MRAS federal procurement tool opens the door to federal contractors without their knowledge. Is your company missing out?
An interview about MRAS, AI in contracting, and leveraging this tech to your advantage in contracting. Watch our in-depth interview with Gloria Larkin
For the past two years, the General Services Administration (GSA) has been hard at work developing and deploying a game-changing federal procurement market research process that impacts every federal government agency and small and large businesses every day. This new process, Market Research as a Service (MRAS) opens the door to some contractors and closes the doors to others, even without their knowledge.
MRAS was developed to address a number of different issues: from the loss of thousands of contracting personnel due to retirements, to the lack of experienced personnel in the acquisition workforce, to the growth of annual federal contracts spending, to the proliferation of mandated contract vehicles aka Best In Class Contracts, and stagnation of GSA schedule contracts.
Described by GSA as a value-added service for federal, state and local government buyers; MRAS is a no-cost service providing market research to help the aforementioned government entities understand where their needs fit within the mandated federal contract vehicles and begins early in the procurement cycle with the FAR-mandated market research process for services and products.
What is totally unique about MRAS is that it uses robotic process automation (RPA) to conduct this market research. The RPA allows for incredibly rapid RFI compilation, posting and response review, and once the responses are in by the deadline, provides a concise written and visual report usually within 24-48 hours instead of the weeks or even months normal during the old RFI or sources sought process.
The MRAS process begins when a government agency, as an example, the FBI, reaches out to the GSA MRAS team and fills out an online form with the requirements, statement of work, and other typical RFI or Sources Sought information. This form is designed to be efficient and effective, employing robotic process to create a RFI that will gather from the respondents the required information to complete an acquisition strategy analysis (set-aside or full and open competition) and even recommend the specific contract vehicle which at this point in time will generally be a GSA schedule or related vehicle.
The RFIs may then be posted on GSA’s eBuy, but they are not posted to the general public on SAM.gov. A surprise is that they may also be sent via email from a new email address firstname.lastname@example.org directly to specific schedule holders based on a number of RFI-specific criteria such as Special Item Numbers (SINs) and keywords. Only companies holding an active GSA Schedule normally see these MRAS opportunities, which have, so far, amounted to over $30 billion in awards. Many people who receive the RFI’s by email do not realize they are legitimate emails, because they are not used to GSA sending a personal email relating to a specific opportunity.
The market research survey announcement will include a link to respond, and those RFIs make it very clear that the preferred contract will be a GSA-managed vehicle.
Companies who know about MRAS and how to be included in these opportunities will have a better chance at winning in this new, robotic-driven decision-making process.
For an extensive back-story on the development of artificial intelligence and the use of robotic process automation visit the thought-leadership article “Artificial Intelligence: Powerful Procurement Underway.”
For more information email email@example.com or call 866-579-1346 x 325.