Mitigating Transition Delays

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>>Good afternoon everyone. Scott Sizemore here from the
Transition Coordination Center. We’re here from American Systems and we have several subject
matter experts around the room to present the material
to you today. But before we get
started, I want to go over some housekeeping
rules, and we have about — we’re just shy of about half
of our participants logged in right now, so I
expect that there’s going to be many people joining so
we may have to repeat some of this at some point. But the first thing I want to
let you know, as you can see on the screen there, is that
this meeting is being recorded and will be available
later for access on GSA’s Interact website once
we get through all the process to make that available. That’ll be up and available. So if you want to hear it again, you can find it eventually
and listen to it. Second bullet is there. We ask you to mute all of
your computer microphones and telephones and anything that can make noise
on the distant end. If you don’t, we’ll get
feedback or other noise that will drive everybody crazy. So if you haven’t
already, go ahead and mute whatever device you
have and turn off any speaker from projecting into anything. So that’ll help us. And I’m sure we’ll
make several reminders. We’ve got over 250
participants registered. There’s going to
be a lot of people. There’s usually some
offenders and we’ll deal with them as they come up. The second thing that we’d
ask you to do is once we get over to the presentation,
there will be a question and answer pod that
will be visible. And we ask you to put your
questions, any question that you have pertaining to the
material, load it into the Q and A pod and we will
see that here on this end and we’ll take time throughout
the presentation to pause and answer those questions
and address any comments. And also open the phone
line really for dialogue. So one thing we would
ask you to do though is if you have a specific
question on a specific slide, please put the slide number in. So we’ve got a hot
mic on the other end. Could you please mute your mic?>>At Red Horse.>>At Red Horse. So please mute that
mic on the distant end. Thank you. We do encourage collaboration and participation it is a
workshop, very much a back and forth format,
not just a lecture. You’ll also see when we get
over to the presentation, that you can download a copy of
today’s slides in the Files pod. Just click on that and you’ll
be able to download that. You’ll see it as
pretty self-explanatory. If you have any questions,
put those in the Q and A pod and we’ll tell you
how to get that done. Finally, at the end when
we wrap everything up and we’ve taken all the
attendance and everything and we know exactly who is here, we will be sending completion
certificates and those of you that need continuous
learning point credit. There is 1.5 CLPs
offered for this course. Finally, my last slide in this
welcome portion is to talk about what happens if the audio
or the video capability go down or we have problems with it. On this slide — I don’t
expect you to copy this. We have an email
that we’ll send out, but we do have a backup
Adobe Meeting Space room and we’ve even got a
backup to the backup. So hopefully we won’t have
to use either one of those. But if we do, every registered
participant will receive an email. We’ve got that all
queued up and ready to go. Just give us a few minutes
to work through that, look in your email, and you’ll
be directed to where to go to join a backup session. So that’s it for
the welcome portion. I’m going to drop over to
the workshop portion now. Now you’ll see the chat pod. You’ll see the files pod over
in the right-hand corner. And to download that
presentation, if you just click on it one time, then the
download button at the bottom of that pod will open up
and you’ll be able to save that to your computer and follow
along or reference back to it. So with that, I will
turn the floor over to our first speaker
which is Debbie Hren.>>Good afternoon, everyone,
or good morning if you are in another time zone
or if you stayed up late watching the
Nationals win the World Series. It feels like morning. We can sleep in tomorrow
or go to bed early tonight. I’m Debbie Hren. I am the Director of the
Transition Program for GSA and Transition to EIS. Today we have what we hope is an
exhilarating workshop for you. We have a room full of
subject matter experts on how to mitigate transition delays. And I would like
to especially thank and welcome our EIS contractors
who are participating with us today, bringing
their perspective and their insights
to share with you. As Scott said, we do expect this
to be an interactive discussion with plenty of opportunities
to pause in the presentation to give you a chance to
share your own stories, best practices, lessons learned
and ask questions of the experts that we have available. So please don’t hesitate to
give a comment, put a question in the Q and A pod or speak up
during the open Q and A period. So we’re going to start
with this roadmap and then through the series of
speakers that we have here, we’ll talk about the
objectives of the workshop and some background information. And then moving to
installation intervals and understanding strategies
for mitigating delays that are possible during
the implementation process, with a conclusion
to follow that. So always a good starting point,
whether you’ve been with us since we started this
transition planning in 2015 or if you’ve just
joined into this program, it’s good to take a look at the
schedule and the roadmap for how to get to the end goal. And that end goal is of course
to have all the services that are on our expiring
contracts — that’s Networx, WITS 3 and the
regional local service contracts — disconnected from those
contracts before they expire in May of 2023. Ideally those services
will be replaced on EIS. And that implementation of those
replacement services is what we’re going to talk about today. So the first milestone that
we had in the near term was to have all of the agency’s
task orders awarded on EIS, or the replacement services
by the end of September, three weeks ago or so. Four weeks ago. Unfortunately, we had only one
agency that met that milestone. So what that means is everyone
is at risk of having delays in implementation that further
complicate their ability to meet that May 31st, 2023 deadline. So work is backlogged
already and what we need to do is explore options for expediting what
comes after this. And we will be keeping a
close eye on task order awards between now and March
31st of 2020. And after that time we
will be looking at how to limit the agencies that can
use the extended contracts based on what progress they’ve made
in awarding their task orders as well as many other factors on
the agency-specific situations that we will consider for what
happens after March of 2020. And then what’s not depicted
on here but you’ll see it on our website,
GSA.gov/eistransition, the next big measured
milestone is to be 50% disconnected
in March of 2021. Followed by 90% disconnected
in March of 2022, and that gives us a
little breathing room to capture only those things
that fell off of plans and perhaps had realized
risks of implementation delays that were unforeseen before the
contracts expire in May of 2023. So that’s the big picture
of where we are going. So with that I am going to turn
it back over to Scott Sizemore to take us into the workshop.>>Thank you, Debbie. So you can see the objectives that we’ve established
for today. We’re going to talk about — and you know, we
hope that at the end of the day everybody
can recognize some of the common transition
delays that are out there. And then also more importantly,
you know, number two is to understand and to be able to
apply those effective strategies to help mitigate
delays on your end. So that’s our objectives. Pretty straightforward
and simple. I want to talk about just
briefly next our panel of subject matter experts. You’ve heard from Debbie. In just a moment
you’re going to hear from Bill Kinter
and Chris Hamby. Also in the room with us
today are Jasper Saunders from Met Tel, Andrea
Hudson from AT&T and Nick Mattich
from BT Federal. They’re all here
with us in the room. And there are other subject
matter experts that are joined on the phone with us as well. Just another reminder to mute
please on the distant end if you can, unless you
are going to speak up. If we mute everybody it also
mutes our subject matter experts on the distant end and it just
becomes too much of a problem to try to coordinate that. So we have to live
with and trust that everybody will be
able to pay attention on their end and
mute themselves. So without further ado I’m going to turn the floor
over to Bill Kinter.>>Thank, Scott. So I wanted to give you the
background of the material that we’re going
to go over today. So back in June, Debbie, Chris
and I had individual meetings with all nine of
the EIS contractors. And these meetings went
about two hours each. One of the things that we
asked the contractors to do was to come to the meeting
with a list of those items that they thought had
the greatest potential to cause delays in
implementations and also any mitigation
strategies or steps that they would recommend to
try to keep these kind of delays to an absolute minimum. So the content that we’re
going to go over with you over the next hour
and a half or so comes from the EIS contractors
when they submitted these. A lot of the items were common
items, depending on, you know, whatever your perspective
and background may be. Oftentimes they’re
the exact same things that cause these delays. And you will see, you know,
a little overlap as we go through these from item to item. But, what we’d like you to do
today is during this workshop, for you agency personnel out
there, we want you to feel free to chime in, bring up challenges
that you’ve had in the past. You know, tell us your
war stories and we have, as Scott said, you know, a
few in the room and many more on the bridge from
the EIS contractors. We’re all here to try to talk
through these potential delays. So feel free to share
your challenges and get your questions answered. Okay, Scott, next. So we wanted to start out with
what we’re calling real-world installation intervals. And these are from Networx. So we picked several
different services and we went in to the Networx’s
data that GSA has. And you can see some of
these are a lot of days. And if you look at SOA’s in
the Networx contract, you’d go, “Wow, these are a lot
longer than what we see in these service level
agreements and in the different, you know, published intervals.” Well, this is real-world stuff. The reason why we
wanted to start and show you these intervals is
the kind of things we’re going to talk about here help
contribute to how long it takes, you know, to get from order to
service order completion notice. And the more that we can shrink
these things out under EIS, probably the shorter some
of these intervals will be. So if you want to go
to the next slide. So as we go through these, the format we’ve developed
we’re going to show you, you know, what the example is. And then we’re going to talk about EIS contractor
actions and agency actions. So for these intervals,
what we would really like the contractors
to do is take advantage of this kind of data. You know, these are real-world. These aren’t some kind
of fantasy things. And use this kind of data to help construct realistic
implementation plans. You know, it doesn’t do
any good to have that plan that we’ve all seen
with the line that becomes a big
hockey stick and you know, and then a miracle
occurs right at the end. We’ve all seen those. We know they don’t work. So we want realistic
implementation plans. And we also are challenging
the EIS contractors to educate agencies on the risks
that can exist between what are in the contract installation
SLA’s and intervals, and
actual delivery. We’ve got a lot of people
who know what it takes to actually get things
up and running. On the agency side, for these
real-world intervals, you know, we highly, highly recommend
you work very closely with the EIS contractor that
you’ll work your task order to. Look in the EIS contract,
and it talks about task order
project plans, TOPPs. You should be doing
task order project plans for your task orders. And we also recommend that
these are formal documents that the agency should sign and also the EIS
contractor should sign. You ought to look each other
in the eye and have agreement. This is a plan, this
is realistic and this is what we’re
going to execute against. And then also agencies need to
work to mitigate the known risks that are agency
responsibilities. You know, a lot of the
things we’re going to go through here today are things
that the agency does control. And so we want to make sure
you’re working those items. So let’s go on to
the next one, Scott. So, one of the first
things that can cause delays that the EIS contractor shared with us is agencies getting
their people registered in the contractor
business support systems. I think everybody’s well
aware GSA put all nine EIS contractors, you know,
kind of through the ringer and made sure these BSS
systems work properly. They had to pass a
lot of tests there. And now it’s time to
start using those. EIS contractors shared with us
there can be a lot of time lost between when that agency
makes that task order decision and issues that task order
and when users can log in and really start
using the systems. So EIS contractors,
we’ve asked them. At your kickoff meeting, right
after you award your task order, have this on your list. Agencies, you need to
figure out in advance who should have access
to what data in those business
support systems. Because the contractors need
to know this right up front. Not only do they need to
help you get registered, but a lot of our nine EIS
contractors have training that’s all been developed
and is all ready to go on how to use these systems. But you’ve got to be
registered to use the training. For agencies, we really want
you to have a sense of urgency in figuring out your personnel, who should have access
to this information. At this point, let me pause. Do we have any of our EIS
contractor experts that would like to add a little
color commentary here? Nick?>>Bill, this is
Nick with BT Federal. Just to add to that,
particularly for the agencies, the use cases within
the EIS contract for the BSS are not
particularly clear. And so besides registering
and appropriate access, what are the roles — the question we would like to
know are, what are the roles that the agencies
see for individuals which governs their access to
the information in the BSS? Are they going to
be placing orders? Are they just going to
be looking at inventory? Are they going to be looking
at financial information? Are they just a site point of
contact with no other access? So just defining
the roles up front of how agency staff will use
the BSS if at all will help to clarify that relationship
at the kickoff and help to determine the appropriate
access of data because one of the clearest requirements of the BSS is role-based
access control. So we need to define
the role up front when we grant access to a user.>>Okay, thanks.>>Hi. Nick, thanks
for those points. I’d like to add — my
name is Andrea Hudson. I’m with AT&T. And AT&T is also
established one step further. And that is for the agency to
identify one point of contact that will manage those roles
and responsibilities, right? It’s very important. The first step is that the
commercial vendor receive the task order award, and
then the second is to establish your architectural
hierarchy code structure. That is key in, you know,
assigning or making sure that this particular or
that particular project or program is assigned to that
particular, you know, project. The third thing is the customer
is responsible, like I said, for naming an individual to
manage the multifactor access and your role-based controls.>>Okay. Thanks.>>This is Jasper from Met Tel. Just kind of Captain
Obvious, the point I was going to make here is that if
you haven’t done so already and this is a great time to
kind of collect and refresh who can currently make orders in your organization
now, to do that. That’s the obvious I think
kind of step one into figuring out who needs access
and who can get ahead of that and analyze that. If you don’t have it already,
you definitely want to get to that prior to kickoff.>>Okay. Thanks very
much for those points. So, Scott, let’s
go on to — yeah?>>This is Kathy
Hadley from NASA. So not only do we have to do
those, define all those roles for the GSA Conexus system,
we have to do the same thing for whatever vendor we award to? I thought the purpose of
Conexus was for us to be able to submit orders and
to check our billing. So why are we having to do
that with the vendors as well?>>So there may be elements
of the vendor BSS system that you would be using for — that you wouldn’t be using
going through Conexus. You know, the first
one that would come to my mind is maybe
trouble ticket management or something like that. So you know, Kathy, I think
what you need to do is just, you know, sit down with your EIS
contractor you award your task order to and walk
through and say, “Hey, here’s the functionality
we’re using in Conexus.” You know, you shouldn’t
have to do it two places if you’re using Conexus
for ordering or something. But there may be
other functionality that you want to tap. And you know, really only your
EIS contractor can sort that out and tell you what
those things would be.>>Okay.>>Does that make sense?>>Can I add to that?>>Yeah.>>This is Andrea with AT&T. So the BSS for AT&T will — you will not only be able
to track the progress of your report or your
project, I’m sorry, but you see things
real-time, right? You can input or add
new business or orders and you can also
check your inventory. You can schedule testing. You can create manageable
reports that you may need, as well as view your billing.>>Yeah, we wanted to do
all that as much as possible through Conexus so that
we’re getting one thing. So we should be able to
view our billing in Conexus. We should be able to view
our order status in Conexus. So I mean that’s what
we’re paying GSA for. So we’re trying to use
Conexus as much as possible so that we get standard across the board information
back on our task orders.>>Okay, good. Thanks for sharing that. Okay, the next element that
we wanted to go over — and by the way, these are
in no particular order. We don’t have these ranked top
to bottom or bottom to top. You know, they mostly
pretty much stand alone. We’ve tried to group some of
these where it made most sense. So, the next one is
project management. And you may go, “Well,
duh, Bill. You know, yeah, we know
we have to do this.” But here are some of the things
the EIS contractors shared with us. And these are really pretty
much lessons from the past. So, project scope not
being well defined. And this will impact schedules. You start to get into the
heat of your implementation, you’re trying to do so
many sites, you know, turn up so many sites a
week or something and all of the sudden the
agency’s going, “Well, gee, we need you to also do this, this and this thing
over here too.” And that scope creep can just
upset any kind of schedule, especially if it’s, you
know, gotten to the point where it’s operating really well and you’re clicking off
sites on a weekly basis. So we want to look carefully for
scope not being well defined. Another item, necessary
equipment not budgeted for by agencies. We had a few different
contractors tell us, you know, they’ve had projects in the
past where they start to get into things, there’s equipment
that is supposed to be supplied by the agency and the
agency went like, “Whoops. Well, not only did we
miss that but now we have to find the money for that.” Third item we had under
project management, identifying critical
infrastructure in sites that are dependent on other
sites to make sure connectivity. You know, in the old days
there was an awful lot of spoke designs
and things that even in today’s flatter
network designs, just the way you
operate, you know — one site may be dependent
on another. You need to know those
going in and you need to make sure you communicate
those to your EIS contractor. The next one, agency contractor
staffing not available. What we’re talking
about here is many, many agencies now
outsource their operations and their telecommunications
to third-party vendors. This can even go as far
as like TEMS support where they may be
helping you with ordering. It could be your
lands are managed by a third-party vendor
that you have hired. If you’re still using a
PBX independent on that, PBX maintenance or
putting new cards in slots on that could be managed
by one of these vendors. You need to make sure they’re
part of the implementation team and have them onboard for
the project management and the planning. Next one, avoiding in-flight
orders when scheduling. So I think it’s pretty universal that across telecommunications
providers, their systems are designed, they
can work one order at a time. And you can’t have
multiple orders trying to hit the same facility,
the same port or whatever at the same time. So you have to be
very, very careful about you know do you have
a change order pending on this site? And then you want to put
in a new installation order against that site;
they could conflict. So you want to be very,
very careful with that. And a lot of that
starts with inventory and making sure your
inventory is good. Okay. Now let’s go on to what
we’ve seen as the contractor and agency mitigation actions. And these we didn’t split
into a list for contractor and a list for agency. Because the more we looked
at it, we said, “Folks, you’ve got to be hand-in-hand
on these when you do these.” So number one of course,
and this is pretty much mom and apple pie, up-front planning
along with formal agreement on the scope, staffing,
roles and responsibilities. You know, if you look in the
EIS contract in G.3.3.3.3 – you ought to be able
to remember that one. Look in there, that’s
where it talks about the task order
project plan. There’s a lot of good
information in there to make sure that you hit all
the different sections that’ll serve you well. Because you need to identify,
you know, your processes, your staffing, your
scheduling, your procedures, tools implementation
of the task order. And for those that have
been around for a long time, people know doing this under a
task order type scheme is a lot different than the way
things were done in the past. So we’re looking for
those contractors to deliver those task order
project plans to the OCO. And as we said, we’re recommending those be
formally approved and signed. You know, and make sure
you have these agreements in place before you
start executing. And so let me with that — that kind of brings us to
the end of that section. Let’s kind of open it
up for some questions. And do we have — I don’t
see any open questions in the Q and A pod. If you have a question, you
can type it in, put your name. As Scott said in the beginning,
if it’s a question that popped into your head when you were
looking at a certain slide, reference that slide number
when you do that if need be. But do we have any verbal
questions at this time?>>Bill, I don’t
have any questions.>>Okay.>>But I’ve got a couple of contractor comments
if you don’t mind.>>Okay.>>Okay. So I just wanted to
kind of go back, you know, a couple slides there. Slide number ten we talked about
some of those in-flight orders. And after putting together
some of our plans — so you know, specifically
looking into our transition plans — we want to make sure
that as we are working — you know, the agencies and the
contractors working together — we want to make sure that we
bring up any transformations or any pending orders
that are planned. That we can go ahead
and incorporate that into our transition
planning. Because as we go to look for
that transition execution, anything that is in flight
is going to cause a fallout and that’s going to cause
us to go ahead and miss some of those cycles and cause
delays for you guys. On top of that, you
know, as we’re working on transition planning on slide
11, we talk about kind of part of our project management
function. One of the things that is
imperative is having an accuracy in our inventory. And so we want to make
sure it’s, you know, it’s not a one-size activity as we’re working
agency and contractor. To go ahead and work
through that inventory, make sure we have 100% agreement
on what we’re going to go ahead and try to be bringing over in
terms of services, features, equipment and those
configurations. Because we want to make
sure as we’re pulling things across that, you know,
everything that’s expected to move over from one contract to the other actually
does move across. Because we don’t want
to orphan any services on those old contracts.>>Thanks, Steve. Appreciate those comments. Okay, we have a question
in the Q and A pod. Let me read it here. This person is saying that their
EIS contractor contact stated — and if you can get
that up there. GSA has not really explained to
us what the process should be when receiving task orders. What am I supposed to do?>>Actually I think
this was Chad. Chad, if you wouldn’t
mind coming off mute and telling us a little more
about what the situation is.>>Can you guys hear me?>>Yes.>>Yes.>>Thank you.>>Excellent. All right, so I’ve been speaking
with and I hate to name names, but I won’t name his name. He’s a federal contracts
manager for CenturyLink. How about that? And that’s verbatim from the
email I received from him. That was back in the
middle of September. And I’m freaking out because
here we are getting near the finish line for making
these transitions and I’ve not heard
anything from them. And as the little guy on
this end of the phone, I don’t know what to do next. But when CenturyLink’s telling
me they don’t know what GSA or how they’re supposed
to manage these orders, I have to move somewhere. I have to do something
and I’m stuck.>>What I’d like
to do, Chad, is — if you would send me
your — send me an email. I’m not going to ask you to tell
everyone your email address. And we’ll get in touch
with you and work through this specifically. So you can email me at
[email protected] Do you know who your
Agency Manager or Technology Service Rep is? Is it Maureen Edwards by chance?>>It is, I believe, yes. Let’s see here. Hold on. Yes, Maureen. And she’s been great.>>Yeah, okay. All right. I thought the issue
looked familiar. So we will address that
with you specifically. For the group, when a contractor
receives your task order, that’s a customer
standing with money in hand ready to buy something. So we want to try to make sure
that your contractor knows how to take that money and
sell you something. So it should be a matter of providing the
task order document which essentially becomes
a contract between you and the EIS contractor in a form that conveys what is
required by the FAR. Which is what the services are
that you’re buying and the price that you’re going
to pay for them and any other requirements
for, you know, delivery, delivery times, delivery
place, anything like that. And that allows both
parties, providing consent to that contractual agreement
to sign that document. So we suggest you use — if you don’t already have
a task order award form, you can use the GSA form 30. It is for universal use
by federal agencies. And if that form
doesn’t work for you, there are other options
we can propose for you. But something like
that should be usable. And when the EIF
contractor receives that, it’s a standard form that
they’re used to getting. So it may be a matter of the
person that you’re working with is maybe new
to this process and to government process. It’s a matter of education there
and we will help through that. But if you have any questions,
if anyone has any questions about what sort of form to
use for a task order award, you can do a Google search
for GSA form 30 and find that in the forms
library and use that. If you need additional
assistance, you can always contact
us through the helpdesk on our website
GSA.gov/eistransition or contact your Agency Manager
or Technology Service Manager. You can also find
their names and links on that website as well.>>Can you post your
email address in the Q and A section there? I don’t want to get it wrong.>>In the Q and A section.>>We can do it after this one.>>Oh, yeah. In the answer to
his question, yeah. We’ll do it. Okay, yes. I didn’t know if we knew —
I don’t know how to do it. Mark does. Thank you.>>Okay, we have
another question from Kevin Morgan
in the Q and A pod. When does the TOPP take place
with the selected contractor? So what you would do once you
issue a task order, you know, your EIS contractor will
sign that documentation. Normally the next big step
will be a kickoff meeting. You’ll get together, and we
actually have put out guidance on topics that ought to be
covered in kickoff meetings. It is in bulletin number seven if you’re an Interact
subscriber. And you can go in there and
take a look at that bulletin and see what should happen
in the kickoff meeting. But once you have
the kickoff meeting, you’ll start to get organized. You’ll start to figure out,
okay, contractor, you know, how are you going to deliver against this task
order we’ve issued? And that’s what the task order
project plan is all about. It is that documentation
that says, “Here’s how we’re
going to do it.” So once you’ve had
your kickoff meeting or during your kickoff meeting
you ought to be, you know — you shouldn’t walk out of the
room unless you’ve scheduled, “Hey, here’s our first meeting
to start saying how are we going to get this task order
project plan together.” And depending on what is in
your task order, you know, it’ll determine how long
it’ll take you to put that project plan together. You know, good project
management teaches you if you spend a little
more time up front, you’ll get to the eventual
finish line faster. So you don’t want to just throw
something together, sign it and say, “Hey, let’s get going.” You really want to
be thoughtful in it. But it is basically the next
major step after you award that task order, have
that kickoff meeting, you should start working on
putting together that document. But we highly advise that’s
something you do together with your EIS contractor.>>And as a follow-on –>>This is Kathy Hadley. Can I just give a little
bit more clarity to that, having been through this?>>Sure.>>You will issue
the task order. You then have to wait for
the protest period to end. So there is some time between
when you issue the task order and that period. At least it was for NASA. Once that protest
period is ended, then we scheduled
our kickoff meeting. And we took in that
kickoff meeting — then we took their draft
transition plan which they had to provide to us
in their proposal, their draft project management
plan that they had to provide for us in the proposal. And that’s what we
used to start off. So you’re not going to be
able to issue your task order and then the very next day
have a kickoff meeting. Or at least we couldn’t in NASA. There is a protest period there
that you have to wait to go through for anybody
to protest your award.>>Yeah. Thanks, Kathy.>>As a follow-on to
the original question, for the EIS contractors, how
do you typically assign teams to help work with the agencies
for that task order planning? Do you have a project manager? What kind of setup do you use?>>This is Andrea with AT&T. And we go through
our staffing rather to assign the specific task
order to an individual manager. And they will head up
and gather the inventory that we currently have to
provide when the kickoff call or meeting is scheduled and
go through the top criteria if you will to provide. So we’re going to determine or
we’re going to discuss things such as, you know,
are we transitioning like for like services? Are we going to upgrade
your service? Are you going to
need new equipment? Who’s going to be
responsible for inside wiring? Let’s see what else. So all that will –>>So to me you should
have already done all that in the proposal. That should have
already been stated in your proposed
design, should it not? At least that’s how we did it. We didn’t have to assign
the responsibilities.>>It would be defined, but then
you’re going to go through it with a fine-toothed comb, right? So you’re going to actually
get down to where, okay, in our inventory we
show that this is going to be for like services. You know, can you please
confirm that this is, you know, what your information shows? You know, maybe there
would be upgraded services. Can you confirm that it’s going
to be this particular speed or bandwidth, or
this type of service? So you’re going to go
through that inventory.>>This is Jasper from Met Tel. It is correct. Usually in our responses to our
proposals we will designate a PM and other people on the team that will be attending
to the task order. And the only surprise from there
from the kickoff may be if, depending on what
they’re awarded or what people are working on, we may swap some
names here and there. But there shouldn’t
be any surprises.>>Okay. Should we move on?>>Yeah.>>This is Steve from Verizon. For our kickoff meetings,
within the material that we provide we’ll
actually have the full list of the team including
your accounting members, your billing account folks,
your transition managers and any escalation paths.>>Okay. I see that we do
have a couple more questions, but in the interest of time,
let’s move on and we can go back and see if we can
pick those up later. So with that, let me turn
over the next section to my colleague Chris Hamby.>>Thanks, Bill. Good afternoon. I’m going to let Bill give his
voice a rest and we’ll move on to some of these
other topics here. On the first one being apropos,
given what we just talked about, inadequate intra-building
wiring. So do you have the right
wiring onsite, for example, if you want to move to
IP phones, et cetera? So a couple of things
we recommend here from the EIS contractor
side of the house which is communicate
those wiring requirements to the agency. Should have done. And conduct site surveys
if you’re still not sure about what’s going on. You know, I’m sure they’re
all happy to do that, would love to be
able to do that, because then they get
their feet on the ground and can really see
what’s going on. The agency — obviously
site access is a big issue. It’s going to be an ongoing
theme throughout here. Make sure you have
people available to escort folks as necessary. Probably want to consult with
your own internal IT department as well, obviously, to see if there’s any infrastructure
information that they have that would be beneficial
to the contractor. And then the other one here is,
if you’re in a GSA PBS building, Public Building Service,
definitely give them a call. Coordinate with them. I know we released a bulletin,
the last bulletin we released, right, bulletin eight had
contacts for PBS in it. I think that was it. And we’re about to
release a new one. In bulletin nine it lists
all the services on EIS and proposed interaction
with PBS. So hey, if you’re implementing
X service, you definitely want to call PBS for these issues
if you plan on doing it. And you have a PBS building. This carries over
not just with PBS. You want to talk to the
building owner as well and have them involved. Because you’re going to be
stepping into other areas, you may need access to
closets, other things. You know, so the agency,
be ready for that. That’s one of the things
that can cause some delays, if the contractor does not have
access to what they need to see to validate that wiring. You know, that’s one. All right. Let’s go ahead on to
the next one then. Related to that,
similarly, inaccurate or limited information. So the example we have here is
incorrect order information. You know, maybe you’re
missing something, et cetera. It can cause a change to
the order or cancelation to the order, or a
reissue of the order. And obviously all those
things will indicate time lost and cycles that are spent
that have to be reworked. So what did the EIS
contractors talk about with us? They talked about —
some of them have talked about providing a SME
for technical review and to validate the data. You know, I’m sure
they’re happy to do that. They’d love to because it
eases stuff up on their end. And some have offered to help with service order
writing, you know, as well. So they know what needs
to be in the order and they can make sure it’s all
there before it goes forward, right? So from the agency
side, we’re going to hit that inventory thing again,
perform an inventory review with your contractor
to make sure that you have all the
information you need to fill out those orders. You know, that’s part of
that inventory review. You know, we did
a training session or a workshop a few months ago on transition inventory
assurance, and one subcomponent of that is making sure you
have the right information for all your current inventory. Especially if you’re
doing a like for like. If you’re not, you know,
still having that info helps. So also we would
stress to the agencies if the contractor comes back
and needs info, is missing info, respond as fast as
possible if you can. Because that will mitigate
any potential cancelations or other things. Probably want to designate
a single point of contact or something that they
can work through to get that information
updated properly. So is there a contractor
who wants to add anything to that one?>>This is Nick.>>Nick, go ahead.>>From BT Federal. I’m sure my colleagues from
the other vendors will have — I see them smiling
across the table. This is the single largest
thing that you can do to keep your project
running when it comes to ordering phones, circuits,
connections, internet, MPLS, any of those infrastructure
items. I have seen on the
commercial side — I come from our commercial
side in British Telecom. I have seen it on
the government side. This is it. A single zip code that’s wrong
can cause the entire order to get burped. And every vendor has very
error-intolerant systems to these sorts of things. Every one of us does. It’s not a BT or an
AT&T or a Verizon thing. Once that order goes into the
factory, lots of people touch it and they assume the
information is 100% accurate down to every digit. So when there’s a
building number or a building name
that’s somehow wrong and a workman gets
confused, he or she goes back to the supervisor and
says, “I don’t know where I’m going to take this.” You cancel the order,
you start it over again. So please, location data, point
of contact data with honest to God people who are there who
can really answer the phone, the floor, the cage,
the room, all of that. I’ll turn it over to my
AT&T colleague who’s nodding her head.>>Thank you. Yes. So what we try to do also
when we’re having these meetings with the agencies, we
want to offer our services as to helping you
write your orders. You know, if you’re purchasing
or upgrading your services, there are certain key
factors that we need to include in our orders. So that if, you know, four-wire,
two-wire, optical, electrical, those types of things
will impact the order. And if it doesn’t match, if
it’s incorrect and we don’t find out until after it’s installed, we’ve got to start
all over again. I’m trying to think what else.>>Everything will help
you write your orders.>>Yes.>>Jasper, did you have
something you want to say?>>I was going to — I
mean, inventory validation, if you haven’t done
it yet, do it now. The first gentleman on
the earlier question, first question, it sounded like his inventory is very
detailed and important. So if that’s the case,
I strongly encourage if you’re still working
on transition, if you’re still working on task
orders, make it walk and talk like the inventory you have now. Include everything.>>Okay>>Can I just add
one more thing?>>Yeah, please.>>So if you’re dealing
with military bases, you know LCONs are
being deployed. They could be deployed. So you need to when you
send over those task orders, please ensure that the LCON
is current, is alive, is, you know, still at that depth.>>Right, that subject’s
so important. We’re going to talk about
it a little bit later. It has its own slide.>>Yeah. [ Laughter ]>>All right, so let’s
go ahead and move on.>>Hi.>>Yeah.>>Hi, this is Stephanie
with Granite.>>Oh yeah, go ahead, Stephanie.>>So I just wanted to go back to the inventory
thing for one minute. So we one-time had an order to more several PRI’s
onto a SIP trunk. And there was a bunch
of unused numbers that were weren’t told about. So even — just keep
in mind even if you’re not using the numbers
anymore, we still need to know about those so that we can
make sure your orders get through as quickly and
as smoothly as possible. And then we were also on that
same order provided the wrong routing information. So just make sure you verify
all that stuff ahead of time so that way we can get it
done as fast as possible.>>Okay. Nice example. Yeah. Yep.>>This is Robert
Duncan from Harris.>>Sure, Robert. Yeah.>>I just want to throw out
that sometimes when we’re trying to validate buildings
and addresses, the address is different
from the building. And a lot of times like an
aerial view of it will help us when we’re trying
to get it validated with the actual building itself. So we may need that circle
on you know, Google Maps or something like that. That’ll help us with honing
in on where that address is.>>Okay.>>Yeah.>>Yeah, thanks, Robert. And actually that brings me
right into the next slide which is address validation. So obviously an error, right? Make sure the address is right. So you know, address validation
discrepancies are a problem. Access providers, 911
database, you know, might not match the
address provided by the agency, et cetera. That’s just one example. You know, there are many here. So the contractors,
one of their actions is to provide urgent coordination between the access
provider and the agency. I would just say
coordination between them. But what can the agency do? One of the things we say is
again back to that inventory. Examine that data such as
prior billing, you know, on your existing services for
alternatives to the address. You know, you find out quite
often if you go back and look at your old bills that there’s
something subtly different than what you know
the address as. And that address on your bill is
actually the address the telecom provider actually knows it as
in their systems, et cetera. So that’s a great source
to go back to, to see that. It happens quite a bit. You know it as building X and it’s building Y
on the system or X.1. So it certainly helps out a lot.>>This is Kathy Hadley again. Are you suggesting these changes to help during the
transition phase?>>Yes.>>Yeah.>>Yes.>>Okay. Because you’re not
going to get accurate buildings if you don’t have
the correct address, and we’ve found that out. So a lot of these things have
been done before we issued the task order or we’ve even
had the vendors come back after we’ve issued the task
order and say that some of our information in our
pricing sheets is incorrect for them in order
to bill correctly. So a lot of this
should be done prior to your task order being issued,
or your RFP being issued. I would think that after you’ve
awarded the task order you shouldn’t have any
address issues. Because otherwise they
wouldn’t have been able to give you the correct billing.>>That’s true. And address validation is
an ongoing activity, yes, is a way to summarize that. Yeah.>>Okay.>>Sorry, really quick. If there’s entities on the call
that are not entirely confident in their inventory, there are
a couple resources that GSA has for their Transition Inventory
and their All Agency Inventory that are ready and
available for every agency. So if you don’t know,
please reach out. And it’s a great starting point. It’s a great point
to utilize any of your ongoing inventory
reconciliation.>>Okay. Thank you. All right, let’s move
on to the next one which is OCONUS installations. Moving a little bit
farther afield now. Obviously — I think
it’s pretty obvious that any installations outside of the continental United
States will have the — you’ll certainly carry the risk
they could take longer depending on what has to happen. You know, requirements
are different, et cetera. So the EIS contractors
have talked about assigning specific project
managers to OCONUS activities. You know, they may have
special knowledge, et cetera, for those different areas. That’s one thing they
can do to help out. What the agencies can do is — and we talked about this in transitional order
sequencing workshop we had — put those orders early. Make those an early
part of your plan, right, your transition plan. Get those started soon
rather than later. Yeah, and be open to
assisting EIS contractors with equipment delivery,
if that’s the case. There’s often an issue — if
equipment needs to go up there, you know, you can
certainly help them out by knowing the
known custom issues, et cetera, if they exist. And if you have a subject
matter expert at the agency in this OCONUS area, make
sure they get involved. I know that seems
pretty obvious, but these are what we think. And the other one to make sure
is understand too, you know, you’re dealing with a
different group now. So a little realism is needed to
understand what it really takes and the time it might take
to get these installations or implementations
completed in OCONUS. All right. So that brings us to the next
break here for questions.>>Yeah.>>Maybe we hold for later.>>But in the interest of time
I think we’re going to go ahead and keep pushing forward
with the next few issues. And I’ll turn it
back over to Bill.>>Okay, thanks. So let me walk through
the next set of items. The next one we have
is access controls. After 9/11 the world changed
in many ways and this is one of them that affects something
like our EIS transitions. So site access. And you know, as Kathy said,
this is the kind of thing that you should be working
all the time anyway. Special focus when you’re trying to get an implementation
project done. So look for advanced
personnel data clearances, time of day restrictions,
pre-approvals, all those kind of things. Almost every building
now has some kind of unique access requirements and treat each building
as unique. Because it’s different. We have, you know, we
have civilian agencies that are on military bases. We have military
installations that are in civilian buildings now. It can be all over the place. So we ask EIS contractors,
you know, know who your cleared
technicians are. Many of them have technicians
who know those sites better than you do, better than we do. And you know, make sure you
know what credentials your technicians have. Another one, this is a
personal experience of mine, assure personnel are willing
to provide personal data and surrender identification. Many buildings, campuses,
military bases require you to surrender a driver’s
license or some kind of ID. And they’re going to keep it
until you exit their facility. We do know that there
are technicians who will refuse to do that. You need to figure that out in
advance before people show up. Certain technicians represented by unions have union rules
relating to these things. You need to check those
kinds of things out. So that’s on the
contractor side. On the agency side, know the
— and we underline this — exact requirements for a site. Make sure you know exactly
what you have to submit and when you have to submit it. You know, sometimes it’s five
days in advance or whatever. So pay special attention
to access controls. The next topic we
have historic building and hazardous materials. Many, many different
government agencies are in historic or special
buildings. Also there are many, many
old buildings that we have. One thing I want to
caution against, you know, when you hear the word asbestos
many people immediately think, “Oh, now we’ve got
to get the team in the hazmat suits
to come out.” This is where you need to
work with your building owner. If it’s Public Building Service,
you need to work with them. Many times you can just route
things around an affected area and you don’t need to touch any
kind of hazardous materials. But you need to look
at these things. You need to look at your
inventory of buildings, especially when you’re
doing wiring work. So what can agencies do? Here I’m going to read
this one word for word. Provide the correct person who
can execute the right of entry or letter of authorization
to perform work in historic and older buildings. That wording came directly
from a subcontractor that many of the EIS contractors use. There’s certain documentation
that has to be signed off on before you can work
in historic areas. And you need to know
who those people are. And this is the kind of thing
it might take you six weeks to figure this out. So you want to know
these things in advance. Next one. LEC facility capacity
and availability. We could probably do a whole
workshop on this topic. Needless to say, capacity for telecommunication
services gets assigned when there’s an active order. Okay? There’s no
reservation system. It is first come,
first serve, okay? So you need to understand that
facilities do get depleted. It could be by your brother or
sister government agency who’s down the hall from you. But when the cable is
full and totally utilized, the cable is full and another
one has to be pulled in. So you need to plan for this. And a lot of this comes in. You just need to
have flexibility in scheduling your sites. So you know, if you hit one
of these situations, gee, let’s move some other sites up
and we’ll move this one back. So for EIS contractors
we’re asking them to communicate capacity issues
as soon as they find them out. But like I said, they
oftentimes will not know it until an active order
actually goes and is going through provisioning
systems with companies. For the agencies, you need to
understand that you are likely to hit this situation. So you need to know how
to react to it, okay? So make sure, as I said, flexibility in your
scheduling is probably one of the best ways
to mitigate that. And then kind of, you know,
a follow-on topic to capacity and availability is
special construction. What happens when
there actually has to be physical construction
done in order to bring in new capacity? Okay? This can have huge impacts
on your implementation schedule. Anytime you have to do
permitting or digging or whatever, you’re
talking delays. So for EIS contractors, we ask
them to work with the agency at the project start
to try to figure out what locations may
have these situations. And also — and I’ll
say this to agencies. Agencies, you know, look your
task order awardee in the eye and say, “What alternatives
do you have?” A lot of times there are
alternatives that they can do. There’s, you know, I’ve seen
short-span microwave shots that are done. You’ve got satellite
things that are done. 5G is starting to come onboard. That might be an option. But also make sure you look
at different alternatives that might be available. And you know, for
the agency, again, flexibility to rearrange
your scheduling. And also if this special
construction is something that you have to pay
for, timely payment of these things will help
keep you on schedule. I’ve seen projects where a site
is delayed six months while the agency’s trying to come up
with funding to do some kind of special construction. And this will especially hit in
things like campus environments. All the ground is owned
by the government, it’s a government issue but you
may need to be paying somebody to come dig a ditch
along by the sidewalk. So you need to be thinking
about, is there a cost, and do we have funding
to cover this?>>One aspect of that might
also be historic or buildings that for some reason nobody
wants to dig up there. We have some courthouses
that are stunningly beautiful and I imagine there are
some challenges with that. I think we have Phil
Prestipino on the line who has some experience
with courthouses. Maybe you can share
some thoughts there.>>Sure. So good afternoon,
my name is Phillip Prestipino and I’m on the local
service side of GSA. And I’m the guy on the ground that works local services
for years with GSA. So in my experience we’ve
had many difficulties with both historic
sites and courthouses. Now many of you may say, “Well,
we’re not justice or judicial.” But GSA houses many agencies in
courthouses around the country. So, many of you may
have facilities or sites that are within courthouses. And the access and construction in courthouses is
extremely difficult. I’ll cover access first. So with respect to
access, courthouses are one of the most secure facilities
in all the federal government. I’m sure you’re all
aware of that. But I have had many,
many difficulties with getting access both
on the local LAC side and the long-haul carriers. So keep in mind that
you’ve got to work closely with the marshal service to
get access into courthouses. Construction in courthouses
is another thing. So judges pretty
much own courthouses. And if there’s cases
going on in a courthouse, especially some high-profile
cases, they will shut down all construction
in courthouses. You need to work with your
GSA building managers very, very closely on managing these
situations and working with them to get access and
do construction in federal courthouses. Now I want to talk
about historic sites. So I’ve had construction
scheduled in historic sites and there are councils
that convene to discuss these
sorts of things. If you’re working a historic
location, I’ll take Baltimore for example, Francis
Scott Key historic site. And Verizon needed to go in
there to deliver some fiber on a construction project. It took months to get
this project approved through this council that
looks at every single detail of every single construction
project to make sure that it doesn’t affect
the historic site. These are things that
none of us can get around. They are mandated by law. So keep these things in mind. Not to be Debbie downer,
but planning, planning, planning with respect
to construction in courthouses and
historic sites. Thank you.>>Thanks, Phil.>>Thanks, Phil. Appreciate that.>>Can I add a couple of points?>>Okay.>>This is Andrea with AT&T. So we do work with a lot
of military bases both on the civilian side
of government. And when there is special
construction that’s needed, none of the carriers, or most
of the contractors are not able to provide or perform
that special construction. The bases handle it themselves. So we can get — and
there’s only like — well, depending on how big
the base is, there may be one or two commercial
telecom demarks. That’s where your access
is going to be delivered, but getting it to those agencies across the base is
primarily on the base’s dime. Or you know, they’re
responsible for that. And you have to be aware of who
on that base neck is responsible for doing those or providing
those cross-connections. You have to supply or
provide a work order that would not come
from the contractor. That would come from the
contractor form the end user there on that location. Also with special construction, with your local access
providers, we are not able to expedite that work.>>And all I’ll say as
follow-on for that, God help you if it’s one of the joint bases. Because sometimes you might — yeah, you might hit three
different entities just trying to get across that base.>>Okay, Chris. Anything else on
that sort of topics?>>Not from me.>>Okay. Let’s go on then.>>All right, so let’s move on, related to what we’ve been
talking about, site readiness. So access providers won’t
start access construction until the premises is certified
site ready by their engineers. So an access provider access
engineer will conduct a site survey and provide readiness
requirements prior to. So it’s important that
we make sure this goes as smooth as possible. So from the EIS contractor
perspective, we need to understand from the
agency the expected timeframe to complete readiness
requirements, right? In fact, this is in
the delivery schedule. So again, this is part of
project planning up front. Have an idea how long
this is going to take. So build it in. What can the agency do? If you’re responsible
for site readiness stuff, try to complete it
as fast as possible. That’s obvious, right? And confirm it with the
contractor when it’s done. Plan transition based on a
rate of monthly site turn-up versus a strict site-based
schedule. So I think Bill alluded to this
earlier where we kind of talked about if you can, if you have
a lot of sites you have to do, try to do something along — we recommend something with
a sites per month idea rather than specific sites
in a given order. You may have to. We get that. But if you can go that route,
then if one hits a snag, the contractor can
move to a different one and start turning that one up. So you stay on schedule,
you know, to get your stuff done on time. So just be flexible. That’s pretty much what we said. And just as we’ve said
with everything, you know, coordinating with PBS and
building owners, you know, if you know you’re going to
have to do something like that. So Robert Duncan.>>Yes, I’m here.>>Yeah.>>Yep, I’m here. So I was just — about this
stuff, we’ve been through a lot of site readiness in the past
two years, and we’re the ones that actually contract it
with the state government on the contract that
I’m working on. And what I have found is one,
we don’t find out about it until after the first site
walkout, and that’s when we — you know, the bid goes out there and they provide
what the survey is and then exactly what they need. So a lot of times we
don’t even know about it. And neither do the LCONs, understand if there’s any
issues or not beforehand. And then we contract to get
that done using someone who’s, you know, got experienced
vendors. They’re used to it, they know
the sites or they’re familiar with the customer and so on. And then what we do is we
get the schedule and we find out when they’re going to finish
and then we re-engage the LEC, or we try to get them re-engaged
very shortly after that’s done to try and not miss
deadlines and such. So if we know that they’re going
to be done on November 15th, I might re-engage the
LEC now and say, “Hey, get your guys scheduled
because we’re going to be done by the 15th.” So just kind of throwing
that out there. And then I view site readiness
as from the property line to the MPOE and then obviously
there’s inside the demark area where there’s space,
backboard, power and ground. So I view — those two things
are always considered site readiness for me. So just want to throw
that out there. And some of that property line
to the MPOE, minimum point of entry, that can be
time-consuming as well because it could deal with boring governmental
parking lots.>>Right. Yep. Okay. Thanks, Robert. All right, let’s move
on to the next one. This was a big topic
we’ve already hit, but we’ll bring it back again. LCONs, the agency
local contacts, you need to have a knowledgeable
and available technical resource at the agency site to
avoid a customer not ready classification. If somebody’s not there that
allows them to do something, then you will, you know, get
turned away and you’ll have to go back to the
beginning of the line again for lack of a better term. So what can we do? So the EIS contractors, a couple of them suggested they actually
start to establish some sort of transition working
group with the agency. Basically a small group that
gets together and is responsible for making sure that LCONs
are identified and available and ready to go beforehand and then confirmed again
right before you’re about to have any
activity at that site. I think Andrea brought
it up earlier, you know, you may have it at the start
of the project, but you need to confirm it again later
on because especially with anything related to
the military, et cetera, they may be deployed or they
may have gone somewhere else, et cetera. So keep that up. Let’s keep going.>>So actually can I just throw
out one thing too, is one thing that we’ve found
with LCONS is — someone mentioned it earlier — is, you know, making sure that
that person is still valid, even from being alive,
is a big one.>>Right. Good point.>>But the other thing too
is making sure they’re aware of the project too. We’ve gotten into situations where the LCON had no
clue what was going on because it was done
at a higher level. And while they’re the
LCON, the person at the top of the food chain is
making decisions for them that they’re not even aware of. So that helps mitigate some time
wasted or confusion and so on and turning away the vendor just
to come back another week later.>>Right. And just to make sure
everybody’s on the same page, LCON, we’re talking about
the same thing as a site POC that you may have
identified earlier on. So the same people
we’re talking about, or can be the same person.>>Yeah. And the site POC
is a specific data entry in the BSS which is required. So last name, first name,
mobile number, work number, email address for both a primary and secondary site
point of contact. And that’s how it’s
labelled in the BSS. It’s not labeled as an LCON which is the standard
terminology. So that data’s required in
any order and that gets back to what we talked about before
as part of a complete set of data around an
order, accurate point of contact/LCON information.>>Okay. Thank you. So what can the agency do? As Nick just mentioned, both a
primary and backup LCON, right, or site POC for all
of those sites. We also recommend
periodically checking those, making sure they’re
still up to date, especially for any long-term
implementation project, right? You may have put
it in and a year and a half later
people have changed, so we need to check it again. And hopefully if
those people aren’t — but hopefully they
are knowledgeable about the location’s
infrastructure and the services
being implemented. So make sure it’s the
right person at the site. So provide personnel that
are available, right, for surveys or wiring,
et cetera. So you know, in case
it has to be off hours, you need to make sure
you’ve identified that.>>And they take leave.>>Right. Exactly. That’s a good point. I mean, these are
all little things but they add up, you know. And as we said, so agencies need to clearly communicate
critical dates and objectives to those local contacts. We recommend at least
ten business days prior, i.e. make sure they’re not on
leave or somebody’s coming out, et cetera, if you can. All right?>>Can I also add?>>Go ahead, Andrea.>>Andrea with AT&T. So another issue we’ve had is
the LEC will contact the LCON. And they can’t give
them a specific window or specific time they’re
going to be out there. So I mean, we’ve gotten calls
before where they’ve said, “Well can you tell me if
this survey is going to be in the morning or
the afternoon?” We just give from 8:00 AM
or 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM is when they’re going to dispatch
or come to your location. Because they also have to —
that technician also has to care for service restoration. So they could be called away. They may not make it to your
customer site on that day because of that issue. But the contractor isn’t able
to provide a specific timeframe when the local access
provider will be out there.>>Okay. Thank you.>>For NASA that’s
not acceptable. So I’ll just let you
all know that up front. If you say you’re coming, you
need to come because we have to have an activity when
we plan our activities. We notify our customers of our
activities and if you don’t show up and that activity doesn’t
occur, then we have to — it’s more than just we’ll
come back the next day. So for us that’s not acceptable.>>And of course that would
be a great conversation to have during your
kickoff meeting when you’re doing your
transition planning.>>Yeah. Okay, so move on to
the next topic which is building and wire installation. We’ve talked about this
a little bit already. Example here is circuit
extension from the MPOE or minimum point of entry to the room location
requirement of the customer. The contractor, you can offer
inside wiring services as part of your work if you want to. What does the agency
need to do here? They need to understand
that the MPOE is determined by the building owner so they
decide where that is, you know. So you need to be ready or
understand where that is. Decide prior to order placement
how your demark extensions will be provided. So on a building by building
basis or other, right? The installer can be a
customer, wiring vendor, customer’s wiring
vendor dictated by the building owner
or EIS contractor. So there are options to
figure out who that could be and be ready to understand
who that will be. And again, as usual, coordinate with the building owner,
coordinate with PBS. You know, you need to work
with the building owners when you’re doing
changes to the building, wirings changing
to the building. So a lot of cases. All right, so let’s move on. So that’s it for that section. I’ll turn it back over to Bill.>>Do we have any
questions in the pod? Okay. Let me go through what will
be the last set of issues that EIS contractors
shared with us. These starting off
relating with equipment. So one thing that has been seen,
and I know this was brought up by multiple contractors, was
current systems that are unable to accommodate new equipment. So you need to make sure that you have technical
people who are checking out. If you are interfacing
with new services, make sure what those services
are interfacing with, okay? You can plug it in, you can
accept that it will work. So this is making sure you bring
in the right technical people. Another issue that’s in
the news a lot these days, hardware supply chain delays. Depending on where your
equipment may be coming from — I’ll give you an example. There can be a strike in
Long Beach, California and your equipment
may be sitting there on a ship anchored offshore
and you’re not going to get that thing unloaded for a while. These kind of issues
will affect delivery and can affect your project. So what have we asked
contractors to do? Provide subject matter
experts for technical review and validation of specific data. And this even goes
back to when we talked about validating orders. You want to make sure you
validate the technical aspects of an order to make sure
that things will work. And if you are interfacing,
as I said up above, with current equipment
that’s already there, make sure you’ve had — some technical subject matter
expert has checked that out. Contractors will warehouse
equipment to overcome issues such as, “Gee, sorry,
your equipment’s sitting on the ship offshore.” And wherever possible, you know,
talk with your EIS contractor. Do they have agreements
with multiple suppliers? And most everybody does. So there are ways
to mitigate that. For the agency, look and
perform an inventory review with your EIS contractor
to assure that any new equipment will work with any existing
equipment that you have. This especially is important
when you’re starting to get into a lot of the
voice equipment. Provide accurate bill of
materials with the task order. If it wasn’t part of the
task order, you know, make sure you discuss that
at the kickoff meeting. You will need to prioritize
installation schedules based on equipment delivery at times. Take that into account. And especially a big issue with
this transition is determine if you have end of
life equipment and how you need
to deal with that. So check your inventory,
check with your suppliers, see if you have equipment
that is end of life. Talk with your EIS
contractor about things that you can do with that. Do you want to go
to the next topic? Desk-set equipment
installations. Yes, people are still
installing desk equipment. Simple things. Lack of space for
new desk assembly or old desk set storage
prior to it being disposed. And with all the security
requirements these days, there may be issues with having to make sure equipment is
scrubbed of any information or data before it can
leave your premises. It takes space to
pile this stuff up. You need to think about that. So if you are replacing
equipment, talk with your EIS contractor,
try to figure out, you know, what the volume is,
what space is needed. Again, go back to your
landlord, PBS, whoever. You need to figure out
space issues with equipment. Next topic, voice system,
technical information. Okay? Specific information
that’s required to program new equipment. We all know, you know, if
this isn’t handled properly, your end users will
hunt you down. They will find you, okay? Configuration issues, you
know, can be a nightmare. So we’re looking
for EIS contractors to communicate the technical
requirements to the agency. You’ve got to make sure you
take care of all these things. And again, provide technical
experts to advise your agency. Hopefully agencies put some
of these kind of requirements in their solicitations so that
these things can be drafted and EIS contractors can
tell you in their proposal, “Here’s how we deal
with these issues.” So that is a good thing. Nick, did you have
something you want to add?>>Right. I’ve overseen a lot
of Voice over IP at government and commercial installations
throughout my career. And this technical information,
if you’re doing voice, can slow you down if you’re not
expecting to have to deliver it. And if you then only
after the fact require that the contractor
come and collect it and interview hundreds
and hundreds of people and comb through your records. So this is actually something
that’s very important during the solicitation to define the level of information you feel you
can give your IP voice vendor versus if you don’t know what
you need your IP voice vendor to go find out. Interactive voice response and
call tree data can take hours and hours for each
item to investigate. These are the things like
press one for cardiology, press two for the
pharmacy, that kind of thing. If you’re a voice-centric agency
that makes a lot of use of voice for citizen services,
you need to pay attention to what it will take to
determine what you have and rebuild it in the new system to provide good citizen
services. That’s all.>>Okay, thanks. Next topic, missed deliveries. Okay? A couple examples
of those. Lack access, delayed delivery. Yeah, you get that FOC
date, you expect them to show up at that time. The date comes and
goes, no installation. I think pretty much
everybody has been there at one time or another. And just the EIS
contractor failing to deliver on the scheduled day. So we look to the
EIS contractors. What can they do
to mitigate this? You know, especially when
a delivery is missed. Determine the cause for
the missed delivery. Sad to say a lot of times
it goes back to one or more of these topics we’ve
been discussing over the last hour and a half. Okay? And then coordinating
a reschedule. Again, we’ve kind of talked
about this a little bit as we’ve gone through, but on
the agency side, think very, very seriously about planning
transitions based on a rate of site turn-ups, you know, per
week or per month or something, versus a strict site-by-site
schedule. You will need to take some
sites and move them down based on issues and you may have
sites that then you can move up. So you know, personally I’ve
done a lot of installations and I’ve found, you know,
this system works the best. You know, have a bogey,
five sites a week, you know. I actually did one project for the Postal Service,
50 turn-ups a week. Okay? And that was
rewiring post offices. And if you want to
talk nightmares, you can buy me a beer and I’ll
tell you all about that one. But the important thing is
here on missed delivery, you’ve got to account for
it because it will happen in any project with
any number of sites. And it’s how you react
to it that determines if you keep on schedule or not. And then the last
topic we have to bring up is local number portability. Now we have done an
entire workshop on this and actually it was so popular
we repeated it and had a lot of people in the
second session too. What I want to say
on this is if you go on GSA’s EIS transition webpage under resources you will see the
full-service transition plan. In the back of that plan
there’s a whole section on local number portability. And we are going to be
working on revising that plan, because from our two workshops
we actually gained some additional information
so we want to update some of that data. But it will give you a good feel
for local number portability and what it is all about. And there’s an awful
lot of data available. So before we open it up
for questions, you know, I just want to refer you
back to that opening slide that had those real-world
intervals for different services. And you probably looked at it
at the beginning and said, “Wow, that seems like an
awful long time.” And now that we’ve gone through
all these, you might be saying, “Wow, that looks pretty good if we could get it
in by that time.” Because these are all the
type of issues not only that you can hit, but
that you likely will hit. So you want to plan for them
and work very, very closely with your EIS contractor. So now that I’ve got
you a little bit ahead of schedule here,
let’s open it up. If you have questions, please
— you can type them into the Q and A pod and we will open it
up for any verbal questions or other issues you have. As we said, we’ve got a lot
of EIS contractor expertise in the room and on the bridge. And this is your chance to
get your questions answered.>>This is Kathy
Hadley from NASA. I just have a request. We put a lot of work
into our RFP, specifically our
service level agreements and what we expect our
services to perform at. And it would just be
helpful from our viewpoint if a contractor, EIS contractor,
cannot meet those SLAs, then don’t submit a proposal. I may be going out on a limb
here in the procurement world, but it’s just really
kind of a waste of time for you putting together
your proposal and us having to review a proposal that
will not meet our SLAs. And we are obligated if
we receive a proposal to do a full review on it. And so it’s just,
it would be helpful if you would carefully
look at the RFP, look at the agency’s SLAs
and what they have requested. And they may be different
from the EIS SLAs. And we understand that
they are different. But if you can’t meet those
SLAs, it would be better if you just did not propose.>>So noted. Thank you, Kathy.>>Okay. Good point. Anybody else? Who has the next question?>>This is Bernard
Walsh from DOE. Is there by chance a
transcript of this? I had problems logging into the
webinar itself, so I called in. There’s some information that I didn’t have
access to in the webinar.>>So Bernard, the
short answer is yes. We have recorded this and it’ll
eventually be made available once it gets through all
the process and approval. And then it will be posted out
on the GSA Interact website. In the meantime, what each
registered participant will receive also is a copy of
the presentation in email. If you weren’t able to log
in today and download a copy for yourself, everybody
will get another copy just to make sure we cover every base and that you actually
get your hands on one. So yes, there will
be a recording. It will be available and we’ll
give you a copy following today’s presentation in email.>>All right, thanks very much.>>So this is Bill. One thing I would
encourage you — you know, some agencies like
NASA and like Kathy has shared, you know, are very prescriptive
in their solicitations about you know, here’s what
our contractors need to do. Here’s what we need
to, you know — you need to perform at a certain
level to serve us properly. Other agencies are not so
prescriptive, but I want you to remember all these things
we’ve talked about have come from the EIS contractors
and their past experience. So I would strongly
encourage you to, you know, make sure you download this
as Scott explained how to do. Or get ahold of this and you
know, keep a copy of this handy because these are the kind
of issues you want to talk with your EIS contractor,
you know, either maybe before you make the
task order award would be good. But certainly after on how
you can mitigate these things. Because these are all
real-world examples. I think personally in my career
I experienced every single thing that is in this deck. And you are likely to run
into these things too. And you know, if you
have a large project — you know, we have
agencies that have up to 5,000 sites they’re
looking to transition. You will hit these issues. And as I said, it’s not
so much hitting the issue; it’s how you react to it, how
your contractor reacts to it that determines, are you going to get this transition
done on time or not? Okay. Hey, Phillip, you
wanted to make a comment. Please do.>>Yes, if I could. Again, this is Phillip
Prestipino with the GSA full-service
side of GSA. And I just want to
make a comment about some things I’ve
seen recently with respect to agencies and their
voice transitions and conversations I’ve had
with some of my agencies. So for many years GSA
full-service has managed your voice communications. And we managed it pretty much
soup to nuts with respect to sites all over the country. So I would just — some of the
things I would encourage you to consider as you
start your projects — and they really come down to
roles and responsibilities. So they covered inside wiring. I cannot tell you
how important it is to manage your inside wiring
issues before they happen. Know from your site surveys what
inside wiring requirements you have, and work with
your EIS vendors to determine how those solutions
are going to be managed. Power, power is always very
difficult issue to manage. And remember, you’re
going to have to run concurrent
systems in many cases. And so the power
requirements initially are going to be very big. Obviously that will change after
you remove the old equipment. But initially you’re
going to have to manage power requirements and
it is going to become a problem. I’ve been in many, many demarks,
many buildings around GSA and I can tell you power
is always a struggle. And then third thing, understand
who’s going to do what. So I was on a project recently where a customer was
having new phones put in and they didn’t include in their
statement of work who is going to actually put in the phones. So the vendor didn’t have
it in their responsibilities to install the phones. And of course the customer,
they don’t have folks out in the field typically
to do this type of work. So the work ends up having to
hire an outside contractor. So details are important. Remember the things that
GSA local service has done for you for many, many years. These responsibilities now
will be with the agencies. So putting in your
Statements of Work, work it out in your kickoff
meetings and cover all of your details, because these
are now details that are fully, you know, going to be required
by the agency or the EIS vendor. Thank you.>>Yeah. I’d like to
second what Phillip said about roles and
responsibilities. Just to show you when
you don’t do it right, a couple months ago somebody
sent me an inspector general report for an agency that
was doing a VoIP transition. And you know, a lot of the
problems they had boiled down to they had
multiple contractors. A lot of these third-party
contractors for things that we talked about. The roles and responsibilities
weren’t clear and it just turned into a festival of
finger-pointing. And you know, the
last thing you want to do is have an inspector
general report for your agency, you know, on a telecommunications
implementation. So you know, it sounds like
a simple thing but you know, I so heartily second what
Phillip was just saying. Because you need to work
these things out to make sure that everybody knows
what to do in order to have a successful
implementation.>>And this is Nick
with BT Federal. Along the lines of the
lack of full service — and I think this may have been
covered in an earlier workshop and I think the gentleman
who was on said, “Well, there was nobody
deploying the phones.” What people don’t understand is as you’re doing a
voice telephony, you need to have not only that,
but we mentioned earlier space for phone removal,
but also who’s going to do your helpdesk during
that key transition period, the first couple of
days of the cutover. Do you want people to
do walk-around support and touch people and say,
“How’s your phone operating? Do you like it? Can I help you?” Do you want to have a short
helpdesk for people to call and say, “My phone’s
not working right. It’s not what I expect,
or I need help”? Those are things that are not
in the EIS CLIN for IP voice. And so those are services that
need to be defined in your RFP so that your vendors can
all have the same scale of work to which to bid. Training, no training,
deployment, no deployment, all of those services beyond
the basic what’s listed in the EIS contract.>>And that goes back to
that very early thing we had about well-defined
scope and scope creep. So, all these elements
will come together. Do we have any other questions? Or, any other statements
or things to share? Okay, well turn it back to
Debbie here to conclude for us.>>All right, thanks, Bill. I’ll bring it back up to the
overall schedule that we talked about at the beginning. This is, as I said,
the acquisition phase of this transition
should have been over. It’s not. So we have to
make up that time somewhere, and I hope that some
of the concepts that we discussed here
today helped agencies and your EIS contractors
work together to do that. This is not an agency problem. It’s not a contractor problem. It’s a government-wide problem,
excuse me, for the transition. So once those task orders are
awarded, contractors have to run like crazy and so
do the agencies. And it helps if you’re
running in the same direction. So communicate often,
early and frequently and openly and honestly. And so what we’ve tried to present today are some
real-life situations, and you heard it from
the EIS contractors, those that you’ll be
working with going forward. And they likewise, those EIS
contractors who are on the call with us heard from the agencies
their perspectives as well. So it’s about addressing
those things, like I said, openly and honestly
and with realism to reiterate what Nick
emphasized earlier. So I’m going to steal
Bill’s new alliteration, festival of finger-pointing — maybe it’s not new but I
haven’t heard it before. A festival of finger-pointing
is not fun. It sounds like a fun
festival, but it wouldn’t be. And it’s also not the way to
get through transition faster. So with that in mind, again as Scott explained,
this was recorded. So you should be able to get
to it once it’s released. And if you’re on the
Adobe Connect pod, you can download a copy of
the slides right now yourself. And if you have any other — if
you need any additional help, Scott, you want to flip
to the next slide, please? We have on slide number 35
here multiple ways to get help. Immediately you can go at
any time, day or night, go to our website and listen
to the online training that we have available there. We have some newly released
ones on telecommunications and EIS pricing structures. There’s FOOG E-learning,
there’s MOPS E-learning. There’s a lot of E-learning
stuff you can access whenever you want to. And if you need a
person to help you, come to GSA through
the agency manager or the technology
service managers or also through the helpdesk
which is on our website, both EIS transition webpage
and the EIS site itself. Do you have any concluding
remarks, Scott?>>Just one last thing and
that is some of you aren’t able to see this or download
the information. So I want you to copy
down this email if you’re in that situation and that’s
[email protected] And if any questions about
anything today, materials, what happens, where do I
go, please shoot us an email and we will answer that
question or get it going to the right person to make
sure that you do get an answer. So some of that happened today. Everybody that’s registered
that we have an email for will receive a
completion certificate. If you attended and we didn’t
capture that, you know, you didn’t get one, please let
us know via that email address and we’ll make sure that
we get that out to you. So nothing further. I think we’ve got
all the information out there for how to reach us. And we will now follow up
with everything we need to do and that’s it.>>And I’d like to just thank
our EIS contractors again for their ongoing participation
and we made a request for active participation
in our workshops and you all have stepped up to
that and we appreciate that. So thank you Granite, AT&T,
BT Federal, Met Tel, Harris, Verizon, Century Link,
Core and Micro Tech. So thank you all, and thank you
everyone who participated today. Happy Halloween.

 

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