WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

CSRA fighting for chance to compete for incumbent contract

Two threats to incumbents seem to be very common in today’s market.

Many face the challenge of competitors looking to undercut them on price as a tactic for taking away a customer. We’ve written about that several times one of the consequences of living in an LPTA era.

But a second threat isn’t talked about as much: the customer converts a project from full-and-open competition to a small-business set aside one.

Incumbents have the choice of walking away or finding a small-business partner who can be the prime and the incumbent takes the role of being the sub. The downside of that is the small business prime now owns the customer relationship and the now former prime as a secondary role.

But there is a third way and we’re seeing that with a recent protest filed by CSRA with the Government Accountability Office about the Homeland Security Department’s decision to compete an IT operations and support services contract a small business competition.

The work will support DHS' Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and is being competed under the Eagle II vehicle's small business track.

CSRA is arguing that it isn’t being given a fair opportunity to compete.

It is a novel argument to be sure and likely faces an uphill battle for CSRA. Agencies are mandated by law to meet small business goals and also have a lot of leeway in deciding procurement strategies.

Not to interject another layer of complexity to this projects but the original prime on this work was a software company called Q-Base. In 2015, Q-Base sold its government services business to SRA International and the work with DHS came along with it. Later that year, SRA, was merged into Computer Sciences Corp.’s government services business that was being spun out to create CSRA.

And that is how CSRA become the incumbent on this work. You’ve got to love the twists and turns of the M&A world.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on May 10, 2017 at 10:35 AM


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