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GSA looks to ramp up contracting transformation with Alliant and Alliant II

GSA looks to speed contracting conversion

Jun. 23, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Tangherlini, Shorter, Bartley, Raush, GSA
As GSA plans the Alliant contract sequel, the agency is considering how it can include emerging technologies and IT services. (Rob Curtis/Staff)

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As the General Services Administration works to transform government contracting and consolidate agency spending under its roof, it is also working on a sequel to its highly successful IT services Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract.

The Alliant contract for complex and innovative IT services has served as a purchasing option for 54 agencies that have spent more than $16.5 billion.

GSA recently extended the option on the contract through to April 2019. To prepare for the sequel, GSA is also asking industry for input on possible emerging IT technologies and services on its social media site, Interact.

Casey Kelley, the director of GSA’s Governmentwide Acquisition Contract Center and the Alliant program manager, said the sequel to Alliant will offer agencies a flexible contract that can adapt to new IT technologies and services as they emerge.

He sat down with the Federal Times to talk about how the agency was hard at work crafting a contract vehicle with industry support and agency input. Following are edited excerpts.

What is the timeline are looking at right now to craft
a replacement for Alliant — what does that timeline look like?

We are still in the research phase and then the requirements phase. We are leveraging Interact just as [the One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services GWAC] did. We’re seeing and getting input and feedback from the public from a customer perspective as well as industry, which follows that successful template model that OASIS did. Our plan is to have a formal [request for proposals] on the street second quarter 2015.

Is the plan to have the Alliant II contract up and running by the end of the Alliant extension or a bit before that?

The plan here is to have Alliant II awarded before the expiration of Alliant and Alliant Small Business, which expire in 2019, and to provide our customers a nice transition so that there is no interrupted service for the types of emerging technology and complex IT requirements our customers come to GSA for.

So how did Alliant meet your expectations for spending and what is the prediction for future spending through Alliant?

I think we can confidently say on behalf of all GSA that both contracts — Alliant and Alliant Small Business — to date have exceeded expectations in terms of total dollars awarded on the two respective contract vehicles through approximately five years. Alliant is today at $17.5 billion in total sales.

Alliant Small Business through five years is about $4.5 billion in sales.

So combined between the two contract vehicles, $21 billion through five years, that is very successful. When I say sales, that means the sum of all orders made on Alliant contract vehicles, including the option periods which they have to exercise.

Do you see spending increasing with the Alliant option and then the Alliant II contract?

We are confident specifically these next two years that these contract vehicles are in their prime. We anticipate over the next couple of years sales on both vehicles, Alliant and Alliant Small Business, to continue to be very strong. Historically, as is the case for all GWACs and all contract vehicles, as they approach and are near the end of their performance period, sales seem to trend downward.

That is a big reason why we are planning for transition purposes to have Alliant II in place as an alternative option as Alliant and Alliant Small Business expire. We expect Alliant II to be as successful — if not more so — than Alliant and Alliant Small Business.

GSA has been putting out calls for industry input on future IT trends. How are you going to incorporate that feedback into an Alliant II contract?

All the feedback we are getting is great, and our method of incorporating that is to look and see where there is consensus and where there is information perhaps that we have not been seeing through our own internal market research efforts.

In terms of IT trends themselves ... the beauty of the Alliant and Alliant Small Business contracts and program is how they were originally designed by being aligned with federal enterprise architecture, which has allowed for emerging technologies to be performed under these vehicles as new innovations are developed.

Perfect case in point is when Alliant and Alliant Small Business began, there was no cloud computing. It existed, but it was not near as prevalent as it is today. Because Alliant and Alliant Small Business began and cloud computing has become so prominent in the federal acquisition workplace and because they were aligned with federal enterprise architecture, cloud computing was within scope.

These vehicles could be and had been used to great extent to support cloud computing requirements for our customers. That is the model of Alliant design: to allow for innovative technologies. That is the same model we are going to retain for Alliant II.

We want to continue to see what is out there emerging — to anticipate so that we can position for and determine how to provide value and the support for these types of technologies under the broad scope of Alliant II.

What is your advice to industry groups or contractors looking to offer input on the Alliant II contract?

I would encourage them to go to the Interact website that we have set up. That is the forum right now that we encourage anyone and everybody to come give input and feedback — and not just to the questions that we initiate, but also comments and concerns.

We want to make this as transparent as possible to make the best contract vehicle possible.■

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