The Scoop on SEWP
Author: Helene Johnson, President Bid2Win Consulting, January 7, 2021
As a member of the Bid2Win Orchestra, we wear many hats depending on the job at hand. Last month I had on my BD hat. I was asked to learn about NASA IT.
When I heard NASA IT, the first thing that came to my mind is NASA SEWP. Why? Because I have seen the SEWP folks at so many conferences over the years and wanted to know more. So I hit Google and found a great podcast interview with JoAnne Woytek, the SEWP Program Director of NASA. This interview captured my attention for many reasons. I learned that the SEWP program went from $4B to $9B, which made me want to know the secret because that’s quite some growth. But the main thing that caught my attention is from my misperception that SEWP is a vehicle the government uses to just buy product.
Since we at Bid2Win don’t represent product companies (yet), SEWP wasn’t a vehicle we paid a lot of attention to – until now. Did you know that SEWP sells services around the products they sell? I sure didn’t! So my wheels started turning and I needed to know more! And what’s the best way to know more? Go directly to the source. It doesn’t hurt that I was in the same IAC Partners class with the JoAnne. Plus I haven’t seen Joanne since the last NIH Children’s Inn gala so now we can catch up too. Joanne was gracious enough to talk SEWP 101 with me. Here are the highlights to share with you – our wonderful blog readers:
Main facts you can all use:
1. As mentioned above, if you provide services around a product that is sold on SEWP, pay attention – this is for you! For example, let’s say you install and deploy a product (I used Salesforce as an example with JoAnne), you can be included on a SEWP bid. Application configuration and applications built to support existing commercial products like Salesforce are also in scope. Services that are post-installation such as administrating a network are also fully in scope. Now – before you wonder, if you develop an app from scratch for a specific customer or you provide general business support, that doesn’t count. The key word is support, NOT develop. Think about this. How many of you deploy COTS or GOTS for your client, or want to. This is what really got me curious.
2. They have an Industry Team supported by their contractor and the lead is Ken Brown (who I have known socially for many, many years and got to catch up with him over this as well). On the federal side, his counterpart is George Nicol. The industry team is responsible for interfacing with Industry to understand how to leverage the vehicle (search for teams, etc.) If you go to the SEWP website, you can use the Provider Tool to find products and companies on SEWP. Check that out and reach out to the Industry Team for help – firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. SEWP has prime contractors – 141 of them to be exact. These are the only folks that can bid on requests from the government for solutions under SEWP. They are the recipients of program level orders. You can find out more about them using the Provider Tool (under SEWP Tools) and the Contract Holders menu link at www.sewp.nasa.gov. Their goal is to put together teams and solutions that will win the work, just like with every other vehicle in the marketplace. So, it’s very important for them to know that you exist and what you do with deployment of product. It’s no different from subbing to other primes. They need to know you exist, are a vendor supporting products covered by SEWP that they can access, and why they should add you to their bid.
4. Want to be one of the 141 prime contractors? Let us help you work that capture now! SEWP VI is coming out in 2025. Did I mention that each prime contractor has a $2B ceiling on their vehicle? Yes, $2B for everyone not vehicle wide. Plus, knowing JoAnne, I bet it will look and feel a lot different next go around.
Now for some fun facts:
1. SEWP is the 2nd largest vehicle in the Government. The first is the GSA MAS. But SEWP is the only vehicle outside of GSA used by every agency.
2. Agencies (such as DHS among others) have set up their own catalogs on SEWP and limit who can access them for security reasons.
3. The S in SEWP has changed and now stands for Solutions, which should have been a clue, right?
4. SEWP is out of NASA because it started in the 90s at NASA to help the folks at Goddard buy hardware. It became more and more successful, and to this day, NASA is still the home for this vehicle. GSA tried to take over SEWP but NASA held tight.
5. Their icon is a rubber duck! I asked why? Here's the answer: The ducks came to be associated with SEWP (pronounced ‘soup’) based off the saying “it will be as easy as duck soup.” The ducks were further inspired by the Marx Brothers’ movie ‘Duck Soup.’ From Wikipedia: The phrase ‘duck soup’ is an old Americanism that has been around since at least 1902. It refers to something that is very easy; a cinch; a breeze. It has been in constant use for 100 years, although it is admittedly becoming less and less common as time goes on. The most interesting thing about the duck logo is that no one knows where it came from – but you do now.
6. Speaking of FAQs – there is a treasure trove of information about SEWP in the knowledge base. Click on FAQ on their main page to search.
8. SEWP holds monthly tech talks where they share information with anyone who wants to learn.
So, that's the SEWP Scoop? If any of you want to explore SEWP and how to jump in, we at Bid2Win can help you. Please reach out to our resident expert Bob Johnson via email: email@example.com or by phone: 202-368-3732. With as much success as SEWP has had, those in industry who didn't know about their solutions and services angle sure were missing out - until now.