Alliant protests won’t stop GSA

The General Services Administration is stuck at the starting gate with its latest major information technology contract, Alliant.

Seven companies have filed eight protests against the contract’s award, and GSA must await a Government Accountability Office decision. GAO has until early December to uphold or dismiss the protests.

Seven unsuccessful bidders filed protests including STG, which filed two. The others are Advanced Technology Systems, Artel, Client Network Services, Nortel Government Solutions, Centech Group and Stanley.

The Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract is a five-year contract with one five-year option and a ceiling of $50 billion. Agencies will use it to buy IT applications, infrastructure components and end-to-end services. On July 31, GSA awarded spots on the contract to 29 vendors and rejected 37.

Michael Golden, GAO’s associate general counsel, said all the companies protested the evaluation of their bids and their exclusion from the contract. “Each company’s protest is somewhat unique, and there are no general trends to discuss,” Golden said.


GAO is treating the protests separately and will request a report from GSA for each one. In the meantime, GSA officials said, they plan to do as much as possible to prepare for launching the contract. The agency’s goal is to hit the ground running, said Jim Ghiloni, Alliant program manager and director of GWAC programs at GSA, during a recent conference about Alliant. While the protests are under consideration, GSA can tell agencies about Alliant and educate its own employees about the contract’s details, Ghiloni said.


“Many customers don’t know what a GWAC is,” he said, and they don’t understand the differences between buying from a GSA schedule and buying from a GWAC.


Ghiloni said he expects Alliant to draw customers, especially as IT acquisitions become increasingly complex and weighted with requirements.


“I don’t think you have to sell Alliant; you just have to make them aware of it,” he said. “It sells itself.”


John Johnson, assistant commissioner at the Federal Acquisition Service’s Office of Integrated Technology Services, said GSA has much to prove with Alliant. “It’s not really speed that we’re after,” Johnson said. “It’s consistency. It’s a matter of doing what we said we were going to do.”


If GSA fails on that front, the agency will have a credibility issue, Johnson said.


GSA is taking another new approach with Alliant, Ghiloni said. It plans to track customer spending under the contract so agencies can see where their money goes.


“Customers have a hunger for data,” he said. Tracking spending information will also give GSA a glimpse into how the market is changing, he said, so the agency can adapt.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above