On July 14th GSA issued an Request for Information (RFI) seeking feedback on a revised list of Leading Edge Technologies (LETS) for the Alliant 2 Unrestricted and Small Business Set-Aside procurements. The RFI indicated that GSA is considering reducing the 17 LETS identified in the original draft Request for Proposal (RFP) to ten. The RFI asked the public for comments, suggestions or questions concerning the definitions of the revised LETS. The due date for responses was July 28th.
The Coalition applauds GSA’s Alliant acquisition team for their proactive engagement with industry on Alliant 2. Throughout the pre-solicitation planning process GSA has been open, transparent and engaging with regard to its acquisition strategy and efforts to seek input from all stakeholders. The LETS RFI is just another positive example.
The RFI also serves a very useful purpose in highlighting the fundamental role LETS appear to be playing in Alliant 2. The change from 17 to ten LETS highlights the difficulty in identifying and defining leading technologies in the commercial marketplace. Moreover, the change in number of LETS and the RFI’s focus on definitions reflect the objective nature of the LETS evaluation. Points are awarded purely on the basis of whether an offeror has an LETS example or not. The quality of the LETS work and importance to the customer agency mission are not considered or scored.
Moreover, given the current evaluation methodology and overall point values for each evaluation category, the weight given to LETS will make them the key discriminator in determining awardees. This raises some key questions that GSA should consider as it moves forward with Alliant 2:
- What role should the quality of LET performance play in the evaluation?
- Is it important to assess the LET’s performance as it relates to the customer agency mission?
- How do the current LETS relate to customer requirements and contract scope under Alliant and what is anticipated under Alliant 2?
- Is the relative importance (12,000 points) of LETS overstated?
- How does the evaluation of LETS further the core mission of Alliant?
The Coalition encourages GSA to continue the dialogue on LETS and the entire Alliant 2 approach through the issuance of a second draft RFP for comment. The use of a second draft RFP would provide both customer agencies and contractors with an opportunity to assess changes and provide feedback in a thoughtful, fulsome exchange. Everyone shares the goal of executing a high value, efficient and effective Alliant 2 that meets customer agency needs! The use of a second draft RFP also will allow further dialogue around LETS. It will provide a Myth-Busters opportunity for collective refinement and continued improvement in the overall RFP to ensure best value solutions across the spectrum of customer information technology needs. A further return on investment (ROI) to GSA in issuing the second draft RFP is a reduction in proposal submission and evaluation times. We are all in this together!