GSA: Alliant has everything

The new megacontract incorporates the federal enterprise architecture and the Defense Department's enterprise architecture

GSA’s Alliant Web site

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It took the General Services Administration more than a year longer than it expected to award Alliant, its latest governmentwide acquisition contract. But officials said several innovative features of the information technology contract will make it well worth the wait.

Alliant, awarded to 29 vendors July 31, rolls into one contract the best aspects of existing multiple-award contracts, including innovative approaches to refreshing the contract and making task orders competitive, GSA officials said.

“The challenge we faced is how could we create a contract that is flexible enough to allow for ongoing technology and keep up with industry changes,” said Jim Ghiloni, acting director at the Center for Governmentwide Acquisition Contract programs at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “Rather than taking a typical approach, we have a next-generation contracting model.”

Ghiloni said the agency took the extra time to develop Alliant so it could incorporate the federal enterprise architecture and the Defense Department’s architecture as models for what vendors could offer.

“These models describe what an IT initiative would look like, not how to do it,” Ghiloni said. “We want the task order to get one level above specifics and describe what an IT solution might look like, not how to accomplish it.”

Ghiloni said the Alliant contract will change to incorporate new technologies and performance expectations as the federal enterprise architecture and DOD architecture models evolve. Alliant is a five-year contract with one five-year option and a ceiling of $50 billion. Agencies can use it to buy IT applications, infrastructure and services.

Alliant lets agencies use any type of task-order contract: firm-fixed-price, time-and-materials, cost-plus or award-fee. That is more flexibility than offered by the two contracts GSA created Alliant to replace. Millennia limited agencies to firm-fixed-price and cost-plus task orders, and they could use time-and-materials or cost-plus task orders under the Applications ’N Support for Widely Diverse End-User Requirements contract.

Alliant will be easier to use than Millennia has been, said Ted Davies, Unisys’ managing partner for civilian agencies.

Ghiloni said he hopes agencies will start placing orders through Alliant by Sept. 1. But GSA must wait to see if any of the 37 unsuccessful bidders files a protest. He said GSA would award a second Alliant contract, Alliant Small Business, before Dec. 31.

Several of the winning Alliant vendors said they anticipate some lag time before agencies start using the new contract. 

Dennis Pelehach, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Alliant program manager, said GSA has created a self-sustaining contract by using the federal enterprise architecture and DOD architecture as models. Unlike previous GSA contract vehicles, Alliant should not require special technical refreshes or changes to the scope of the contract.

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