GSA mulls recompete of SAM.gov contract

The General Services Administration granted IBM a six-month $16 million extension on its contract to operate and modernize the SAM.gov system as the agency considers whether to put the business up for bidding.

GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)
 

The General Services Administration granted IBM a six-month $16 million extension on its contract to operate and modernize the SAM.gov system as the agency considers whether to put the business up for bidding.

The extension was announced in a contracting document dated Aug. 13 that cited an urgent need to keep IBM on the job while the agency explores the possibility of a competitive offering.

IBM has held the System for Award Management Architecture and Operations Contract Services contract for eight years, and it is leading the effort to modernize the system of systems that government agencies and vendors use to manage hundreds of billions in government contracts annually.

IBM's contract expired Aug. 14. GSA had intended to award IBM another long-term deal, but according to contracting documents, that move was overturned because of a ruling that more market research needs to be conducted to support a decision to justify a sole source award.

The agency touted IBM's rating in a recent performance assessment.

"IBM's performance is solid and continues to improve over the course of this contract. They have moved from the satisfactory/good level to the very good/excellent level in many areas. Their processes have matured. Their knowledge base continues to grow. IBM continues to partner with the government to overcome challenges and displays strong commitment to program success," the document stated.

GSA is in the midst of a major modernization of the SAM ecosystem, which touches every aspect of civilian and defense contracting, from solicitation to tracking spending. The effort has been in progress since 2010, and the slow pace of the project has generated some ire on Capitol Hill, most notably from Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who threatened to hold up confirmation of Denise Turner Roth to lead GSA in 2015 in order to obtain answers to questions about the cost and timing of the project.

 In September 2017, GSA launched a beta site that will eventually encompass nine fully modernized systems, eliminating the need for standalone sites such as FedBizOpps, the Federal Procurement Data System and others. So far, just one legacy system -- the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance -- has been retired.

Once the modernized system moves from beta to production, GSA anticipates more opportunities,  including multiple small business awards to be made for the operation, maintenance and enhancement of the new system.

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