Common Questions about NARA’s Federal Electronic Records Modernization Initiative (FERMI)

We provided a general FERMI update last month. We wanted to take the opportunity to answer some of the common questions we’ve received about FERMI. We will be following up with a third post, so please feel free to ask any additional questions here as a comment or email RMPolicy@nara.gov.

Here are some common questions we’ve heard:

What is Schedule 36 and how do I use it to buy ERM solutions and services?

GSA Multiple Award Schedule 36, is the home for Office, Imaging, and Document Solutions. Special Item Number (SIN) 51-600, Electronic Records Management Solutions, can be used for a variety of requirements, including but not limited to:

MARKET RESEARCH. In the spring of 2019, records management contractors under Schedule 36 will be added to the GSA’s Discovery market research tool. Once ERM contractors have been added to this tool, agencies will be able to review the ERM capabilities of contractors awarded under SIN 51 600. Contractors have the opportunity to create demos based on the Use Cases for Electronic Messaging. These demos will be linked in the Discovery tool.

NEEDS ASSESSMENT. In addition to the records management and related document solutions available on Schedule 36, agencies can use SIN 51 501 for needs assessment and analysis services. Agencies can use this SIN to acquire services necessary to assess various office management functions and help them identify and address gaps between the current ERM program and the desired state.

ERM SOLUTIONS. After developing requirements, agencies can issue Requests for Quotes (RFQs) or Requests for Information (RFIs) for specific ERM services and solutions on GSA eBuy. Responses would only be considered by vendors listed on SIN 51 600.  All contractors awarded under this SIN have self-certified that they are capable of meeting the Universal ERM Requirements.

What are the benefits to using Schedule 36 instead of another contract vehicle?

The 2018 Government Reform Plan states NARA will no longer accept paper records from agencies after 2022. The new SIN 51 600, provides agencies a uniform method to procure services and solutions needed to transition to a fully digital business process.

The Multiple Award Schedules program provides customers with access to prequalified contractors and streamlined ordering procedures that other contract vehicles do not offer.  Customers can save time and money using Schedule 36 for their records management requirements.

As new requirements are identified, we will include them in the Universal ERM Requirements, which GSA will incorporate into the Schedule 36 solicitation and SIN 51 600, thereby guaranteeing the most up to date ERM offerings. Contractors must self-certify their services and solutions meet the Universal ERM Requirements.

I’m a vendor. How do I get on Schedule 36?

The Schedule 36 team works closely with prospective contractors interested in offering records management solutions. Interested contractors should contact RecordsManagement@gsa.gov to learn more about establishing a contract under Schedule 36. GSA provides an overview of the process for getting a GSA schedule contract on their website.

Do you have examples of Requests for Information (RFI) or Requests for Quotation (RFQ) from agencies?

GSA built the Acquisition Gateway as a resource for agencies to provide all the information needed to procure electronic records management services or solutions. It centralizes information and procurement materials to make it better, faster, and easier for all those involved in the acquisition process to make purchases. There is a public and Federal-only version of the site. The Federal space provides a Statement of Work (SOW) Library, Solutions Finder, a project center to organize projects, and a space to interact with people across the government doing similar acquisitions. It also provides access to GSA’s eBuy Open, a web platform that provides access to all electronic RFQs /RFPs submitted through the GSA eBuy system from FY14 forward.

The Federal Records Officer Network and the ERM Automation Working Group are both communities of interest where agency records management staff share best practices and resources. You can join these groups and ask members to share example policies and procurement documentation. You can contact RMPolicy@nara.gov for information on how to join.

Where can I find information on which services and solutions agencies are procuring?

GSA offers a number of tools to provide data on acquisitions in the Federal Government. The Acquisition Gateway is a great place to start. USASpending.gov compiles data from a variety of sources so that it can be easily searched and visualized. GSA also launched the Discovery Market Research Tool to help agencies find vendors who meet their specified criteria. This resource provides pages for vendors and allows agencies to see a vendor’s contract history and registration data.

Check back later for our next post where we will answer more questions!

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