Alliant 2 update: Bid, baby, bid
The GSA leader beyond Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business is offering some straightforward advice to industry – Bid, baby, bid.
Well, he didn’t exactly use those words during our Washington Technology GSA Industry Day, but Chris Fornecker definitely wants industry involved at all levels with these large procurement vehicles.
Fornecker is the director of GWAC programs at GSA, and in addition to the Alliant contract, he also oversees VETS, which is for service-disabled, veteran-owned companies, and 8(a) STARS, which is for small businesses in the 8(a) program.
GSA is working on the final solicitations for Alliant 2 and Alliant 2 Small Business, and Fornecker said they should be released in the Spring, and that awards will be made in the third quarter of fiscal 2017.
The offerings under the contracts will be very similar to what is currently offered under the Alliant contracts – broad IT capabilities that allow agencies to field complex IT projects.
But there are some notable changes, potential bidders need to be aware of.
The proposal and evaluation process will be similar to what GSA used when awarding the OASIS contract for professional services.
The streamlined process will include the use of self-scoring worksheets.
The contracts also will used standardized labor categories from the Labor Department, which also will help streamline the process.
Fornecker didn’t talk about the number of prime contracts to be awarded, but it is instructive to look at the current contracts and realize that the numbers likely will not go down.
The current Alliant contract has 57 primes, and Alliant Small Business has 50. You have to assume that some of the 50 small business have outgrown the small business designation since the contract was awarded in 2009, and they will be pushing to win spots on Alliant 2.
While this will make the full-and-open Alliant 2 contract more competitive, it will also open opportunities for new small businesses to bid on Alliant 2 Small Business.
Fornecker said that they also are planning to have an on-ramping process, so new competitors will be added periodically over the life of the contracts.
In addition to encouraging companies to bid as primes on the Alliant contracts, Fornecker said there are opportunities for companies to subcontract with existing primes as a way of gaining access to these contracts.
Alliant is a great success story. When it was first awarded, it was hit with bid protests, which caused GSA to retrench and make new awards to virtually all the bidders.
The delay gave the contract a late start, so it wasn't all fine and dandy in the beginning. It wasn’t until 2011 that the Alliant contracts broke the $1 billion level in task orders.
But the business through the two vehicles has climbed steadily ever since. In 2015, they hit $4.1 billion in task orders.
Since 2009, more than $15.7 billion in task orders have been awarded through the two Alliant contracts, according to the GSA GWAC dashboard.
With numbers that large, the recompetes are drawing a lot of attention.
But Fornecker also emphasized that these contracts are not for newcomers. If you don’t have much government past performance and experience in the federal market, you should look elsewhere for opportunities as prime.
The better play for lesser experienced companies is to team with a current prime to gather qualifications and then pursue a prime spot through the on-ramping process down the road.
“We want companies who can say, we’ve been there, we’ve done that and we’ve got the t-shirt,” Fornecker said.
Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:26 AM