Steve Bruce, SJ&A
RFPs for the largest Federal IT services contracts of the next decade are to be released soon: GSA’s Multiple Award IDIQ Government Wide Acquisition Contract, Alliant 2 Unrestricted (A2) and Alliant 2 Small Business (A2SB). Alliant 2 has a $50 billion ceiling over 10 years; Alliant 2 Small Business has a $15 billion ceiling. It is anticipated that there will be 60 awards on A2 and 80 awards on A2SB. As of the second draft of the RFP, GSA’s blog noted that more than 1,000 questions were received about the procurement. Industry interest is high; the competition, stiff. What are your chances of winning? Do you have the resources to prepare a winning proposal? Preparing a proposal can be costly; but so can passing up the opportunities afforded by this vehicle. To bid or not to bid, that is the question.
The Contracting Office is still completing their pre-solicitation phase and will announce their intent to post an RFP on FBO at least two weeks prior to an official RFP release—which should be imminently as they missed their initial target release date. It’s not too late to consider submitting a proposal.
The first step in your bid decision is to use GSA’s Document Verification and Self Scoring Worksheet (Draft RFP Attachment J.P-9) in which you assign point values for more than 100 line items. It is vital that you take the time now to self-score before you commit to a bid. Of note, GSA is not encouraging teaming or subcontracting for either A2 or A2SB as the Worksheet only considers prime contractor qualifications. Highlights of key requirements for each proposal volume include the following:
- Relevant Experience (Vol. 2)—GSA’s Alliant seeks to secure firms with a successful track record of experience and past performance on IT contracts. Experience is organized by designated Product Service Codes (PSCs) and Leading Edge Technologies (LETs). Projects by PSC Group must be either ongoing or must have been completed within the last 5 years. The projects can be government or commercial and must be prime contracts that are greater than $1M; a subcontract will not be considered as a non-government contract. You will score higher if you show: (a) a large range of competencies and projects, (b) support to a number of Federal agencies, and (c) large contract values.
- Past Performance (Vol. 3)—This includes references for those projects that fall under the PSCs, including CPARS. An offeror can submit up to seven projects for review. Points for past performance and relevant experience are the critical factors here—equaling almost 50% of the total points available.
- Systems, Certifications, and Clearances (Vol. 4)—The RFP identifies a number of items in this category for scoring—ranging from a Cost Accounting System to Industry Certifications (e.g., CMMI or ISO) to security clearances. While these are not specifically required by GSA, the more that you have, again, the higher you will score. Of note, a DCCA or DCMA-approved Cost Accounting System has the largest amount of points in this category.
- Cost/Price (Vol. 5)—Direct labor rate ranges are provided in the RFP and offerors are encouraged to provide convincing rationale to support a lower or higher direct labor rate than those provided. If the rates are not considered fair and reasonable, you will not be eligible for an award regardless of the technical score.
Evaluate your scoring and make an informed decision. A recent article in Washington Technology estimates that of the 75,600 points available, you would need a minimum score of 59,000 points to win on A2; 47,000 points to win on A2SB. Of course, these are estimates only, but can serve as a benchmark in your decision-making. Once you believe you are competitive, do not wait until the RFP hits the street before you begin to gather your documentation—this is detailed and time consuming.
SJ&A consultants are available to assist you in evaluating your chances of a successful bid, and in helping you prepare a winning proposal—from coordination to writing/editing to Red Teaming. For more information about this opportunity, contact Steve Bruce at (703) 989-2799 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.