Frequently Asked Questions: New York State HBITS
The information contained herein is for informational purposes only as a service to the public, and is not advice or counsel, nor does it constitute advertising or a solicitation. For specific information on the New York State HBITS contract, go to the following link at the NYS Office of General Services (OGS): http://ogs.ny.gov/BU/PC/hbits/
For positions currently being solicited by NYS HBITS contract, check our careers page.
For positions currently being solicited by NYS HBITS contract, check our careers page.
· What is HBITS?
· Who are these vendors and how were they selected?
· Who is in charge of HBITS?
· Why did the state put HBITS into effect?
· How will I know I am being paid a competitive rate as a consultant?
· How long will the engagement durations be for each assignment?
· How would a consultant increase (or decrease) his/her probability of being selected for a position?
· What is the process once an agency wants to engage a consultant for a specific engagement?
· Vendor Selection Example
What is HBITS?
HBITS is an acronym for Hourly-Based Information Technology Services. It is a contract that contains policies and procedures by which many New York State Agencies and Municipalities (herein referred to as “agencies”) will acquire contractual IT services. It is a legal and business framework by which IT managers at the various agencies can purchase and engage hourly based IT consultants from a selected group of vendors.
Who are these vendors and how were they selected?
New York State, through the Office of General Services (OGS), issued an RFP (request for proposal) prompting more than one hundred proposals from various IT contracting firms throughout the U.S. The firms were all evaluated based on criteria which included pricing, reputation, and experience in providing IT staffing services related to the needs of the NY state agencies. OGS selected 25 vendors from the several hundred that responded to the RFP. Of the 25 vendors, 20 will be “active” vendors and 5 will be on a “waitlist” and will take the place of the 5 lowest performing vendors in the first year of the contract. OGS will determine the 5 lowest performing firms by a combination of factors including number of consultants engaged and pricing.
Who is in charge of HBITS?
The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) oversees the process (as an in-house MSP) and ensures compliance between the selected vendors and the various agencies using the contract.
The Managed Services Provider (MSP) will be housed within OGS and will have responsibilities including, but not limited to, making contractors aware of candidate
placement opportunities, preliminary review of certain candidate credentials, management of the centralized billing and payment function for agencies, and conducting the annual evaluation of the contractors.
Why did the state put HBITS into effect?
New York State Executive Agencies spent more than $100 million on hourly IT contracting services during the 2010-2011 State Fiscal Year. Historically, the amount spent has been distributed across several contracting vehicles and across multiple agencies with little consistency and continuity. The result was a very inefficient process resulting in higher costs and unfair practices. This HBITS Contract seeks to resolve these issues. The State will compel most, if not all, spending on HBITS for agencies via this HBITS Contract.
How will I know I am being paid a competitive rate as a consultant?
The architects of HBITS designed the platform to be price driven, competitive, and transparent. The "Hourly Wage Rate" refers to the hourly rate that the consultant will receive for services provided under each engagement, regardless of potential sub-contracting layers. So a consultant who is introduced to a vendor through a sub-vendor, will have the same or similar hourly wage rate as if the consultant had gone through the vendor directly.
The hourly wage rates and the hourly bill rates will be available for review in the public domain. So the markups on each position and for each of the active vendors will be available. However it is important to understand that each of the 20 vendors was selected based on, among other things, the favorable pricing structure they offered OGS in the contract. This was done by going through each job and title/level category and committing to an hourly bill rate and a minimum hourly wage rate for the consultant. As such, some vendors will offer more favorable wage rates than others. However, this is not the only variable you, as the consultant, need to be concerned with. While a vendor may offer you a higher wage rate, that same vendor may also be offering the MSP a higher bill rate, thereby increasing the probability that their candidate response form (which includes your resume) will be rejected. According to the rules of the HBITS contract, only a portion of the candidate response forms/resumes submitted will be forwarded to the agency (see information to follow) – those being the resumes of candidates who are technically qualified as well as those that are being offered at the LOWEST bill rate. So applying for the position through a vendor who is promising you the highest wage rate can potentially put your candidacy in jeopardy if that vendor is not among the vendors who are offering the lowest bill rates for the position.
For example, Vendor A is offering you $58/hour, Vendor B, $60/hour, and Vendor C $62/hour. You may look at this two ways: The first way you may think – Vendor C is offering the most so I will apply for the position through Vendor C. The second way to look at it is that Vendor A is offering me the least, but that is because they are probably also offering the MSP the lowest billing rate. So I have a better chance of the MSP forwarding my resume if I have the lowest billing rate, so I will apply through Vendor A. While both of these situations seem rational, neither may be correct. See our example below for further clarification.
How long will the engagement durations be for each assignment?
Engagements under the HBITS Contract shall be a minimum of 2 months and a maximum of 24 months in length. There will be no optional extensions for individual Engagements.
How would a consultant increase (or decrease) his/her probability of being selected for a position?
As a consultant, you will need to understand the factors influencing your probability of being selected for an engagement. In addition, you need to understand the process by which the MSP will select from the 20 select vendors. It is recommended that you speak with a firm that has experience working with NY State as well as extensive knowledge of the HBITS contract.
What is the process once an agency wants to engage a consultant for a specific engagement?
The agency will submit a Task Order Request Form to the MSP. This task order request will identify the selected job title needed, as well as requested qualifications. Job titles/levels all have specifically defined skill sets, qualifications, bill rates, and years of experience (as defined by OGS). The agency is not allowed to add additional “mandatory" qualifications to a Task Order Request Form other than those found in the OGS pricing schedules with title/level definitions and requirements. This was done to provide a fair and level playing field for all applicants, and not just those who may already be working at the agency and who may be reapplying.
The agency may request a minimum of one (1) and a maximum of two (2) Candidate Response Forms/resumes per position from each active contractor. In other words, each of the 20 vendors will be limited to submitting two (2) candidates for a single open request.
Once Candidate Response Forms/resumes have been collected, the MSP will review Hourly Bill Rates and ensure proposed qualifications are in accordance with the contract. Once reviewed, the MSP will send the Candidate Response Forms/resumes to agencies for consideration. Incomplete resumes and/or required recruitment and other forms will be rejected and not forwarded to the hiring manager’s attention.
The MSP will distribute an e-mail to all 20 active Contractors and post to the contractor bulletin board the completed Task Order Request Forms. Vendors have 10 business days to submit candidates to the MSP (5 business days if it is an expedited request).
Once Candidate Response Forms have been collected, the MSP will review Hourly Bill Rates and ensure proposed qualifications are in accordance with the contract. The MSP is the first filter to screen the resumes/candidate response forms. Please note that a “qualified candidate” is one whose skills and credentials meet all of the mandatory requirements, is within rate parameters, and whose forms have been completed satisfactorily. The MSP shall use the following methodology to determine the total number of qualified Candidate Response Forms to be passed on to the agency for each position sought:
a. If 10 - 40 qualified candidates: 50% of the candidates with the lowest hourly bill rates are forwarded to the agency.
b. If 6 -10 qualified candidates: Candidate with 5 lowest hourly bill rates are forwarded to the Agency.
c. If 5 or fewer qualified Candidates: MSP will investigate and determine whether to restart process or forward all Candidate Response Forms.
(There are provisions for forwarding another candidate response form whose bill rate is within 1% of the highest bill rate being forwarded).
Please note that a “qualified candidate” is one whose skills and credentials meet all of the mandatory requirements, is within rate parameters, and whose forms have been completed satisfactorily.
Vendor Selection Example
In the example below there are 6 vendors. In reality, there will be 20 vendors, each of whom may submit 2 candidates for a position. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s review the numbers of these 6 vendors.
- As a consultant applying for a specific position, which vendor would you choose to work for? Please take a moment and consider the answer to this question.
Many would choose Vendor 2 since they are paying the highest wage rate to the consultant. However, that could be a mistake. The MSP will be rejecting candidates with the highest bill rates in the group. If they receive many qualified candidate response forms/resumes, they will reject up to 50% of those. In that case, the 50% with the lowest bill rates would be forwarded to the agency.
Vendor 3 is also among the top half of the higher billing rates and there is a chance your resume would be rejected by the MSP on price alone – and never be evaluated by the agency.
Vendor’s 1, 4 and 5 have a higher probability, based on bill rate, of having your resume forwarded to the agency for technical review.
Vendor 1 looks quite appealing on the wage rate. However, their markup is the lowest of the group – very low as a matter of fact. This could be because they are a very small firm with extremely low overhead. Such a firm could be faced with potential problems in the future should market conditions become challenging. As such, in addition to the quantitative aspects of choosing a vendor, there are several qualitative aspects to consider including:
· The reputation of the vendor
· How long the vendor has been in business
· The vendor’s experience in the Albany market and with NY state.
· The vendor’s size, number of consultants, etc.
· The vendor’s financial strength and ability to pay you without interruption, even in adverse conditions
· The vendor’s market reach beyond Albany and their ability to provide you with other opportunities
All vendors are listed at the following link:
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