Commerce unveils winners of NexGen contract

John Lauder

Olivier Douliery

And then there were 51.

After a competition that involved more than 400 small companies, 51 businesses won spots on the Commerce Information Technology Services Next Generation contract.

The contract can be used by all federal agencies to buy a wide range of information technology solutions and services.

The winning companies will now compete for up to $8 billion in IT work over 10 years.

A major attraction of the contract is the opportunity to be a prime contractor on a large governmentwide contract, said Leslie Butler, president of Zen Technology Inc. of Bethesda, Md., one of the winners.

"Small and medium-size businesses don't generally have that opportunity," she said.

John Lauder, a senior vice president at NCI Information Systems Inc. of Reston, Va., another of the 51 winners, praised the flexibility of Commits NexGen, which allows the company to select the teammates for each task order it wins.

"This contract is unique in that it was our ability to team that was evaluated, rather than a particular set of teammates," he said.

Commits NexGen is the successor to the five-year, $1.5 billion Commits contract, which expired last month.

Fifteen of the 58 vendors on the first contract won spots on NexGen, said Patti Stang, a contracting officer with the Commerce Department. The contract awards were announced Sept. 14 on www.fedbizopps.gov.

Stang said the contract should be even more popular than the original vehicle, which was used by 11 federal departments and agencies.

"I'm anxious for this to take off, and I know it's going to," she said.

Under Commits NexGen, federal agencies can buy IT solutions from small businesses, including those that participate in the Small Business Administration's programs for 8(a) minority-owned and other disadvantaged businesses. The winners were chosen for their technical experience, service quality, mission capabilities, past performance and price, according to the Commerce Department.

The NexGen contract is different from the original vehicle in several ways. On the first contract, vendors were qualified to bid in certain functional areas and could bid only in those.

On Commits NexGen, winning contractors are divided into three tiers based on the size of the task order, not the technology being purchased.

Nineteen contractors that meet the $6 million or $12.5 million revenue size standards, based on North American Industrial Classification System codes, can compete for all task orders.

Twenty-four contractors that meet the $21 million revenue or 500 employee size standards can compete for task orders worth more than $5 million. Eight contractors that meet the 1,500-employee size standard can compete for task orders worth more than $40 million.

Where there is an incumbent contractor, that contractor can compete at any level. Firms that outgrow their size status can move into the next-highest size category. As companies outgrow the vehicle entirely, new small businesses will be added through an open season.

Under the first Commits contract, some companies had to leave the vehicle after growing too big, often because they had been purchased. With NexGen, some contractors believe companies will have more opportunity to grow inside the vehicle.

Staff Writer Gail Repsher Emery can be reached at gemery@postnewsweektech.com.

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