8 things you need to know about OASIS

OASIS has been a highly anticipated contract, and questions and concerns have been raised since GSA first floated the concept in 2011. But it's here now, and it's not going away. Here are some critical items you need to know.

The General Services Administration’s $60 billion OASIS contract for professional services has been a highly anticipated contract since the agency first floated the concept in 2011.

Questions have gone back and forth, with concerns raised about the scope and the need, but those discussions are moot now that the request for proposals have been released. It’s here, it’s big, it’s gonna happen. And frankly, if you aren’t leading a team or on a team already, you better start scrambling, or you just might be out of luck.

But whether you are on a team or not, this contract is worth following, and here are some critical items to keep in mind.

This is not an IT contract. Yes, IT can be sold through it, but the IT has to be part of a professional services-related solution, not a standalone purchase.

Where does the $60 billion value come from? This is an estimate developed by Deltek. The OASIS program office says that the government spends $60 billion a year on the kind of complex professional services to be sold through OASIS. If OASIS captures 5 percent to 10 percent of that business, the contract would take in $3 billion to $6 billion a year, $30 billion to $60 billion over the 10-year life of the contract. OASIS has no dollar value ceiling, so theoretically, the dollars that flow through the contract are unlimited. You better believe that GSA is going to be marketing the heck out of OASIS.

Important dates: The most important date right now is Sept. 17, when proposals are due. But GSA also is taking questions on requirements until Aug. 20. GSA says awards will be in the fall. That’s pretty ambitious, so we’ll keep track of it.

Hundreds of awards. Yep, that’s right, hundreds. The contract has seven pools, based on six different NAICS codes. One code is split into two pools, which GSA says will have 20 awards each. The other pools will have 40 awards each. That’s 240 awards, or 440 if you add the small business number to the unrestricted number.

What are these pools? The RFPs have a breakdown, and if you’ve ever looked at NAICS codes, you know how granular and vague they can be at the same time. For example, in Pool 1, the NAICS codes include 541330 for engineering services, and 541820 for advertising agencies, as well as 541990 for all other professional, scientific and technical services. I’m not sure how all of those fit together.

Will the teams be large? If you look at the codes in some of the pools, I would say the teams will be large, and that’s probably the one opening still left to get on a team. There are plenty of niche services in OASIS that the primes will need to have locked down by Sept. 17.

Small business goals: The unrestricted contract has a 50 percent small-business subcontracting requirement. The small business OASIS is 100 percent small business.

Next steps? If you haven’t already, talk to your customers about how they plan to use the contract, and bring them ideas how OASIS can help them. Whether you want to be a prime or a sub, those are critical conversations to have.