Alliant: Shared Interest Group
Alliant’s Shared Interest Group (SIG) of 58 industry partners is boosting significantly Alliant’s value to federal agencies through its technology and administrative initiatives.
Most prominent is the SIG’s white paper on cloud computing prepared for a federal interagency Cloud Migration Services Working Group. The paper describes the information and requirements that agencies should provide in a Statements of Objectives (SOO) to enable companies to bid on and deliver cloud products and solutions. “The goal is to create a Statement of Objectives template that serves as an example for how agencies can acquire cloud services,” said Richard Blake, Alliant Business Management Specialist. “It’s an incredible collaboration between government and industry for forward-looking technology.”
The Alliant SIG, which represents all contract holders, is led by a steering committee and three subcommittees for Business Development, Contract Administration, and Program Management. The SIG teams promote the contract and educate agencies about Alliant’s advantages, including the capabilities of the contract holders. In addition, they provide recommendations and advice for improving the contract, increasing communication with agencies, and making the contract easier to use.
Although SIG members compete with each other to win Alliant task orders, they understand that all members benefit if Alliant is valued and widely used by federal agencies. “The SIG enables camaraderie and allows contract holders to talk freely with each other,” said Ann Gladys, SIG Steering Committee Chair and CSC’s Director and Alliant Program Manager. “When we’re not competing on task orders, we may be partnering.”
Gladys pointed to the SIG’s work on the cloud white paper to illustrate its collaborative spirit. The Alliant SIG has 12 people on the cloud white-paper team, but all SIG members can participate and contribute to the paper through a SharePoint environment. “The congeniality among our industry partners is unique and has contributed to the small number of protests on Alliant task orders,” said Casey Kelley, Alliant Program Manager.
Identifying GWAC Best Practices
In addition to the cloud paper, SIG teams also are working on other initiatives. For example, a standing subcommittee is gathering GWAC best practices, not just from Alliant but also from other GWACs and multi-agency contracts. The SIG then makes recommendations to the Alliant program office to help strengthen the program.
The SIG also works closely with the Alliant staff to support and make recommendations to enhance the GWAC Management Module, which contains information about Alliant task orders, such as contracting agency, the number of bidders, the winning bidder, and the value of the award. And the SIG helps the Alliant staff create SOW templates that agencies can use to issue task orders.
The Alliant program staff also supports SIG members in numerous ways. For example, the staff has created a new orientation webinar for industry. The webinar explains the contract’s requirements, terms and conditions, and how to use the tools for getting information, receiving and submitting bids, and meeting contract requirements. Turnover in industry can be as high as 20 percent to 30 percent, said Roger Chapin, Alliant Administrator Contracting Officer. “Some people had trouble when they initially stepped in, and so we wanted to get them up to speed as quickly as possible so they don’t miss anything,” he said.
Industry representatives said Alliant officials respond quickly to any questions or concerns raised by contract holders, and they listen to suggestions and are constantly seeking ways to improve the program. “The openness between the Alliant program office and contract holders enables us to capitalize on our common interest to deliver the best value to customers,” said Ted Buford, co-chair of the SIG Program Management subcommittee and Senior Vice President and Alliant Program Manager for CACI.
“The GSA GWAC program has always scored very high in customer satisfaction, and a big reason for that is our relationship with our customers and industry partners,” Kelley said.