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Virtual Acquisition Office™

Get smarter faster. Work smarter faster.

With constant changes in the federal acquisition field…

  • How do you ensure your entire organization is current on the latest rules, trends, and best practices?
  • How do you translate those changes into tools to get the work done?
  • And how do you answer the many questions that arise each day as you plan, execute, and award your acquisitions and contracts?

With more than 22,000 subscribers across the federal government, in all three branches and in every cabinet department, the Virtual Acquisition Office™ (VAO) is the government’s most trusted acquisition resource for addressing these needs.

ASI’s team thrives on staying current on the “latest and greatest” in acquisition, and translating that knowledge into news, publications, tools, training, and events that help government agencies learn and execute most efficiently and effectively.

There is no other single resource that provdes the comprehensive mix of news, research, analysis, and tools offered by the VAO--Not to mention the on-call help desk, webinars, online learning and annual executive leadership conference--all at a cost effective, annual fixed price.


Your “all-inclusive” VAO service is a subscription-based, fixed-price service that includes:

News and Publications. We bring you the most relevant acquisition-related news of each day in a single e-mail designed to keep you current on the latest legislative, regulatory, policy, and oversight trends. Our monthly Update recaps the most significant developments of the month. Other publications dive deeper to provide weekly legislative analysis plus insight into agency successful practices.

Tools. The VAO web site offers a variety of tools, including templates, online learning modules, samples, checklists, FAQs, and more that are updated frequently to reflect current regulations and successful practices.

COR Toolkit. CORs can find online learning modules, quick reference guides, templates, checklists, and FAQs specifically targeted to their unique role in the acquisition process.

Webinars. Webinars provide an opportunity for real-time learning while earning Continuous Learning Points (CLPs), without ever leaving the office.

On-Call Acquisition Help Desk. Have a question? Need confirmation of your findings? Tap our team of acquisition researchers. It is like having a top-notch procurement subject matter expert at your beck and call.

 

"A very well researched and edited suite of publications -- all crisply written to make the tedious and impenetrable both readable and informative, and -- dare we say -- almost interesting. Rather a remarkable feat, considering the fairly dense subject matter.- 2012 APEX Awards

 

 

 

The VAO is more valuable than another FTE on my staff, more valuable than a one-week training class for everyone on my staff, more valuable than upgrade laptops; the VAO is essential for me and my staff to do our jobs. I have never seen such a complete, timely, and accurate resource, wrapped by exceptional customer service.

-A DoD Program Director

How to Buy


The VAO is available on an annual subscription basis and is scalable to the size of your federal organization.  Available on Federal Supply Schedule 70 and Library of Congress FEDLINK contracts.

VAO products are also available for licensing if you’d like to host our publications and work products within your agency’s private knowledge management system. Contact us for more information.


CONTACT US

Apex 2011-2013 Awards

 


The VAO's suite of news and publications was recognized for excellence with an APEX Publications Excellence Award in 2013, following its APEX Grand Award in 2012 and APEX Publications Excellence Award in 2011.


Testimonials

Publications

“Your advisory does a great job of summarizing the various issues related to the bona fide needs rule. I frequently need to advise people on the application of the bona fide needs rule and it would be great if I could pass it along to them to supplement the GAO Red Book. [It’s a] really good summary…probably one of the best ones I’ve run across.”

“Very well presented summary of the most important points to be mindful of as acquisition personnel on maximizing the likelihood of success of our source selections. Regulatory language (i.e, in the FAR, agency regs, etc) often is ambiguous, frequently does not explain why we should or should not do something, examples are rarely provided, and is often presented in non-sensical order not conducive to memory retention. Therefore, having a summary like this is invaluable especially when it's grounded on "lessons learned" from across the Government. Every major procurement process should have summary papers like this, as they would enable most contracting personnel to obtain a better appreciation for how to better conduct such respective processes.”

"About weekly “Highlights from the Hill” legislative tracking publication: “I like it!  Easier than slogging through 16 pages of Congressional bills!”

“A colleague of mine recently forwarded one of your articles concerning acquisitions for the 112th Congress. The author’s style was outstanding and I am wondering how one might be able to get a subscription?”

Webinars

“Thank you so much! I did enjoy today’s presentation and am looking forward to future presentations. Today’s was informative, presenters were extremely knowledgeable, and it is so nice to have the convenience of being able to get good training, in short timeframes (less disruptive to everyone’s schedule) and no travel is involved – Just a super idea in my opinion.  Thank you all so much.”

“Today’s “Debarment & Suspension” on-line training was a very good session – great content, appropriate time frame, good pace of delivery, and came across on the PC and Phone without any glitches. I showed it in a conference room and had a dozen others watch it with me.”

“Thank you for today’s presentation – I really like having access to the Webinars – what an excellent (and easy to use/get) source of information!  You can bet if I can be – I will be at your next webinar – I truly appreciate the ease of obtaining the info provided.”

“This is hands down the best teleconference I have attended. This is the first time I have answered extremely satisfied consistently [on a survey].”

Inquiries

“Each time I have requested an expedited response, the inquiry team has come through for us with timely, accurate and helpful information.”

“One time, they even called to talk about our question to make sure they understood what we were asking. Wow, that was really great!”

“WOW and thanks a million. Exceeded expectations – excellent research documents provided that 100% addressed the issue at hand.”

“This is exactly the information I was searching for. I really appreciate all your assistance with lightning speed. Have a nice day!”

“Thank you so much. You all are always so thorough! I surely appreciate it!”

“Great article and very helpful, clearly written, and correctly notated with FAR references. Thank you.”

Executive Leadership Conference

“The day was excellent! It was engaging, humorous and information filled.”

“What a great opportunity to "stand down" and gain perspective. We all face similar/common problems … Very positive experience.”

“Outstanding value. Very worthwhile. I will take actionable items back to work for implementation.”

“Great experience; do not change a thing!”

General

“Thanks very much for the great presentation you gave this morning at [our agency]. You certainly have a firm command of all the tools and applications that we can use to research acquisition issues and otherwise make our contracting service better. Feedback from staff was overwhelmingly positive.”

“I am a very happy and satisfied user of ASI's VAO and ALO subscription services. These are the best, most complete and reliable services in this field I have ever seen…well done!!”

“The VAO is more valuable than another FTE on my staff, more valuable than a 1-week training class for everyone on my staff, more valuable than upgraded laptops; the VAO is essential for me and my staff to do our jobs. I have never seen such a complete, timely and accurate resource, wrapped by exceptional customer service.”

Government References to VAO

 

GAO Report GAO-09-579 (June 2009).   GAO is critical of many agencies for not using Time-and-Materials (T&M) contracts correctly and not being aware of regulatory changes, but noted that a select few were doing it right.  “At DOJ, officials at the Office of Justice Programs explained that they became aware of the FAR Part 12 D&F requirement through “a paid subscription for updates to a contract checklist from an outside vendor.” An excerpt:

Officials who were aware of the Part 12 safeguards frequently found out through their own initiative … The contracting officer responsible for the complete D&F indicated that he became aware of the D&F requirement through his own FAR research and had not received guidance from headquarters. The other 2 partial Part 12 D&Fs were issued by another  [agency] … The head of contracting who signed these D&Fs said that she had also learned of the Part 12 D&F requirement by researching the FAR. At DOJ, officials at the Office of Justice Programs explained that they became aware of the FAR Part 12 D&F requirement through a paid subscription for updates to a contract checklist from an outside vendor.

Dan Gordon, then-Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) testified to Congress about the possibility of creating a government database of interagency contracts and the realization that such a database already exists  (May 2011):

“We’ve been talking about putting together a centralized database… and it is something we’ve looked at seriously.   I’m somewhat concerned about the cost of putting that together, especially because we recently learned that there is at least one commercial company that has a database that many of our agency personnel have access to through a subscription.  When we compared that database to GAO’s report identifying multi agency contracts and interagency contracts, it turns out the commercial database picks up EVERY ONE (except a couple that have expired.)  So, it looks like visibility is better than it has been in the past … We want to be sure that we use taxpayer funds wisely. It could be that it doesn’t make sense to create a new government database that would in a sense be duplicating what the commercial database has…”

Senate Report 111-35, Report to Accompany S. 1390, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, acknowledges the challenges of bringing expertise into the acquisition workforce and the need to rely on available technologies to improve knowledge management.

“That challenge places a premium on doing business as intelligently as we can and relying on available technologies to enable personnel to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible, and to train new personnel in the operations of the DoD acquisition system…

Knowledge management efforts can help individuals and groups to: (1) share valuable organizational insights; (2) reduce redundant work; (3) reduce training time for new employees; and (4) retain intellectual capital as employees turnover in an organization.

The committee is aware that there are commercial providers who can support such organizational challenges as DoD is facing in rebuilding the acquisition workforce.  The committee does not see such systems as replacing workforce personnel, but as a potential complement to and enhancement of DoD’s implementation of its human capital plan.”

DHS OIG Report #OIF-09-11 (November 2008) cited FEMA’s implementation of VAO as a remedy to FEMA’s challenges in distributing acquisition information, insight, analysis, and guidance to its acquisition cadre.  See “Challenges Facing FEMA’s Acquisition Workforce,” OIG-09-11, November 2008.

OAM has implemented new policies and requirements for its acquisition workforce such as improved advanced planning, accurate documentation, workforce training, and contract monitoring. It has also implemented the Virtual Acquisition Office™ (VAO), an online service designed to provide the acquisition workforce with the federal acquisition information, insight, and analysis needed for performing acquisition functions.