In a move that could save New York millions of dollars as well as increase diversity in the tech sector, the state recently selected a company to manage a network of subcontractors that would deliver IT support to all state agencies.

Last fall, the New York State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) issued an RFP to procure the state's IT staff augmentation services. Last month, TAPFIN Process Solutions, a subsidiary of COMSYS, received the tentative contract award.

By providing a statewide pool of subcontractors, the new network is expected to save millions of dollars by leveraging the state's buying power and also eliminating the redundant efforts of agencies that spend time and effort searching for IT staff augmentation services.

Currently TAPFIN has formal commitments from more than 600 subcontractors located in the state. As part of the contract, TAPFIN also has committed to utilize at least 24 percent of New York's minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) as subcontractors, which underscores New York Gov. David A. Paterson's push to expand opportunities for small businesses and increase the participation level for MWBEs in government contracting.

"Gov. Paterson has been committed to enhancing the level of MWBE participation on the state level," said Angela R. Liotta, acting public information officer and media relations director for the CIO/OFT. "We view this procurement as an opportunity to let MWBEs have more access to state dollars spent on IT services."

In 2007, the participation level of MWBEs in New York's technology sector was 4.8 percent. In 2008, that number jumped to 8.2 percent and doubled to 16.4 percent in 2009, Liotta said. CIO/OFT hopes to raise the participation level of MWBE firms in the tech sector to 20 percent this year.

Last November, CIO/OFT held a meet-and-greet to connect primary vendors bidding on the RFP with MWBEs and small companies. More than 150 representatives from MWBEs came out to interact and publicize their businesses, much like the state-sponsored Technology Sector MWBE JumpStart Events that connect MWBE firms with global IT companies.

"In this age of super-sized corporations, small businesses may not make the headlines, but they do drive job creation," Paterson said in December when he accepted the final report of the New York State Small Business Task Force, which aims to bolster entrepreneurs. "The road to prosperity runs through New York's corner stores and technology startups, its mom-and-pop restaurants and roadside repair shops."

 

Russell Nichols  |  Staff Writer