WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Early performance issue doomed this DataPath bid

In its fight to keep an incumbent contract, DataPath argued that its past performance on the contract was not properly evaluated and the Army had treated both bidders unequally in the recompete.

Unfortunately for DataPath, the Government Accountability Office didn’t agree and denied the company’s protest.

Envistacom thus has wrestled away the $234.9 million contract to provide operations and support for several communication systems and networks.

DataPath has held the contract for several years and as described in the GAO decision the early years were rough. The Army ended up changing the scope of the incumbent contract. After that happened, DataPath’s performance improved.

In a statement sent to Washington Technology by DataPath’s attorney Lee Dougherty of Effectus PLLC, the company said it inherited a troubled contract and now leaves it “running flawlessly.”

DataPath stands by the challenges it lays out in the protest.

“DataPath as the incumbent was the most experienced company submitting an offer,” Dougherty said. In fact, it had higher ratings in some areas than Envistacom.

In the end, the two companies had nearly identical technical evaluations and prices that both rounded to $234.9 million. But Envistacom’s bid was slightly lower than DataPath’s, according to the GAO decision.

With the scores so close, DataPath’s earlier challenges on the program are what spelled its doom. The Army “identified a medium risk of poor performance given the firm’s inability to successfully perform the full scope of the incumbent effort,” GAO wrote.

GAO also didn’t find anything in the procurement record that indicated the companies were treated differently.

Despite the rejection, DataPath isn’t giving up on the customer even if it can’t continue on this contract. Dougherty said the company “looks forward to continuing to work tirelessly” to support the Army.

One message from this decision is that it reinforces the critical importance of past performance. DataPath is proud of the work it did. In its eyes, it rescued a troubled contract. But the Army saw a risk.

So you need to make sure that you see your past performance the same way your customer does.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Mar 26, 2021 at 11:32 AM

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