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New RFI Questions & Answers 01/21/2022

To help you respond to the E-gov Travel and Expense Next Generation Solution RFI issued by GSA on December 9th, we have answered the questions that have been submitted to date so that you have as much information as possible before RFI responses are due back to GSA by 11:00 AM. EST on Thursday, January 27, 2022. This is the second of two posts; the first tranunch of questions and answers were posted 1/14 (see previous post on this page). Please note this information is also available on SAM.gov.
 

Industry Question

Government Response

Will Government agencies using ETS Next have any interaction with the DFAS system?

At this time, we do not plan for ETSNext to have any interaction with DFAS systems. Depending on the results of our market research, this may change.

We are eager to participate in any interviews you conduct with larger vendors. When can a meeting be scheduled? Can this be done on a regular, ongoing basis?

In this current phase, we are looking for written responses to the RFI and conducting one-on-one meetings. In a next phase, we are expecting to have more open forum meetings where industry can have more interaction and conversations related to teaming or business partnerships, if desired.

As one of the largest global corporate TMCs, would it be possible for us to be added as a participant in the steering committee?

This is not possible. The ETSNext Steering Committee (ESC) is comprised of Senior Travel Official Council (STOC) representatives and federal agency travel & expense management personnel. We are continuing our review of the appropriate governance model for the Future State and seeking industry input on what their role should be in an advisory capacity. Please note, in doing so, we would need to be mindful of FAR requirements regarding conflicts of interest, etc.

Please define Financial Management integration, as it relates to “Core T&E Services.

Financial Management Integration is the integration between the Authorization and Voucher and the agency's Financial Management (FM) Solution. This integration includes the process for obligation of funds on the Authorization (Purchase Order in the FM solution) and Disbursement of funds on the Voucher (Invoice in the FM Solution). This process aligns with the FM Standards as referenced in the Travel & Expense Use Cases. The FM Standards can be found at https://ussm.gsa.gov/fibf-fm/.

Please define Tier 2 and Tier 3 Help Desk support as they relate to ETS Next.

The ETSNext PMO is interested in hearing from industry on how to structure help desk support for the next generation of Travel and Expense.

In ETS2, Tier 2 Help Desk services serve as an escalation point for the ETS2 vendors Tier 1 Help Desk, federal agency Tier 1 Help Desks, and federal agency System Administrators. The Tier 2 Help Desk assists with technical issues including but not limited to:

a) assisting with access or login problems; b) helping determine if technical problems encountered are due to ETS2 or local agency network/IT issues (Note: ETS2 vendors are not responsible for resolving local agency network/IT issues.);

c) assisting with creation/completion of documents due to ETS not performing as expected based on training and Online Help documentation; d) assisting with those who are unable to route documents for approval and/or approve documents; e) providing federal agency T&E management personnel with how-to instructions for the creation and completion of documents, such as authorizations, vouchers, and local vouchers, and/or training on these topics; providing federal agency T&E management personel for agency policy questions; and accepting and processing requests for ad hoc reports.

For issues that cannot be resolved by the ETS2 vendor's Tier 2 Help Desk, the ETS2 vendor's provide Tier 3 Customer Support consisting of, at a minimum, research by the ETS2 vendor's business analysts and/or development staff. Issues raised to Tier 3 may require development work by the ETS2 vendor.

In order to allow new bidders to fully demonstrate our recommended solutions, could you please expand the page limit to 20 pages?

The instructions in the RFI are considered guidelines. Responses will not be rejected for page count compliance. The RFI states, "If possible, your white paper responding to Section VII should not exceed 15 pages including charts/graphs/illustrations, not including cover page and table of contents, vendor capability matrix, and ROM estimate".

Can we assume that you would like the response formatted in Word (portrait) or are you open to other formats?

The government is open to other formats that work on our IT services, e.g., PDF would also work.

Do these figures represent all travel for the respective Civilian agencies? Or is there volume outside of that captured in these figures?

These figures are based upon the data available to the ETSNext PMO, which is provided by the ETS2 Vendors. For the profiles that were verified by the agencies, this should account for the majority of their travel volume. However, it would not include travel processed outside of the ETS2 environment. Primarily, this impacts the Department of State as the Embassies oversees do not use ETS2.

In addition, this does not include travel related to Relocation.

Are these tickets generated by US-based employees/ travelers? Are there individuals who are globally based?

Ticket Fulfillment is primarily processed by U.S. based employees of the Travel Management Companies (TMCs). There may be employees that are globally based to address agencies with a large global presence. The Global Distribution System(s) (GDS) are outside of the Accreditation Boundary for the Assessment and Accreditation (A&A) process to receive an Authority to Operate (ATO).

The RFI states "Provide carbon footprint information for travel reservation options consistent with Executive Order." Does this requirement refer to providing options to the traveler at the point of sale, or via reporting?

This capability is for both at the Point of Sale and for Agency reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, of which travel via air is considered Scope 3 emissions.

Where is the estimated airfare, rail cost, car rental cost derived from?

The business capability TRT.010.030.123 captures the estimated costs for airfare, rail, and rental car from the Global Distribution System (GDS) when the reservations are made either via the Online Booking Tool (OBT) or directly with a travel agent at the Travel Management Company (TMC). This information is synched to the authorization to populate the necessary information. The government is interested in understanding how this process can be streamlined or improved upon.

The RFI states "Capture post(s) information for areas designated as authorized or ordered departure, suspended operations, or unaccompanied/partially unaccompanied post consistent with FAM." Please clarify this requirement.

Please refer to the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) Section 3 FAM 3770,TRAVEL TO POST(S) UNDER AUTHORIZED DEPARTURE, ORDERED DEPARTURE, SUSPENDED OPERATIONS, CONTINGENCY OPERATIONS OR TO UNACCOMPANIED/PARTIALLY UNACCOMPANIED POSTS for the definitions to each of these terms.

This information is an Input (I) for the development of government-wide policies and associated compliance (policy) checks for Temporary Duty Travel as referenced in Capability in TRT.010.11.019 (Row 365)

The reference to “either a single enterprise-wide, centrally delivered T&E solution or decentralized T&E service similar to ETS2”, along with references like ‘centralized and decentralized solutions and service models’ imply consideration of significantly different set of technologies, processes and resources than at present. What level of technology change or disruption is GSA interested in undertaking for this effort? (e.g. replace current systems with entirely new technologies, or prioritize leveraging legacy technologies, etc.)

The government is interested in hearing from industry on how a single, enterprise-wide, centrally delivered T&E Solution could be managed and delivered for the civilian federal agencies. Yes, the approaches are considerably different in how content and solution components could be offered by a solution provider, the resources necessary to manage the offering, and how the responsibilities between the solution provider, the ETSNext PMO, and the agencies would be addressed. The venn diagram on page 5 shows the vision of how the single, enterprise-wide, centrally delivered solution, common user experience and processes could be structured. We are seeking industry input on the best design and estimated (ROM) costs for accomplishing this in the federal market.

ETS2 requirements were developed between 2008 and 2010, the Solicitation was issued in 2011 and the ETS2 contracts were awarded in 2012. Since then, T&E technology has changed greatly and it is expected to undergo even further transformation by the time we transition to ETSNext. We want industry input on how best to position for the transformation over the full lifecycle of the ETSNext service and what the appropriate lifecycle duration for ETSNext should be.

The ETS2 contracts expire on June 3, 2027; when those contracts fully expire, those solutions and their related technology will no longer be available for use by the federal government.

The reference to “either a single enterprise-wide, centrally delivered T&E solution or decentralized T&E service similar to ETS2”, along with references like ‘centralized and decentralized solutions and service models’ imply consideration of significantly different set of technologies, processes and resources than at present. There are significant change management implications required when moving from ETS2 to any transformational alternative including potentially legal, legislative, governance, technical infrastructure, etc. elements. What sort of technical and non-technical professional services does GSA have in mind for this effort?

The government is aware of the significant change management implications required when transitioning from ETS2 to ETSNext. The government is looking for industry recommendations for what technical and non-technical services they view as necessary among the elements noted, e.g., legal, legislative, governance, technical infrastructure, etc.

 

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