NASPO Valuepoint is a contract primarily available for state and local government and education entities around the countryWhile not being a public sector organization, but rather a nonprofit organization working uniquely to support the member states of NASPO (National Association of State Procurement Officials). NASPO Valuepoint focuses on putting out different proposal requests for various contract scopes to meet members’ needs. For example, if NASPO determines that there is a need for automobiles or automobile parts, they put out a proposal request on their contract and then they have manufacturers and contractors for automobile parts respond to that proposal.
That is how Carahsoft became involved; in 2015 we responded to a proposal request for a cloud solutions contract under NASPO and were awarded the contract for 2016 through 2026.
State Procurement Process for NASPO
NASPO puts together an all-encompassing master agreement that serves as the contractor’s base contract. Then individual state procurement offices work one-on-one with Carahsoft to write smaller contracts, called a Participating Addenda (PA), that allow the states to access Carahsoft’s master cloud solutions agreement with NASPO at any point during the contract. Carahsoft has participating addenda with 37 states, more than any other contractor in the cloud solutions category.
This opt-in process benefits the state because they can augment the master agreement with their own relevant terms and conditions, pricing arrangements, availability of product, and other terms that might be relevant to them. A state could say: “In our state, here’s how we do termination for convenience” and customize their own terms and conditions within the participating addendum. For example, Georgia has their own procurement manual, their own procurement code, and specific ways things operate. They don’t have to participate to the exact set of rules that are set down within the master agreement. They can take that baseline of rules and customize them.
The ability to leverage an existing contract is a big advantage to these customers. Many state purchasing organizations have limited resources, so they can leverage a competition that’s already being conducted by NASPO and use that as a baseline in their procurement. It allows them a higher level of efficiency.
Benefits of Purchasing Under a State Procurement Contract
Convenience for States: NASPO gives state purchasing entities a pre-negotiated contract to leverage for cloud solutions. Otherwise, state governments would need to start contracts from scratch, a process that could take months. Cloud solutions have a focused scope, and purchasing entities may struggle to completely address the specifics of SaaS and in-cloud solution contracts. This type of agreement is effective in that it provides a framework that already addresses most requirements that customers may leverage as opposed to starting their own brand new contract.
Updating: from our vendor partners on a rolling, monthly basis, including any new products, technology features, pricing information, or other terms. In addition, it allows new terms and conditions if some of our vendor partners want to include their updated versions.
Vendor Partners: Carahsoft can also add new technology partners such as vendors or resellers very easily. We can use our partner network as part of our NASPO contract by getting them approved on a monthly basis. They can leverage our contract just like we would as they source the technology solutions that are available on NASPO through Carahsoft.
NIST Framework: NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) standards are leveraged in a variety of ways by state and federal governments, industry, etc. For example, they have a baseline definition for a cloud service. States have confidence that a product or service that is available on a NASPO contract meets these NIST standards as being a cloud service; this gives them confidence to understand what they are purchasing through the contract.
The NIST model framework that NASPO adheres to is largely part of the contract scope. Everything that is included in the NASPO model is “something as-a-service.” The three models followed by this NIST framework are software, platform, or infrastructure as-a-service. If it is one of those solution capabilities, then it can be eligible to be approved for NASPO.
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