WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Should we bid goodbye to Alliant?

Even giving it the kindest benefit of the doubt, the General Services Administration's Alliant contract has been an exercise in frustration. The long run up to awards, then the protests and now a virtual "do-over."

At FedSource's Outlook conference this morning, Ray Bjorklund presented information that the use of governmentwide task order contracts is declining.

According to FedSources' analysis, the use of GWACs has dropped 15 percent since 2005. The GSA schedule is down, from 17 percent of spending in the IT market in 2005 to 14 percent in 2007.

Meanwhile, the use of agency-specific, task order contracts is rising. Among these are contracts such as the Air Force's Netcents and Homeland Security Department's Eagle contract.

The Defense Department, in particular, is increasing its use of home-grown contracts.

The question is, should GSA cancel Alliant, despite the millions spent? How would such a move impact contractors? If they decide to cancel Alliant, what should GSA do to win back its customers?

What do you think? Post a comment on this blog (registration is required) or send an e-mail to nwakeman_AT_1105govinfo.com and we'll post a comment for you. Put "Alliant" in the subject line.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Apr 10, 2008 at 9:54 AM

Reader Comments

Mon, Apr 14, 2008 Michael McHugh VA

Hopefully, GSA can salvage Alliant. The GWACs represent some wonderful acquisition reform and streamlining. Under Alliant anyone in the federal government can access world class IT services under a single, ready-built contract vehicle. Alliant is flexible and comprehensive. It's all the federal government needs to buy IT services. With Alliant in place all other vehicles become even more clearly a waste of resources due to manifold duplication of effort across the far reaches of government. The Departmental and agency-wide vehicles represent a waste-waste situation. They sap the government's limited resources - especially qualified personnel. They force federal program managers into contract shops who exercise monopoly power over them with the associated service levels. More importantly, they force vendors to crank up multiple proposal efforts for each agency or withdraw altogether from agency-specific markets. This is very costly. Agency-specific contracts reflect an unraveling of some highly enlightened acquisition reforms of the 90s. Who is truly served? I fear it's only a few senior parochially ambitious bureaucrats.

Mon, Apr 14, 2008 elmer baugess NC

This is written from the standpoint of small companies that pony up big bucks to fund B&P funds mostly as subcontractors but also as primes. These companies spend their money in good faith that they will be sucessful in capturing an award - not that the award will yanked from them after a sucessful capture effort. The argument that this is "just the cost of doing business" is valid when a company loses but not when they win and the program is canceled. The same applies to the large business capture process except that the numbers are larger. Large companies work from established B&P budgets that must be justified. GSA, Agencies and DoD must excecute needs and requirments research when establishing acquisition vehicles and then support them through the life of the program. Then everyone wins.

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