GSA lets 29 firms in on massive tech services contract
The General Services Administration on Tuesday announced the 29 firms it has selected to compete for orders under Alliant, a $50 billion governmentwide information technology services contract.

The multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract has a five-year base with one five-year option, and is designed to provide agencies with a central source for acquiring IT solutions.

Sixty-six firms made offers for the contract; GSA had originally said it would select as many as 30 winners.

"We went out to the world in a full and open environment and have conducted the competition, and these are the selections we've made for award," said Jim Ghiloni, program manager for Alliant.

The winners will be available to provide services to agencies across government; awardees will have to further compete for specific IT projects at agencies' request.

Ghiloni said agencies choosing to use the Alliant contract will release task order requests and must comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation for the second level of competition. Agencies must allow for open competition among the 29 Alliant awardees unless there is justification for a sole-source contract.

Ray Bjorklund, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at the McLean, Va.-based market research firm Federal Sources, said the contract should provide decent competition, saving agencies and taxpayers money. It will also give agencies a "one-stop shop" for IT needs.

"It is an opportunity for government costumers to have a wider range of contractors and technologies and services easily available to them," Bjorklund said.

While being selected under the contract gives companies access to competition for IT acquisitions, it does not guarantee selection.

"The ceiling is $50 billion over the 10-year life cycle assuming the option is exercised, and companies essentially will compete for their share of that amount," Ghiloni said. "There are no predetermined notions; there is a very minimal minimum guarantee that each company gets but I believe it's in the order of a couple thousand dollars."

Of the 29 firms selected for award, 20 are either on Government Executive's list of the top 200 federal contractors for fiscal 2005 -- released last year -- or are divisions of companies in the top 200. Six awardees are in the top 10.

"When you have a chance to look at the list, I think you'll see that in addition to those I think you referred to as 'the usual suspects,' there are companies that are new to the GSA [governmentwide acquisition contract] environment -- companies that aren't the very largest . . ." Ghiloni said. "We've got the proven industry partners that we've done business with in the past as well as some new partners and some up-and-coming companies we're very excited to do business with."

He said GSA must allow a period of time for losing firms to request debriefings and file protests, but that it hopes to begin using the vehicle as soon as possible.

"Our goal is to start using it right away," he said. "I know there are customers that have requirements that are already looking at Alliant to meet those requirements, and we certainly want to make sure it is available to them as soon as possible."

Alliant is a successor to the existing ANSWER and Millenia contracts, which will continue until their expiration dates within the next 12 to 16 months, Ghiloni said.

Bjorklund said the ANSWER and Millenia contracts were extremely popular with agencies, making winning an Alliant award crucial.

"The Alliant program was a must-win for many of these players," Bjorklund said. "In the end, it will be one fewer contract, and that is cheaper because you don't have to sell using multiple vehicles."

The final phase of the contract will begin in December when firms are selected for award under the Alliant Small Business contract.

GSA Deputy Administrator David Bibb said Alliant promotes small business through subcontracting requirements as well. The agreement requires that 50 percent of subcontracting dollars be awarded to small business, with further requirements delineating the amount to go to certain types of businesses such as women-owned, veteran-owned, and urban and rural companies.

Click here for a list of the 29 Alliant winners.

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