By Global Services on September 6, 2022
What is MRAS?
Everyone’s buzzing about GSA’s Market Research as a Service (MRAS). We’ve personally been fixated on it since TargetGov’s Gloria Larkin gave us an overview in January. Recently, the GSA team hosted a webinar highlighting MRAS and all its components. So, let’s revisit.
According to the GSA site, MRAS is a value-added service, available to agency customers at no cost. Enabled by Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology, MRAS streamlines the acquisition process for federal agencies through its three (3) service options:
- Rapid Review
- Request for Information (RFI) / Market Research Report
- GSA Advantage Product Market Research.
How Does MRAS Actually Work?
MRAS is supported by a Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Customer and Stakeholder Engagement (CASE) Bot that runs monthly, consolidating and archiving all vendor / contract data from eLibrary. That data is then inputted and filtered through commercial software, Qualtrics, to ensure that all information is up to date. When requests for market research are received from agency customers, Rapid Review commences:
- Step 1: The bot exports request data into an internal tracker.
- Step 2: The bot will scour the requirements provided, download the Statement of Work (SOW), and create a Word document of key words, which it will compare to available Special Item Numbers (SINs) and North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) descriptions.
- Step 3: The Rapid Review output file is created featuring the five (5) most compatible contracts, along with a list of potential .
Request for Information (RFI) / Market Research
Utilizing the Qualtrics platform, GSA captures information from the agency customer on project requirements, set-asides, and more. Once the RFI is completed, industry partners will be prompted to respond. After the RFI has closed and responses have been gathered, a Market Research Report is created, outlining the socioeconomic designations, GSA contracts, and feedback from the RFI responders. Through this process, GSA unites the government and industry in improving and streamlining Requests for Proposals (RFPs).
GSA Advantage Product Market Research
For this service, MRAS utilizes a Commodity Market Research Comparative Analysis and Price Analysis Report Bot. Once an input sheet is returned to GSA, listing all the desired products, the bot automatically searches all manufacturer part numbers on GSA Advantage! one by one. For part numbers that are not located, the bot annotates the missing fields. For each part number located, the bot crafts a report to include all seller information, quantity, price, etc. Finally, the bot will collect analytics for each option on a final Excel sheet for customer reference.
How Will MRAS Benefit Agency Customers?
Enabled by RPA technology, GSA’s MRAS implements, collects, and returns crucial RFI data for customers in three (3) weeks or less. The GSA MRAS team keeps full transparency with their agency customers and offers full flexibility in tailoring RFIs. After RFI responses have been collected, MRAS technology visualizes results in charts and graphs, helping agencies shape their acquisition strategy moving forward.
Since its implementation in 2020, MRAS has assisted 350+ agency customers, provided 650+ research projects, and supported $22B worth of acquisitions. All at no cost to the customer.
How Will MRAS Benefit Contractors?
MRAS minimizes the market research burden for agency customers, while simultaneously positioning MAS contractors for opportunities. How is this achieved? Well, GSA only pulls research data from MAS Schedule holders.
When GSA posts a MRAS-backed RFI on eLibrary, a lead sourcing environment, only MAS Schedule contractors with SINs applicable to the scope of work will receive an email alert. From there, contractors are able to provide feedback in the customized RFI surveys, provide links to company webpages, and attach their Capability Statements. By responding to these RFIs, contractors can put their company on the radar of their target agency customers.
By GSA’s estimate, 50%+ of MRAS-backed contracting opportunities are already awarded to MAS contractors. GSA’s MRAS strategy stands to further increase opportunities for MAS contractors in the acquisition space.
Do you need assistance maintaining your GSA Schedule contract? Reach out to our MAS experts at Global Services today!