Why should you be preparing for GSA Polaris now?
If you are a small business providing Information Technology (IT) solutions and services, GSA’s upcoming Government-wide Acquisition Contract, “Polaris,” is a golden opportunity for you to earn profits, and grow as a business in the federal marketplace. GSA POLARIS is all set to be the new GWAC for procuring customized IT services and IT services-based solutions, including those based on new and emerging technologies.
It is expected that the final RFP will be released later this summer. Are you prepared?
In this post, we describe the steps that you can take to get everything in order and prepare to bid for the Polaris GWAC.
Things You Need to Know Before Bidding for GSA Polaris
As the famous saying goes: “The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.” Statistics show that more writing time leads to higher proposal win rates. Starting your preparation early is a proven way to put more time into writing, resulting in a pay off with superior win rates.
The basic idea behind starting to prepare for Polaris is to improve your chances of maximizing your score. Scoring will depend on the experience, past performances, and type of teaming. For instance, you are likely to score more points for the projects with multiple Federal clients. Similarly, the complexity of the projects will also earn you higher points and if the project experience was within a cost-plus contract instead of fixed-price, more points can be scored. Systems, Certifications, and Clearances related to “Volume 4” also offer a chance to score higher points. For instance, CMMI-SVC or CMMI-DEV Level II or above certifications, ISO 9001:2015, ISO 20000-1:2018, and/or ISO 27001:2013 certification and having a “secret” or above facility clearance will fetch you a higher score. For more details, please go through our breakdown of the Whats, Whys and Whens of Polaris GWAC. Preparing ahead of time helps organize all this information for greater success.
4 Steps to Take Right Now
Here are the four key steps to take in order to prepare for GSA Polaris:
1. Gather Relevant Documentation
For the relevant experience projects that you intend to use, gather all contract award documents, statements of work, contract modifications, and most recent CPARS. Get the relevant documents signed by the associated contract officers right now to reduce the administrative burden later on. Develop a checklist to identify which following certifications you already possess or have the capacity to attain between now and the final RFP release date:
- Audited Cost Accounting System & Approved purchasing system: Organize documentation that will allow you to demonstrate DCAA, DCMA, or CFA approval for your company’s accounting system and/or purchasing system.
- CMMI-Services Level 2 or higher certification: CMMC-readiness is vital. You should begin preparing for CMMC and SCRM assessment by staying aware of developing requirements and by implementing the appropriate NIST SP 800-series documents.
- ISO 9001:2015, ISO 20000 1:2018, ISO/IEC 27001:2013: Verification of the offerors’ ISO certification of Conformity/Conformance is important to score for this element.
- Facility Clearance Level: Individual task orders may require facility security clearances. If you intend to bid on such task orders, you need to make sure that you have your security clearances in place and submit the information in the Self Scoring Worksheet.
2. Get Your Team Together
To avoid confusion when the solicitation is released, it is best to allocate responsibilities and roles right now. Assign personnel who will watch out for any pre-solicitation updates. Assign personnel for contract management, financial aspects, and proposal development.
Assess risk/benefit to identify the “business arrangements” for you. Discuss with your potential JV partners, prime contractors/subcontractors, etc., and identify the kind of teaming that will help you maximize your score.
3. Identify Your Best Relevant Experience Projects
Projects that were performed in the past five years, have an IT focus with a wide range of services, and cover at least one of the performance areas and/or emerging technologies will be viewed more favorably. Projects with a large annual value (at least $1 million project value) and have a very good CPARS rating will also help you score more. Now might be a good time to do a SWOT analysis, choose your best and highest-rated past performances.
4. Stay Updated and Connected
Read the draft RFP thoroughly and note down any ambiguities, and respond with your firm-specific questions. Consider building relationships to attain a Risk Assessment Score until solicitation release. Join the Small Business GWAC Community of Interest on GSA Interact to stay updated about new developments.
Start Preparing for GSA Polaris
If you intend to bid, the time to start preparing is now! The final RFP is expected to be out soon (later this summer, according to GSA Interact). Now is the time to initiate the proposal development process, make the required decisions, hire the right people, put together the right teams, assign roles and responsibilities, and gather all your documentation.
Bidding for large-scale GWAC entails a lot of administrative and resource-intensive burden for small businesses. We at iQuasar can help you prepare and guide you through the process of developing a winning proposal for Polaris GWAC. iQuasar supports Small Businesses in bidding for contract vehicles, including GSA MAS, OASIS, GSA FSS, Alliant SB, 8(a) STARS, HCaTS, Navy SEAPORT-E, CATS+, MOBIS, RMAS, other GWACs, and NIH CIO-SP3. Our team is well-acquainted with the Polaris GWAC requirements and is proactively helping Small Businesses in preparing for it. Our team of experts will manage the entire process by helping you assess your eligibility, prepare a proposal development strategy tailored to your firm’s unique requirements, and create a high-quality and compliant proposal response to help you win.