Trends on GSA’s Alliant that make you go, hmmm

The Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract for IT services widely has been considered one of the most successful multiple award contracts over the last decade. Two recent blogs highlight some interesting trends.

Mary Davie, the General Services Administration’s assistant commissioner of the Office of Integrated Technology Services at the Federal Acquisition Service, wrote in a recent blog post that Alliant saw agencies obligate more than $2.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2014, bringing its total to $18.7 billion since March 2009.

Davie has been releasing a series of interesting acquisition related blog posts over the last month or so highlighting the success of her portfolio. They are well worth checking out, especially the small business GWAC and Schedule 70 state and local growth posts.

But while Davie hit the good news around Alliant, another blog post found some real limitations of the GWAC, and more broadly, the problem with the proliferation of multiple award contracts.

Marc Vogtman, the CFO of GovTribe, a startup in the government market intelligence field, crunched the numbers in a fascinating blog post on Alliant.

Vogtman wrote that while the use of Alliant is back on the upward swing after a huge drop between 2011 and 2012, a few agencies — State and the Homeland Security Department, to name two — are spending a huge amount of money on internal IT services contracts. Vogtman will be writing two more blogs highlighting Alliant trends in the coming weeks so be on the lookout for those.

GovTribe found since State, for example, awarded SAIC a $2.5 billion contract under the Vanguard IT modernization program in December 2010, the company has earned about $800 million in revenue in four years.

SAIC also has done quite well under Alliant. Davie wrote SAIC is the dominating contractor under Alliant in 2014 with more than $1.6 billion in obligations across 42 task orders. The next closes competitor is Booz Allen Hamilton with $720 million.

Do you see the trend here? If you are a company wanting some subcontract work, you better get on SAIC’s good side.

Vogtman wrote that SAIC has awarded its 61 subcontractors about 38 percent of the $800 million obligated so far under Vanguard.

Then again, if you looking to get on SAIC’s team for either contract and want to see where you fit in, good luck trying to access the task orders under the multiple award contracts.

Despite the continued assurance from Davie and many others at GSA that they agree that task orders should be publicly viewed by anyone, contracting officers continue to hide them behind the iron curtain.

The other question that continues to come up is why are State, DHS and others continuing to run their own MACs? Alliant was supposed to be the be-all, end-all for IT services. It is supposed to have the flexibility and agility everyone wants in a contract. Its fees are capped, yet the proliferation of large multiple award contracts continue — DISA announced that the draft RFP for its ENCORE 3 contract is coming in March and a final solicitation in June time frame.

It’s clear that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s requirement for business cases isn’t working, and needs to be reviewed, even by Congress.

In the meantime, GSA has extended Alliant to April 30, 2019 with an option for another five years after that while it develops the Alliant 2 program. As of December, GSA expects to issue a draft request for proposals for Alliant 2 in March, a second draft sometime between May and August after incorporating industry feedback and a final RFP in the October/November timeframe.

This post is part of Jason Miller’s Inside the Reporter’s Notebook feature. Read more from this edition of Jason’s Notebook.