSA’s Director of Solutions Development in the Office of Enterprise Technology Solutions, referred to EIS as a “catch-all” service for emerging technologies.

“EIS contracts look at it as a holistic solution to meet agencies’ needs for their entire network – their architecture – including security, including cloud, the options are almost endless,” he said. “We want to look at all of the options that could be presented to every agency because every agency is different. They all have different missions that they have to support.”

The GSA officials left the audience with a warning about four key activities that will be at stake if agencies fail to transition to EIS in a timely way: daily operations, resources, national security, and future capabilities.

Most recently, the State Department awarded Verizon a $1.6 billion EIS contract for work at its numerous locations around the globe.

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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.