Alliant protests won't slow GSA, officials say

Companies filed five new bid protests Aug. 31 on the General Services Administration’s major information technology contract Alliant, bringing the total number of protests to eight.

But GSA officials said today they expected protests on the $50 billion governmentwide acquisition contract.

Those protests won’t have a deep impact on GSA because of other GWACs that are still in place, however. Those contracts, such as Millennia, offer agencies an avenue to buy what they need in the meantime, said John Johnson, GSA’s assistant commissioner for integrated technology services in the Federal Acquisition Service.

GSA officials added that although the Government Accountability Office decision could come as late as mid-December, they aren’t sitting around and waiting. At a conference today, GSA said it plans to move ahead as much as possible. It wants to tell agencies about Alliant and educate its own staff on details of the contract.

GSA's goal is that “we can hit the ground running,” said Jim Ghiloni, Alliant’s program manager and director of GWAC programs at GSA.

GSA may have a lot of training to do, though. “Many customers don’t know what a GWAC is,” Ghiloni said. At times, customers don’t even understand the differences between buying off a GSA schedule and a GWAC.
Nonetheless, Alliant will draw in those customers, as IT acquisition becomes more complex and weighed down with more requirements, he said. “I don’t think you have to sell Alliant; you just have to make them aware of it. It sells itself."

Agencies can use Alliant to buy IT applications, infrastructure and end-to-end services.

Ghiloni also said GSA plans to track customer spending so agencies can check where their money goes.

“Customers have a hunger for data,” he said. Ghiloni added that customers are asking GSA about their money, especially since budgets are getting tighter with the war in Iraq.

But tracking the information will also give GSA a glimpse into how the market is changing and how it can adapt to it, he said.

As for the protestors, STG filed its second protest Aug. 31, along with Client Network Services, Nortel Government Solutions, Advanced Technology Systems and Artel, according to GAO. Stanley Associates and the Centech Group filed protests Aug. 27.

About the Author

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

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