GSA fine-tunes Alliant acquisition strategy

The General Services Administration wants to align its Alliant project with the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA) model and make several other key changes to the solicitation, agency officials said in Webcast presentation today.

The other changes in contracting strategy for the multibillion-dollar Alliant and Alliant Small Business programs involve sustaining opportunities for all companies, clarifying issues of contract overlap with other GSA procurements and ensuring the proper use of the contract with necessary agency oversight mechanisms. Agency officials also provided new dates for the final requests for proposals and award dates for the governmentwide IT procurements.

Jim Ghiloni, GSA's Alliant project manager, outlined the four major changes in the Alliant program's strategy in a 30-minute presentation on GSA's Alliant Web Web site. GSA will continue to retain the distinct structure of program with a separate Alliant Full and Open procurement and an Alliant Small Business procurement, he said. The full and open procurement is worth $50 billion, while the small business contract is valued at $15 billion.

A set of revised draft RFPs will contain statements of work that align the Alliant procurements with the FEA model, Ghiloni said. The FEA is a business-based framework for governmentwide improvement that will let GSA categorize Alliant IT requirements that are specific and generic at the same time in a flexible FEA model that evolves over time, according to Ghiloni. Changes in the Alliant program's statements of work for both procurements will be realized through the FEA model's maintenance process, he added.

While the larger Alliant contract will continue to have one functional area, GSA may increase the small business contract's functional areas from two to three or four, he added. GSA's research indicates that that the two functional areas of Alliant Small Business are not consistent with the FEA model, he said.

GSA also will ensure that all companies have a chance to get on the Alliant program by revisiting Alliant's evaluation factors, Ghiloni said. To include a full range of industry partners, such as midsize and emerging companies, and the best IT solutions available, GSA has created mechanisms to allow them to join or depart the program.

So-called "on-ramps" will let the agency bring emerging companies on board by periodically reopening the program's RFP for new awardees, Ghiloni said. These companies will be subject to the same evaluation criteria and will share in the ceiling amount of the contract award, he added. So-called "off-ramps" will let GSA remove companies from the Alliant contracts through natural attrition if they experience changes such as buyouts or mergers, perform poorly or are recertified as other than small businesses, Ghiloni said. GSA will periodically review the performance of Alliant contract holders to determine their status.

Because the Alliant program will overlap with other contracts in GSA's portfolio, GSA will clarify the role of the Alliant contracts as they relate to others, such as the Networx telecommunications contract, Ghiloni said. GSA will clarify Alliant's contract scope and identify areas of overlap via ordering guide procedures for customers, other tools on the Alliant Web site and educational material for ordering officers, he said.

Finally, GSA is putting into place enhanced support systems and updating internal programs to enhance the oversight for its data reporting on the Alliant program, according to Ghiloni.

GSA also will keep the current North American Industry Classification Systems code 541512 for computer design services for the Alliant Small Business contract, he said.

GSA will issue a second set of draft RFPs in June that will reflect the changes in the program's strategy. The agency will release the final RFPs in October with awards to be made in the summer of 2007, Ghiloni said. Notification will appear on the FedBizOpps Web site. Industry and other interested parties can send comments about the enhanced strategy to GSA at alliant@gsa.gov.

The number of contract awards will be similar to what GSA previously had in mind, Ghiloni said. The agency has said that it plans to issue about 20 awards for the Alliant full and open procurement and up to 40 for the small business procurement.

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