Procurement

Is OASIS too complex?

oasis

Although the requests for proposal for the General Services Administration's new OASIS contract were developed in close consultation with stakeholders, some say the results could be daunting for the uninitiated - or even a few of the initiated.

GSA released the RFPs for the next-generation One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contract on July 31. The contract was designed to be a one-stop management and consulting, professional engineering, logistics, and finance services contracting vehicle that would provide more uniformity and less redundancy.

GSA said it worked closely with industry to draft the RFPs. As it released the documents, it noted that earlier this year its OASIS team had been invited to provide feedback on a variety of important issues by submitting white papers. It also said it met with more than 110 contractor responders in one-on-one sessions to get comprehensive contracting options.

But, in doing all that spade work, some industry stakeholders said the GSA produced RFPs that are innovative but possibly a little too complex.

"GSA had a very transparent and interactive process, to its credit," Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said in an interview with FCW. But he cited a vendor-scoring table as an example of needless complexity. While providing detailed criteria that could be useful, its 15 categories of evaluation that use 40 specific questions to award points for favorability might be too much information for some to digest.

On the other hand, said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and general counsel at the Professional Services Council, the table provides a "self-test, or open book test for companies" that want to bid on the contract. "It will eliminate some of the mystery around their actual capabilities. It's innovative."

Chvotkin praised the program for offering unprecedented flexibility for services contracts, but cautioned it could take some getting used to.

For instance, he said, the RFPs under OASIS will use North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code to pool vendors from which federal users will choose for contracts under OASIS. With various pools of potential providers, the selection and contracting process isn't as straightforward as ordering off of a schedule, Chvotkin said. "Ordering agencies will have to do some work" in drawing up contracts under OASIS. "There are some advantages over ordering off a schedule, but this is not the easiest multiple award vehicle to work with."

He also warned that the short response time for the two RFPs -- one is unrestricted, while the other is dedicated to small business --, will require light-footed and sharp-witted action by vendors. They are due Sept. 17.

"It's commendable that GSA got the RFP out on time," said Larry Allen, president of Allen Federal Business Partners.

Allen predicted the detailed responses would serve a useful purpose: they'll  "make it obvious to companies whether they should bid or go no-bid," and potentially decrease the likelihood of  protests over the RFPs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

  • What's next for agency cyber efforts?

    Ninety days after the Trump administration's executive order, FCW sat down with agency cyber leaders to discuss what’s changing.

Reader comments

Tue, Aug 13, 2013

What ever happened to the "good ole days" when all you had to do was to submit a proposal? Now, all of a sudden, we have to "prequalify"?

Fri, Aug 2, 2013

OASIS will and has created a lot of jobs for GSA Federal Employees. The RFP, Source Selection, Contract Administration will be so complicated and bureaucratic it will require a legion of GSA personnel. The added workload for any agency to use OASIS will drive them away and back to other vehicles like NETCENTS et al.

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

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group