Polaris GWAC-Latest Updates

by | Oct 26, 2021 | Blog

The wait for General Services Administration (GSA)’s Polaris GWAC Final RFP is not over yet, but there have been some important recent developments to the draft RFP that the offerors need to know about. The agency released an update to the draft solicitation on 24th September.

Polaris GWAC-What is it

Polaris is GSA’s Small Business GWAC through which the Federal Government aims to procure customized IT solutions from highly qualified Small Businesses in various socioeconomic categories. As a replacement for Alliant 2 SB, Polaris is expected to focus on modern technology requirements including cybersecurity, emerging technologies, and IT supply chain risk management requirements. It is expected to leverage AI tools, blockchain technology, and XaaS with an anticipated ceiling value of $15-$20B.

In this blog, we have explained some of the recent changes that have been made to its draft.

Latest Updates

After receiving substantial feedback for the draft RFP issued in December 2020, and engaging customers and industry stakeholders in discussion, GSA has made some beneficial updates to the solicitation, with the aim of encouraging maximum participation by small businesses, emphasizing customer requirements, and reducing barriers to entry for small businesses.

So, what are these changes?

  • Addition of an SDVOSB Pool: A service-disabled, veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) pool has been added. Earlier, there were only SB, HUBZone, and WOSB pools. The number of businesses now qualifying for each pool is as follows: Small Business Pool: 100, HUBZone Pool: 60, SDVOSB Pool: 70, and WOSB Pool: 80.
  • Lowering of Minimum Dollar Threshold for Relevant Experience Projects: The minimum dollar thresholds for relevant experience have been reduced. The limit on project value has been brought down to $250k to qualify for points, which is great news for small businesses. For this contract, the project value for completed projects is the total obligated dollars. For ongoing projects, the project value is the total estimated value (inclusive of all option periods).
  • Change in the Number of Potential Relevant Experience Submissions: The number of potential relevant experience project submissions has been changed, but CPARS report or supporting documentation has been made compulsory for all the past performances. Offerors can now submit three to five examples of relevant experience but must submit at least three (3) projects, or their application will not be considered. Earlier the RFP allowed up to seven projects to be used for relevant experience.
  • Change in the Number and Value of Emerging Technology Experiences: Businesses aiming to score points in the Emerging Technology category must now meet a minimum project threshold of $250,000 and can provide up to three examples. Earlier this requirement was $150,000 and up to 6 submissions.
  • Clarifications and Explanations in Evaluation Criteria and Procedures: GSA has also released the Self Scoring Sheet, it assigns a Point Value to each element, specifies a maximum number of potential occurrences, total max points per element, and max point value. GSA has also elaborated the evaluation criteria by explaining the complete process of evaluation, Qualifying Number, and Acceptability Criteria in each section. Small businesses can team up with other small businesses in order to achieve maximum points in scoring, and score in their respective pools.

 

In the recent Polaris Industry Forum conducted by GSA, they revealed a tentative timeline for this contract vehicle:

STAGE Tentative Date
Release of Solicitation Late Fall 2021
Pre-Proposal Webinar Within 7 days of solicitation release
Questions Due Within 20-30 days of solicitation release
Proposals Due Within 40-60 days of solicitation release

 

Polaris GWAC: Opportunities from the updated draft

For small businesses, the updated draft provides an added opportunity, as contract values have been lowered and the addition of the SDVOSB pool looks promising for businesses that fall under it. The qualifying numbers of businesses have almost been equally divided throughout the pools giving an equal opportunity to all socio-economic categories. The submission process will be made easier for small businesses by the fact that GSA anticipates awards without the consideration of price. There will be regular on-ramps, and a technical refresh provision to keep up with changing customer needs. Additionally, GSA intends to have no contract ceiling – an opportunity for capable small businesses to make considerable profits.

Offerors still have a lot of time left to prepare a compelling response and maximize their scoring. Now is a good time to get started if you haven’t already. iQuasar is here to help maximize your score on your Polaris bid. We will help you develop a draft scorecard, perform a gap analysis to ensure that you make the cut-off score, and find ways to help you out-distance your competition. We will help evaluate strategies for teaming partners, perform capture to develop your win strategy, and prepare a compelling and compliant proposal. No matter how much assistance you require, we’re here to help.

 

 

To know more about how we will help you with Polaris

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