Federal IT Task Order Vehicle Trends Continue to Shape the Market

Published: August 27, 2014

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The federal IT contracting market continues to become increasingly competitive and one of the signs of this has been the growing use of large task order-based contract vehicles. Whether it be government-wide acquisition contracts (GWAC) or agency-specific indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts, the ability to win a position on these task order contracts can make or break a company’s ability to provide IT solutions to an agency. So the GovWin Federal Industry Analysis team embarked on an analysis of the topic to gain a strategic view of the market forces influencing the use of these acquisition vehicles and their impacts on federal IT procurements.

Much has been said about the growing influence of these vehicles. Comparing annual contract obligation levels for IT task order contract vehicles with total IT obligations over the last several years underscores the growing importance of these vehicles in the federal IT market. Between FY 2010 and FY 2014 (through July) the percentage of reported IT spending that was done on GWACs and agency IDIQs has been trending upward almost uniformly to represent more than half of the reported IT spending. (See chart below.)

In addition to spending patterns, our analysis explored the market and policy trends, drivers and implications of task order vehicles used to procure IT goods and services, including their impacts on contract lifecycles and schedules, their use to achieve improved management and cost savings, and their use to achieve specific objectives like small business utilization.

We found that there are several significant implications of ongoing use of task order vehicles, including:

  • Pre-RFP timelines will continue to lengthen, due to more in-depth requirements development, compliance activities and bid protests.
  • Smart allocation of Bid and Proposal (B&P) dollars at contract and task order level will be continue to be critical.
  • Agencies will look to renegotiate prices during recompetes.
  • Consolidation of IDIQ contracts will continue to simplify administrative burden and cost.
  • Positioning on preferred IDIQs and BPAs will be critical for opportunities in emerging areas (e.g. cyber, health IT, big data, cloud computing, etc.)
  • Although challenging, agencies’ desire for competition translates into more opportunity to unseat incumbents on previously inaccessible work.
  • Agencies’ focus on small businesses offers an opportunity to leverage those relationships even more to help agencies meet utilization requirements.

We anticipate that task order vehicles will continue to play a prominent role in the current IT contracting environment, with implications for longer contract lifecycles and greater use of preferred vehicles to achieve broader policy objectives.

To learn more, check out our full report: Federal Information Technology Task Order Vehicle Trends. (Your GovWin IQ login and password are required to view and download the report.)