Solicitation for $50B CIO-SP4 released just in time for the holiday

On the cusp of the Memorial Day weekend, the final solicitation is finally out for the $50 billion CIO-SP4 contract vehicle covering a broad range of IT services.

Proposal managers and business developers across the market have their heads down today as they immerse themselves in the final solicitation for the $50 billion Chief Information Officer-Solutions and Partners 4 contract.

Known as CIO-SP4, this contract for a broad range of IT services been eagerly awaited and the release had been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That caused delays in the National Institutes of Health's IT acquisition center getting the business case approved and final sign-offs at the Office of Management and Budget and the Small Business Administration.

But all of that is in the rear-view mirror now as companies can get to work on this governmentwide acquisition contract.

This will be the fourth iteration of the CIO-SP line of multiple-award contracts. The new contract has a $50 billion ceiling compared to CIO-SP3’s of $20 billion. Like its predecessor, CIO-SP4 will have 10-year term with a five-year base and a five-year option.

CIO-SP4 has 10 task areas:

  • IT services for biomedical research, health sciences and health care
  • Chief Information Officer support
  • Digital media
  • Outsourcing
  • IT operations and maintenance
  • Integration services
  • Cybersecurity
  • Digital government and cloud services
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Software development

Proposals are due June 28.

The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center is using a three-phase approach in the evaluations. In phase one, the agency will validate bidders’ self-scoring sheet. Only the highest rated will move on. It’s not clear what the threshold for highest rated is. At least, I couldn’t find it in the 185-page solicitation.

For phase two, NITAAC will verify if the required documentation has been submitted and “representations and certifications” are complete and accurate. NITAAC also will verify if bidders have adequate accounting systems.

Companies will get a go or no-go rating to proceed. Of course, a no-go means you are out of the competition.

During phase three, NITAAC will evaluate the written proposals for four factors:

  • Health IT capability
  • Management approach -- program management, resources, corporate commitment
  • Past performance
  • Price

At the end of phase three, NITAAC will make awards based on a best-value analysis.

The solicitation also leaves open the door for an on-ramp process down the road, a common feature of many governmentwide acquisition contracts these days. There is no schedule for an on-ramp. That will be determined by the procuring contract officer.

On a final note, you have to love NITAAC’s timing.

With the delays, the solicitation is out right before Memorial Day, so I’m sure some folks are cancelling plans for this weekend.

Proposals are due June 28. That’s the Monday before July 4th, so you better hope there isn’t an extension because if there is, the summer holiday is going to be ruined for a lot of people.

Luckily, Labor Day is still months away and it would be a stretch for NITAAC to go for the trifecta and mess up that holiday. But you never know.