GovWin
April Line-Up: What's New This Month - Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015

While there were no solicitations released from Deltek's list of annual top federal opportunities for FY 2015 this month, there were two opportunities that had significant announcements published:

· The contracting office for the State Department's WPS-2 issued a pre-solicitation notice on April 17; the pre-solicitation conference is scheduled for May 22.

· The Army announced in the Tactical Network Industry Forum Slides that the CHS-5 draft RFP is expected to be released in December 2015.

Also worth noting is that solicitation release dates were delayed for four opportunities. Details are provided below, with each opportunity's original rank in the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 report and a link to additional details available in GovWin IQ.

Solicitations Released to Date: Nine

#12 GNS: RFP released on April 1, proposals due June 1, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118117

#2 RS3: The solicitation for the $37.4B procurement was released on March 25, with proposals due May 6. Up to 50 awards are expected in July. –GovWin IQ# 54023

#9 ESPC: The solicitation was released on March 23, with proposals due May 13, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 109872

#20 ICP Core: The solicitation was released March 13; proposals are due May 12, 2015. The government anticipates an award in October 2015. –GovWin IQ# 44732

#16 M&O of the National Security Campus Formerly Known as the Kansas City Plant: Solicitation released December 12; proposals due February 10, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 45419

#7 CFT: Solicitation released on December 2; proposals due February 3, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 66838

#3 T4NG: Solicitation released on November 19; proposals due December 19, 2014. – GovWin IQ# 104683

#11 KC10 CLS Engine Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 88677

#19 KC10 CLS Airframe Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 65969

Solicitations Pushed to Later Date:

#10 HCaTS: On May 4, the contracting office stated that the final solicitations are now anticipated to be released by the end of June 2015. Previously, the solicitations had been anticipated to be released on May 19. Deltek has updated the opportunity report milestones accordingly. For more information on the HCaTS unrestricted vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121350. For more information on the HCaTS SB vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121353. –GovWin IQ# 113795

#17 ProTech: The contracting office stated that the draft RFP is slated to be issued in Summer 2015 with the final RFP being released in late 2015. As a result, Deltek changed its anticipated solicitation release date from May 2015 to November 2015. –GovWin IQ# 78803

#18 IRES: The contracting office announced new dates for the IRES acquisition. A draft RFP is anticipated to be issued in August 2015. Industry Day #2, the Site Visit, and one-on-one meetings are anticipated to be held in August. The pre-proposal conference is scheduled to be held and the final RFP is anticipated to be released in January 2016. Deltek has updated the opportunity report milestones accordingly.–GovWin IQ# 42435

#14 ESD II: According to information provided by the CMS OSDBU, a draft RFP may be posted in early May 2015 for industry review and feedback. An Industry Day may take place in early June 2015 and the final RFP may be released in mid June 2015. All of these dates are subject to change. Deltek is confirming the dates with the contracting office and has changed the estimated solicitation date from May 2015 to June 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118153

Updated Quick View of Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 *Government Estimate

RANK

AGENCY

PROGRAM NAME

DELTEK EST. RFP DATE

DELTEK EST. AWD DATE

DELTEK EST. VALUE

GovWin IQ ID

1

GSA

ALLIANT II UNRESTRICTED

Nov-15

Jul-17

$50 Billion

106639

2

Army

RESPONSIVE STRATEGIC SOURCING FOR SERVICES (RS3)

Mar 25, 2015 Released

Jul-15*

$37 Billion

54023

3

VA

TRANSFORMATION TWENTY ONE TOTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM NEXT GENERATION (T4NG)

Nov 19, 2014 Released

Dec-15*

$22.3 Billion*

104683

4

DOD

DEFENSE HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES GENERATION I IDIQ (DHITS GEN I)

Oct-15

Jun-16

$10 Billion*

53177

5

Army

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS 3 SERVICES (ITES-3S CHESS)

Sep-15

Dec-16

$12 Billion*

64990

6

DOD

ENCORE III

Sep-15

May-16

$12.2 Billion

110485

7

USAF

CONTRACT FIELD TEAM MAINTENANCE (CFT)

Dec 2, 2014 Released

Jan-16*

$11.4 Billion*

66838

8

State

WORLDWIDE PERSONAL PROTECTION SERVICES 2 (WPS2)

May-15

Sep-15

$10 Billion

93195

9

DOE

ENERGY SAVINGS PERFORMANCE CONTRACT (ESPC)

Mar 23, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$1.0 Billion

109872

10

GSA

HUMAN CAPITAL AND TRAINING SOLUTIONS (HCaTS)

June-15*

Dec-15*

$5 Billion

113795

11

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT ENGINE SUPPORT CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$4.4 Billion*

88677

12

DOD

GLOBAL NETWORK SERVICES (GNS)

April 1, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$4.0 Billion*

118117

13

GSA

NORTHEAST INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS (NIS)(NS2020)

Jul-15

Mar-16

$4.0 Billion*

105781

14

HHS

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT UMBRELLA (ESD-II)

Jun-15

Sep-15

$4.0 Billion

118153

15

Army

COMMON HARDWARE SYSTEMS 5 (CHS-5)

Feb-16

Aug-16

$2.5 Billion

96504

16

DOE

MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY CAMPUS FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE KANSAS CITY PLANT

Dec 12, 2014 Released

Jun-16

$9.0 Billion

45419

17

Commerce

PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICES CONTRACT VEHICLE (PRO-TECH)

Nov-15

Apr-16

$3.0 Billion*

78803

18

DOD

INTEGRATED RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT FOR ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS (IRES)

Jan-16*

Aug-16*

$5.8 Billion*

42435

19

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT DEPOT MAINTENANCE AIRFRAME CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$2.3 Billion*

65969

20

DOE

AEC IDAHO CLEAN CONTRACT CORE PROJECT (ICP CORE)

Mar 13, 2015 Released

Jan-16

$1.58 Billion*

44732

90/10 funding made permanent: CMS updating Medicaid procurement standards

In October 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that 90/10 enhanced federal funding would be permanently available for states making upgrades to their Medicaid eligibility and enrollment systems. This funding encourages states to retire defunct Medicaid systems, modify existing eligibility and enrollment (E&E) systems, and integrate Medicaid systems with other human services systems.

On April 14, 2015, CMS issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to codify the 90/10 permanent extension and proposed changes to the Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS) standards and conditions, including a new modular certification process for MMIS. The agency is also soliciting feedback on how to encourage the sharing of Medicaid software and reduce duplicative costs. Public comments are due June 15, 2015.

Key takeaways

1) CMS getting more involved in Medicaid procurement process - CMS is proposing a new contract review process and will help states develop acquisition roadmaps for future procurement. States will look for solutions that already comply with the Seven Standards and Conditions issued by CMS.

2) CMS proposing modular approach to certification - CMS recognizes that most monolithic contracts go over budget and over schedule when states get locked into one vendor, such as those in Maryland, Montana, Nebraska and North Carolina. The agency is offering to certify MMIS systems on a modular basis. We can see many states are already following this approach, such as Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina.

3) Preference for shared software and COTS solutions - CMS is trying to encourage states to adopt commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solutions to save money and reduce duplicative implementation efforts. The NPRM proposes a 90 percent matching rate for COTS software, and vendors including HP, Molina, EngagePoint and Accenture are increasingly offering COTS solutions that are flexible and adaptable for states. 

Analyst’s Take

While making 90/10 funding permanent, CMS is also using this opportunity to update certification procedures to keep pace with the MMIS modular procurement strategy most states are adopting. In 2015, Deltek is expecting MMIS rebids in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Vendors will have a leg up on the competition if their solutions are in line with CMS standards for COTS products and align with the desire to use modular components and incremental delivery strategies. The benefits are greater with these approaches by reducing risks and lowering costs of complete replacements. Still, as strategy moves away from single fiscal agent contracts and big-bang implementations, states have challenges managing multi-procurements and relationships with several vendors. For more information on Medicaid procurements across the country, please see the GovWin MMIS Vertical Page.

 

Deltek Pulse: General government services month in review, April 2015

The second quarter of 2015 started off with a bang, as April saw a 6 percent increase in solicitations released from March. The education vertical had the most solicitations by leaps and bounds, while professional services and information technology requirements were also in high demand.

Q2 is always extremely active in the procurement world, and vendors should keep a close eye on projects they are interested in and be prepared to bid. The trend of releasing more solicitations each month is not expected to taper off any time soon.

Notable RFP releases

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

Capital improvement plans 101 and the benefits of GovWin IQ Lead Alerts

A capital improvement plan (CIP) is a useful document that state, local and federal governments use to organize and prioritize projects. CIPs tend to forecast one, five, 10, or even 20 years in the future, and are a vital organizational step in the procurement process. They allow an entity to set department-specific goals, rank projects by priority, allocate funds, and organize business plans.

On the procurement side, capital improvement plans allow vendors to track a project through its life cycle and get a better sense of when to expect a solicitation. Due to the nature of CIPs, the procurement forecast provides ample time for vendors to prepare for an upcoming bid, and sales reps to build a strong business pipeline. 

How does a capital improvement plan come to fruition?  

 

1. Requirements are determined - An entity identifies a need and determines requirements for a project. Once a plausible plan is outlined to fulfill that need, the project is submitted for review and approval.

2. Projects are approved - Higher authorities (city council, a mayor, a governor, etc.) will review projects submitted for CIP consideration and deny or approve items based on importance and available resources. This step often correlates with creating a budget.

3. Funding streams are identified – Once a project is approved, funding streams are identified. Budgets allocated to CIP projects can stem from multiple streams including general funds, special funds, bonds, etc. Funding sources often depend on the type and size of a project. It’s also important to note that, once funding has been secured, a project timeline may not mimic the funding timeline. Depending on what is being purchased, a payment plan may need to be outlined and adjusted. Some projects will start with a bulk payment, whereas others will rely on annual payments.

4. Timelines are established – Once funding is identified, timelines are established for project execution. This provides the entity and vendors with an estimated guide for when each step of the project should occur.

5. Projects are published in a CIP - At this point, projects have been approved and funding has been secured (or in the process of being secured, depending on the legislative season). Now, projects are formally published in a capital improvement plan and set in motion. Vendors can track a project’s progress as the CIP is updated (often annually). 

What happened to my project?

Sometimes a project can be forecasted far in advance, but is never executed. This happens when higher-priority or unexpected projects arise and take precedence on timelines and funding. When this occurs, less urgent projects are often pushed back a year or two. If a project is put on the back burner, entities will sometimes try and fulfill the need in another manner, such as combining it with another project or eliminating a formal procurement process. This is why it is important to keep an eye on CIPs and compare projects year to year. As an entity grows and changes, so does its needs, and a CIP will reflect that.

What other information can I get from a CIP?

Capital improvement plans offer much more than a list of projects an entity is interested in pursuing. Budget details and dollar amounts for specific projects are typically outlined in a CIP, and organizational charts, department heads, and contact details can also be included with each project. Some CIPs even include funding sources per project. In these cases, various contributors to capital funding (i.e. taxes, revenues, grants, etc.) will be listed. Further, capital improvement plans can also include historical data of expenditures and how entities typically allocate their budget.

Where can I find a CIP?

Capital improvement plans are mostly found on government entity websites, usually under finance, budget, public works, or planning department sections. It’s important to note that CIPs are often part of an annual budget document and not clearly posted as a separate document; therefore, it’s worth reviewing budget files to see whether a capital improvement list is included. Also, if an entity does not post CIP or budget documents online, it never hurts to reach out to someone in the finance department to see if one can be sent directly.

Isn’t there an easier way to locate these documents? (Yes! GovWin IQ Lead Alerts)

Think of GovWin IQ Lead Alerts as the first hint of a project – that initial heads up from a CIP that lets vendors know what an agency’s needs are how their products or services might align with those needs. Now, reading through a CIP or budget document is no easy task; they are often in excess of a hundred pages and quite time consuming to digest. Naturally, contractors aren’t able to devote hours a day to researching and reading through these forms; they are focused on winning business and face-to-face interaction with potential clients. Again, this is where GovWin IQ has you covered.

Our analysts are scouring government websites and reviewing state and local capital improvement plans on a daily basis to identify new projects across all vertical market and provide updates on past CIP initiatives.

State and local leads coverage includes:

  • 50 states
  • 366 metropolitan statistical areas (Nearly 3,000 cities and counties)
  • Special districts, public universities, and independent school districts

What projects details are included in a Lead Alert?

  • Project value: Funding identified by government agency
  • Lead year(s): The year or range of years a project is budgeted
  • Associated documents: The source from which the lead was generated (budget, CIP, article, etc.)
  • Key contact(s): Primary and secondary contacts associated with a project
  • Project ID: Government-specified project number or code
  • Related GovWin IQ content: Tracked Opportunities, Bid Notifications and Lead Alerts
  • Primary and secondary offerings
  • Vertical classification

GovWin IQ members can access leads simply by filtering on Lead Alerts when generating opportunity searches. An icon with an L will distinguish leads from tracked opportunities and bid notifications.

It is recommended that you set up a save search to receive new leads daily or weekly. Please see your member advisor if you have any questions or would like assistance in navigating searches. 

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

March Line-Up: What Happened This Month - Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015

A monthly rundown of activity for Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015

Talk about March Madness! Three major solicitations were released in March and one was released on April 1, resulting in a total of nine solicitations featured in Deltek's annual top federal opportunities for FY 2015 being released so far this fiscal year.

Five solicitation released dates were pushed, two of which have reduced ceiling values.

Details of the month's updates to the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 follow, but here's the scorecard for March (as of April 1, 2015):

· Four solicitations released, with a combined ceiling value of $44B

· Solicitation release dates delayed for five opportunities

· Two opportunities' ceiling value reduced

Details are provided below, with each opportunity's original rank in the Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 report and a link to additional details provided by GovWin IQ.

Solicitations Released to Date: Nine

#12 GNS: RFP released on April 1, proposals due May 18, 2015. Deltek estimates awards to be made in December 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118117

#2 RS3: The solicitation for the $37.4B procurement was released on March 25, with proposals due April 24. Up to 50 awards are expected in July. –GovWin IQ# 54023

#9 ESPC: The solicitation was released on March 23, with proposals due April 29, 2015. Deltek estimates awards to be made in January 2016. –GovWin IQ# 109872

#20 ICP Core: The solicitation was released March 13; proposals are due May 12, 2015. The government anticipates an award in October 2015. –GovWin IQ# 44732

#16 M&O of the National Security Campus Formerly Known as the Kansas City Plant: Solicitation released December 12; proposals due February 10, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 45419

#7 CFT: Solicitation released on December 2; proposals due February 3, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 66838

#3 T4NG: Solicitation released on November 19; proposals due December 19, 2014. – GovWin IQ# 104683

#11 KC10 CLS Engine Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 88677

#19 KC10 CLS Airframe Support: Solicitation released on November 7; proposals due January 28, 2015. –GovWin IQ# 65969

Solicitation Dates Pushed to Later Date:

#10 HCaTS: The Draft RFPs were released for HCATS and HCATS SB on March 18, 2015. A Presolicitation Conference is planned for May 14, in Washington D.C. The final solicitations are expected on May 19, 2015. As a result, Deltek dates have been updated accordingly. For more information on the HCaTS unrestricted vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121350. For more information on the HCaTS SB vehicle, please refer to Opportunity Report ID: 121353. –GovWin IQ# 113795

#13 NIS/NS2020: On March 12, the government issued a special notice indicating that the contracting office is currently focusing on the$50B GSA Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions (EIS) acquisition (GovWin IQ # 115836). Currently, no additional information is available regarding the NIS. As a result, Deltek has changed the solicitation date to July 2015. –GovWin IQ# 105781

#14 ESD II: Deltek analysts confirmed that no recent activity has taken place. Because the CO was unable to provide a solicitation timeframe; as such, Deltek changed the estimated solicitation date from April 2015 to May 2015. –GovWin IQ# 118153

Solicitation Dates Pushed to Later Date and Ceiling Values Reduced:

#4 DHITS: Per the industry day slides published in February, the draft RFP is anticipated to be released on or about September 15, 2015. The RFP is anticipated to be released on or about October 14, 2015. Awards are anticipated to be made on or about June 23, 2016. In the industry day slides, the ceiling value was published as $10B, which is a reduction from original estimated value of $20B. Deltek has updated the dates and values accordingly.–GovWin IQ# 53177

#5 ITES-3S: The ceiling value was reduced from $20 billion to $12 billion, per information provided at the AFCEA NOVA Army IT Day held on February 4, 2015. The Draft RFP is currently projected to be issued in Q3FY15. As a result, Deltek changed the estimated RFP release date to September 2015. Additionally, the Government has requested a 36 month extension on the ordering period for ITES-2S. –GovWin IQ# 64990

Updated Quick View of Deltek's Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2015 *Government Estimate

RANK

AGENCY

PROGRAM NAME

DELTEK EST. RFP DATE

DELTEK EST. AWD DATE

DELTEK EST. VALUE

GovWin IQ ID

1

GSA

ALLIANT II UNRESTRICTED

Nov-15

Jul-17

$50 Billion

106639

2

Army

RESPONSIVE STRATEGIC SOURCING FOR SERVICES (RS3)

Mar 25, 2015 Released

Jul-15*

$37 Billion

54023

3

VA

TRANSFORMATION TWENTY ONE TOTAL TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM NEXT GENERATION (T4NG)

Nov 19, 2014 Released

Dec-15*

$22.3 Billion*

104683

4

DOD

DEFENSE HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY SERVICES GENERATION I IDIQ (DHITS GEN I)

Oct-15

Jun-16

$10 Billion*

53177

5

Army

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS 3 SERVICES (ITES-3S CHESS)

Sep-15

Dec-16

$12 Billion*

64990

6

DOD

ENCORE III

Sep-15

May-16

$12.2 Billion

110485

7

USAF

CONTRACT FIELD TEAM MAINTENANCE (CFT)

Dec 2, 2014 Released

Jan-16*

$11.4 Billion*

66838

8

State

WORLDWIDE PERSONAL PROTECTION SERVICES 2 (WPS2)

May-15

Sep-15

$10 Billion

93195

9

DOE

ENERGY SAVINGS PERFORMANCE CONTRACT (ESPC)

Mar 23, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$1.0 Billion

109872

10

GSA

HUMAN CAPITAL AND TRAINING SOLUTIONS (HCaTS)

May-15*

Aug-15*

$5 Billion

113795

11

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT ENGINE SUPPORT CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$4.4 Billion*

88677

12

DOD

GLOBAL NETWORK SERVICES (GNS)

April 1, 2015 Released

Dec-15

$4.0 Billion*

118117

13

GSA

NORTHEAST INFRASTRUCTURE SOLUTIONS (NIS)(NS2020)

Jul-15

Mar-16

$4.0 Billion*

105781

14

HHS

ENTERPRISE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT UMBRELLA (ESD-II)

May-15

Sep-15

$4.0 Billion

118153

15

Army

COMMON HARDWARE SYSTEMS 5 (CHS-5)

Feb-15

Jul-16

$2.5 Billion

96504

16

DOE

MANAGEMENT AND OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL SECURITY CAMPUS FORMERLY KNOWN AS THE KANSAS CITY PLANT

Dec 12, 2014 Released

Jun-16

$9.0 Billion

45419

17

Commerce

PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL SUPPORT SERVICES CONTRACT VEHICLE (PRO-TECH)

Aug-15

Apr-16

$3.0 Billion*

78803

18

DOD

INTEGRATED RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT FOR ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS (IRES)

Oct-15*

Aug-16*

$5.8 Billion*

42435

19

USAF

KC10A CONTRACTOR LOGISTICS SUPPORT DEPOT MAINTENANCE AIRFRAME CONTRACT

Nov 7, 2014 Released

Apr-16

$2.3 Billion*

65969

20

DOE

AEC IDAHO CLEAN CONTRACT CORE PROJECT (ICP CORE)

Mar 13, 2015 Released

Oct-15*

$1.58 Billion*

44732

Obama’s proposed budget will benefit high-dollar transit projects

President Obama recently released his proposed budget for transportation infrastructure upgrades. The six-year, $478 billion infrastructure plan would provide funding for public works projects across the country. If the budget passes, it will increase funding for transit by 75 percent as well as create numerous construction jobs.
 
About half of the proposed budget will be funded by a new one-time tax imposed on American companies that have earnings overseas. The government estimates $238 billion would be raised from this tax – about half the proposed budget. The rest of the budget would be funded by federal tax on gasoline and other revenue sources. While there is bi-partisan agreement for transportation upgrades across the country, the proposed tax may face opposition in the Republican-led Congress.
 
Architecture, engineering, and construction companies would greatly benefit from the increase in projects should this tax go through, as $5 billion per year is set aside for fixing aging bridges and roads. The biggest boost in funding was seen in transit, with $123 billion over six years. This funding will benefit state and local entities looking to update rail, subway, and other transit elements.
 
For example, the state of California was allocated $1 billion in the proposed budget for transportation and construction projects; $800 million will be set aside for transit projects. This will greatly benefit transit projects in progress throughout the state, including Los Angeles’ Purple Line, expanding the Bay Area Rapid Transit system, and San Diego’s light rail project.
 
The boost in funding for transportation and construction will provide ample opportunities for companies to bid on high-dollar projects. Once entities are granted federal funding, vendors should keep an eye on these projects that will likely result in multi-year contracts. Also, most of these projects have multiple components and agencies may release solicitations in phases, resulting in more opportunities to bid and win contracts.
 
You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

The pains of prolonged procurements

Every state and local government agency is distinct, with its own rules related to procurement. Some have strict guidelines for vendors submitting a proposal, while others require state registration prior to even bidding. Regardless of the rules, one commonality routinely causes problems: drawn out procurement processes.

What constitutes a long procurement process? It depends on who you ask and also the technology being purchased. A simple request for quotes (RFQ) for 100 radios likely constitutes a straightforward procurement, while a customized jail management system for a statewide agency is more complex. For example, Connecticut issued a request for proposals (RFP) in September 2009 for an offender management system that still hasn’t been awarded. Details on the contract delay are sparse.

While the Connecticut procurement may be an outlier, it is not uncommon for bidding processes to take several months for multimillion dollar projects, which then lead to even longer timelines to award and negotiate a contract. Understandably, agencies want to ensure they select the best possible product for the best possible price, but at some point, this can be a detriment to both the vendor and the agency.

How the vendor loses

  • Anticipated revenue following a win takes a hit during lengthy contract negotiations
  • Hefty legal costs associated with negotiations
  • Travel and other expenses related to contract meetings

How the agency loses

  • Costly man hours spent reviewing bids and negotiating contract terms
  • Technology advancements made during procurement timelines often result in negotiating a solution that could be antiquated
  • Agency budgets, needs and wants can change drastically over the course of a long procurement

No single solution

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet for long contracting and procurement processes. Agencies must be fully aware of what is required when reviewing a large, complex bid. They must also ensure budgets are secured prior to bidding to avoid dragging out awards due to limited funds. Vendors, on the other hand, must be patient and understand agencies may require more time for costly technology. Well-established timelines, budgets and game plans on both parts are required to achieve a swift and seamless procurement. 

 

Solicitation breakdown: Better understanding means better business

Vendors are often confused by the various terms used for solicitations, which isn’t surprising since they often differ per state or locality. However, an important first step in responding to solicitations is to understand the difference between them. Whether a request for proposals (RFP), a request for qualifications (RFQ), an invitation to bid (ITB), or one of the many others, each type of solicitation indicates a different level of engagement by the vendor and expectation by the issuing government. Here’s a rundown of key solicitation types and their subtle differences.

Request for Information

A request for information (RFI) is an inquiry made by a government entity to the vendor community in order to gather information and better understand a product or capability. An RFI is typically released when the government is unsure of which path to pursue and seeks input from vendors about the business environment, best practices, and current solutions. An RFI is often followed by a formal solicitation, but rarely results in a direct contract award.

Request for Expression of Interest

Similar to an RFI, a request for expression of interest (RFEI) is an optional stage that is carried out before a formal solicitation is released. It may be issued in place of an RFI or after an RFI to gauge vendor interest on a potential solicitation. An RFEI can also be used to gather information about a project and possible solutions, similar to an RFI. In some cases, governments may use an RFEI to short-list vendors for a subsequent solicitation. As a result, it is important to clarify with the government what the purpose of the RFEI is to avoid being excluded from participating in the future procurement process.

Request for Proposals

A request for proposals (RFP) typically occurs when a government needs to implement a service or solution, but is unsure of the best way to do so. Through the RFP process, vendors propose their recommended solution and pricing through a detailed proposal. With RFPs, price is not the only consideration for awarding a contract; the government also considers a vendor’s solution, qualifications, previous experience, and any other distinguishing skills. It is important for proposals to be thorough and well defined, as the RFP process allows vendors to set themselves apart from their competition. Negotiations with selected vendors often take place after the proposal deadline, and a contract is ultimately awarded. Governments may also call these types of solicitations requests for offers (RFO) or requests for responses (RFR), but RFPs, RFOs, and RFRs all have the same basic format and are used to meet a business need an entity has.

Invitation to Bid/Invitation for Bid/Request for Bids

Invitations to bid (ITBs), invitations for bids (IFBs), and requests for bids (RFBs) are released when a government entity knows exactly what it wants to procure. This can also be called a request for quotations (RFQ). All of these solicitations include specifications of the government’s desired service or solution – including type and quantity – and an award is typically made based on price. As a result, no discussions or negotiations take place with ITB, IFB, or RFBs; therefore, the procurement cycle from solicitation to contract award is typically much shorter than with RFPs.

Request for Qualifications

Requests for qualifications (RFQ) are often carried out as a pre-qualification process in order to identify qualified vendors for a subsequent solicitation. These pre-qualified vendors are placed on a shortlist that the government then uses for future projects. The government sometimes uses these lists for multiple projects and will reopen the RFQ list to new vendors over a period of several years.

In some cases, governments issue draft versions of solicitations prior to releasing the final solicitation. This is done in order to obtain feedback from the vendor community on requirements, technical components, and scope of the solicitation. It is important for vendors to participate in this stage of the process in order to begin building relationships with the government’s project and the procurement staff, which can be beneficial when the formal solicitation is released and the vendor selection process begins.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

Vendor registration: A key to increasing business

State and local entities, from cities, special districts, to universities, often provide electronic copies of solicitations on the procurement/purchasing section of their website. It’s a best practice for vendors to familiarize themselves with these sites as they contain valuable procurement information such as upcoming contract opportunities, current bids, and awarded contracts.

Vendors can also benefit from these resources by registering with the website to receive emails whenever new solicitations are issued. These notifications offer an efficient way for vendors to stay up to date on projects released versus checking websites on a daily basis or making phone calls to government officials regarding potential bids. Registration is also vital because agencies will often only accept bids from vendors registered to do business with them. 

Most sites follow a similar registration format and require basic vendor information, including: email address, account name, password, name of point of contact, phone number, fax number, and mailing address. Some entities require more specific company details, such as federal tax ID, number of employees, date company was established, description of company, and/or a W-2 form. Upon creating an account, many websites allow you to identify commodity codes that apply to your company so you can receive email alerts regarding related projects. While most five-digit commodity/services codes cover a broad scale of projects, choosing several helps ensure no projects are missed.

Vendors should also keep an eye out for entities that offer prequalified vendors with professional services opportunities at a dollar threshold. Guidelines for prequalification vary per agency, so it is important for vendors to go directly to entity websites for complete details on what forms to submit and further qualification steps. 

Submittal deadlines also differ per agency. While certain entities accept vendors submittals year round, others only a accept vendor forms during a specific period. For example, the state of Washington requires architect-engineer qualifications (Form 330) to be submitted. Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii has an annual invitation to submit beginning March 2015 for statements of qualifications and expressions of interest.

Moreover, entities often have different levels of qualification, such as the state of Florida, which has an unlimited level (vendors can bid on any projects they qualify for), and a minor level (project with fees below $500,000).

Registering for procurement sites allows businesses to save time and properly allocate their resources. Projects that fit your company’s commodity codes can be emailed directly, which allows you to dedicate time to building proposals rather than seeking out projects. Registering also helps architecture, engineering, and construction firms better understand qualification rules for certain entities they are interested in doing business with, and can help them access solicitations not open to the public.

While individual site registration is a vital key to keeping on top of procurement opportunities, utilizing Deltek’s GovWin IQ further maximizes potential business. Deltek also monitors these purchasing sites nationwide, and captures projects in a robust database of bid notifications. This provides a direct, one-stop shop for vendors to view projects they are interested in and retrieve solicitation documents. From here, vendors can proceed to register with respective sites and begin building a relationship one entity at a time.

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

Deltek Pulse: General government month in review, January 2015

Procurement activity in 2015 is off to a strong start as January brought a 22 percent increase in solicitations released – marking the highest monthly number of solicitations in the past calendar year. This shows us that projects put on hold toward the end of 2014 may be picking up steam, and vendors should prepare to see this kind of activity in the coming months.  

The education vertical saw the most solicitation releases by far in January, accounting for more than 50 percent of general government services solicitations. Public finance only saw about 100 solicitations.

Notable RFP releases:

You can learn more about current procurement opportunities in the GovWin IQ State and Local Opportunities database. Not a Deltek subscriber? Click here to learn more about Deltek's GovWin IQ service and gain access to a free trial.

 

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