At the Department of Veterans Affairs, one of the keys to providing an exceptional Veteran experience lies with our partnerships — our business partners and contractors who provide unique, innovative solutions to ensure our nation’s Veterans and their beneficiaries receive the care, benefits, and services they’ve earned and deserve.
In the Office of Information and Technology, our partnerships with private sector businesses and contractors are essential to our ability to consistently delivery timely, quality experiences to Veterans and families. But for companies that are just getting started in the federal IT contracting world, navigating the vast, ever-changing procurement landscape can be tricky. The process of determining if your company is a good match can be a challenging proposition for newcomers.
Here are some quick tips to make the most of your procurement journey.
Do Your Research
To better understand the Department’s needs, conduct market research. “I find research we gather from our Veteran community is invaluable to our mission to improve Veteran outcomes,” said Luwanda Jones, Deputy Chief Information Officer for the Office of Strategic Sourcing.
“Our vendors are learning about and developing new technology every day, and we often send Requests for Information to understand that new technology and inform our requirements,” Ms. Jones said.
Above all, understanding of the Department’s mission and its challenges are key. Visit Sam.gov to learn more about newly posted requests for information, contract awards, subcontracting opportunities, surplus property sales, and foreign business opportunities.
The Veterans First Contracting Program allows verified firms owned and controlled by Veterans and service-disabled Veterans to compete for the Department of Veterans Affairs set-aside contracts. To participate in the program, businesses must first be verified through a four-step verification process.
To assist businesses with verification the Department’s Center for Verification and Evaluation hosts regular training sessions and town halls tailored to each step of the verification process. Additionally, VA’s Verification Assistance Program provides support to Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses and Veteran Owned Small Businesses interested in applying for verification.
Participate in Events
The Department of Veterans Affairs offers events throughout the year tailored to businesses of all sizes. The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization’s Direct Access Program offers Business Opportunity Sessions, Networking Roundtables, and education sessions to assist small businesses in building partnerships directly with Procurement Decision Makers and maximize networking. The Technology Acquisition Center’s Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry also provides a clear outlook of upcoming contract opportunities.
Define Your Capabilities
“We see vendors talking about their capabilities and how they can help VA with our challenges,” Jones notes. To ensure the best path to partnership, describe how your product or service directly supports Veterans and beneficiaries, improves customer service, or improves health care.
If you’re ready to start your procurement journey with the Office of Information and Technology, reach out to the Office of Strategic Sourcing’s Vendor Management Office at ITVMO@va.gov.
Our commitment to digital and IT transformation is shaped by daily dedication to customer service and the close collaboration of our workforce, managers, and leaders. Ready to join us in improving Veterans’ care? Check out all current information and technology career opportunities on DigitalVA. You can also contact VA’s Office of the Chief Human Capital Officer at 512-326-6600, Monday thru Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST or by submitting a resume to VACareers@va.gov.