OAO ranked top ODIN bidder

While NASA awarded contracts to all seven bidders in the recent Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA (ODIN) contract, OAO Corp. outpaced the other vendors in all the main categories analyzed in the competition, according to a recently released source-selection document.

NASA officials briefly discussed awarding a single ODIN contract to OAO because the concern had presented "the most advantageous proposal for the government," but then dismissed that idea after determining that the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract required multiple awards.

OAO's proposal for the outsourcing contract offered the lowest price, the best match in mission suitability, good relevant experience and past performance, according to the source-selection document.

OAO bid $4.3 billion as a bundled seat price, including hardware, software, maintenance, technology refresh, training and help-desk support for NASA's 50,000 seats over the 10-year life of the contract. Boeing Information Services Inc. came in with the highest prices at $13.1 billion. RMS Information Services Inc. ranked lowest in the mission suitability and past-performance categories.

In evaluating the proposals, the price factor was significantly less important than the combined importance of mission suitability, relevant experience and past-performance, according to the document. All bidders presented proposals that had "impressive mission suitability scores, the most important evaluation factor."

But the wide divergence in prices offered by the vendors created problems comparing the rankings for past performance and mission suitability to weed out proposals. As a result, the source-selection board determined that "there was no clear place to draw the line on the basis of whose proposals were most advantageous for the government."

Now that the bidding ranked in this report is complete, each of these vendors will submit new proposals to various NASA centers or groups of centers that will begin to narrow the field to choose a single delivery-order contractor.

While each of NASA's 10 centers, including headquarters, will place orders exclusively with one vendor, four of the centers intend to work together to select one vendor. These centers— the Johnson Space Center, Marshall Space Flight Center, Stennis Space Center and Kennedy Space Center— make up about 50 percent to 65 percent of all NASA's desktop computers.

Karen Smith, ODIN contracting officer, said this selection document is a stand-alone document designed to outline the rationale used by NASA officials to select the seven vendors. It will not be considered by the various groups of centers as they work to choose a delivery-order contractor, she said.

The rankings released by the Source Evaluation Board will have little affect on vendors' future work under ODIN because each vendor will submit a new proposal in response to a specific task order and evaluations on those will start from scratch, according to an industry observer. Proposals were due last week for a task order issued by the four centers acting as an enterprise— Kennedy, Marshall, Stennis and Johnson. Proposals will be due early this fall for a task order issued by Goddard Space Flight Center. Both awards are expected by January.

A level playing field still exists for the ODIN vendors. "All seven vendors have an equal chance to win delivery orders," said Elaine Dauphin, vice president of business development for Computer Sciences Corp.'s civil group. "The source-selection information has helped all of us strengthen our solutions."

CSC ranked second in the mission suitability and past-performance categories with its $12.4 billion price offering, just slightly lower than Boeing's price estimate.

Phil Davis, senior vice president of the aerospace systems group at OAO, noted that non-NASA agencies that order from ODIN may consider the rankings when choosing a vendor. However, he noted, the document will not affect the bidding for the NASA centers themselves.

"It shows we did a good job up front," Davis said. "Now, it's a brand-new ballgame. I hope we can keep up the momentum through the delivery-order process."

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