By Jeffrey Shen, President at Red Team Consulting
This week, G2Xchange and FedHealthIT hosted a dynamic webinar on the upcoming NITAAC CIO-SP4 GWAC. With the draft Request for Proposal (RFP) expected out any day and the final RFP scheduled for release during the first quarter of fiscal year 2021, now is the time to get prepared to respond. Couldn’t make the webinar? Fear not! Here are Jeff Shen’s key takeaways on what to expect from CIO-SP4 and how to prepare.
RFP Evaluation Criteria
It’s important to understand that NITAAC has indicated that CIO-SP4 will use a self-scoring approach to their evaluation. This will likely mimic some of the larger self-scoring contracts we’ve seen over the last 4-6 years, including GSA OASIS, and ALLIANT 2. When anticipating the RFP evaluation criteria, it’s important to keep this in mind. We expect much of the prior RFP evaluation criteria from CIO-SP3 to resurface as point scoring criteria for CIO-SP4. While this is speculative on our part, there are enough similarities between CIO-SP3 evaluation criteria and OASIS and Alliant 2 scorecards to make that presumption.
Technical Task Areas
NITAAC has kept to 10 Task Areas over the last two competitions and we anticipate them sticking with 10 again. What we expect is for NITAAC to update some of the Task Areas to reflect the current geopolitical, health, and technology trends. For example, we might see changes to the Outsourcing and Imaging Task Areas and for some of the other Task Areas to be further clarified to account for technology trends such as Cloud, Cyber, AI, and Data Analytics.
Scoring Criteria: Technical and Management Factors
In looking at the prior CIO-SP3 contract, combined with the most recent iterations of GSA Alliant 2 and OASIS, we can expect to see some of the potential scoring criteria from NITAAC. Companies may need to provide past performance that meet the below criteria to receive points.
- Health-Related Experience
- Top Secret/Secret Work
- Managing Multiple Subcontractors
- OCONUS Experience
- Managing Multiple Multi-Award IDIQs and Task Orders
- Cost Reimbursement Projects
- Past Performance with Minimum CPARS Ratings
We may likely see other scorecard criteria that involves the sample data points (below) required in the prior CIO-SP3 RFP, as well as similar System, Certification, and Clearance scoring criteria as we have seen from GSA OASIS and Alliant 2.
- Size of Organization
- Length of Organization’s Existence
- Dedicated Medical Research and/or Health Related Services Organization
- Multiple Federal Customers with an Emphasis on NIH and HHS OPDIVS
Teaming & Contract Team Agreements (CTAS)
When looking to team, there are several considerations you should look out for whether you are priming or subbing. Based on historical CIO-SP3 teaming information, we’ve outlined the primary areas you should consider if you plan to team on this effort.
What You’ll Most Likely See:
- Teaming was only allowed for FAR 9.601(1) CTA
- Two or more companies form a partnership or joint venture to act as a potential prime contractor
- FAR 9.601(2) was permitted but NITAAC stated that only the prime will be considered in the evaluation for award (hence Subcontractors were not permitted to be evaluated for this approach).
- For the Small Business Track, all members of the CTA must be considered small businesses under the NAICS code
- For Socio-Economic CTAs, you must show that 51% of the work will be performed by the socio-economic set-aside
- There were no previous restrictions on contractors serving in more than one CTA/JV arrangement
CIO-SP4 Winners by the Numbers
The original CIO-SP3 was awarded to over 50 Unrestricted companies and over 70 Small Businesses. If you now include the recent Ramp On that occurred, there are nearly 300 Small Businesses on the contract. In speculating what the award profile looks like, I would assume 75-100+ companies in the Unrestricted track and over 250 in the Small Business track.
3 Steps to Prepare for CIO-SP4
It’s not too early to prepare! I would suggest the below strategies to make sure you are well prepared for when the Draft RFP is released.
- Document your experience across the existing 10 Task Areas to identify potential gaps that might exist. As I mentioned earlier, increase this list of 10 Task Areas to include newer IT trends that we have seen over the last few years including Cybersecurity, AI/ML, Cloud, and Data Analytics.
- Start your teaming research! You will need to decide if you plan to pursue all 10 Task Areas or simply focus on meeting those within your core competencies. Either way, start documenting potential CTA teaming partners, JV partners, or even creating a Mentor-Protégé relationship to increase your chances of getting more points or covering more Task Areas. This is especially important for “smaller” Small Businesses or mid-tier companies that have traditionally had more challenges in maximizing their point totals for scorecard RFPs.
- With this intended to be a healthcare IT services contract, take an honest inventory of your health-related projects and whether you feel confident you could meet or exceed any health IT or mandatory health requirements that are part of CIO-SP4. If you are not confident in your healthcare experience or feel like it could be bolstered, find and team with those companies that fill that gap. Be creative – if there is an opportunity to add a Small Business CTA member that is a qualified, non-traditional health services company, then by all means start those conversations.
- Once the Draft RFP is released, revisit numbers 1-3 to update your Task Areas, potential teaming partners, and your healthcare experience. Also, one of the most important first steps is to conduct your self-scoring analysis to see how well you fare against the scorecard criteria.
This post is also available on Red Team’s website here.
ABOUT JEFFREY SHEN
Jeffrey Shen is President at Red Team Consulting, bringing more than 20 years of proven leadership and expertise in Federal contracting, corporate strategy, and business development. He has consulted to the U.S. Federal Government and Fortune 500 companies worldwide.Red Team Consulting, LLC (Red Team) is one of the premier providers of proposal development consulting, capture management, pricing strategy, and training services in support of Government contractors. Red Team’s mission is simple – help our clients grow their business. Visit Red Team on the web at www.redteamconsulting.com.