Top 6 Contract Vehicles to Pursue in 2024

Dec 22, 2023

Working with the federal government opens up a world of possibilities for small businesses. To unlock the full potential of these opportunities, it’s important to have a crystal-clear vision of the exciting prospects that lie ahead. Current market trends suggest a surge in federal government spending; Bloomberg Government anticipates a surge in contract spending, reaching a projected $762 billion in total procurement, with $113 billion allocated for professional services, once Congress approves appropriations bills for 2024.

Contract vehicles present lucrative opportunities, unlocking a vast realm of sustainable business growth. Federal agencies use these vehicles to streamline acquisition and establish a select pool of specialized, high-quality sellers. This blog examines some of the most awaited contract vehicles in 2024, including PACTS III, SEWP VI, CBOSS, ALLIANT 3, CIO-CS, and ITES-4S. Let’s dive right in!

1. Program Management, Administrative, Clerical, and Technical Services (PACTS) III

Overview:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a goal to establish a suite of Department-wide Indefinite-Delivery Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) contracts for Program Management, Administrative, Clerical, and Technical Services that will enable the DHS to accomplish its mission objectives. The aggregate ceiling for PACTS III is $8.4 Billion. PACTS III will establish a flexible and responsive capability to meet the customers’ needs by providing a base of pre-qualified contractors who can be rapidly accessed through both competitive and noncompetitive methods, as appropriate, to provide the required services described in the PACTS III Statement of Work (SOW). Each task order will specifically define the services required to be delivered by the contractor.

Scope:

As per the draft RFP, offerors will be required to provide the full range of program management, operations, technical, and administrative services in one (1) or more of the Functional Categories to meet DHS’s mission needs. This contract vehicle will not provide any information technology (IT) services. The PACTS III Statement of Work (SOW) comprises three comprehensive Functional Categories (known as FCs) of services, each with specific requirements that will be defined at the Task Order (TO) level:

  • FC1: Administrative Management and General Management Consulting Services
  • FC2: Office Administrative Services
  • FC3: Engineering Services

Benefits of PACTS III for Small Businesses:

This IDIQ targets specific socio-economic categories that include 8(a) Set-Aside, HUBZone Set-Aside, Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Set Aside, and Woman Owned Small Business Set Aside; hence it is a great opportunity for offerors under these socio-economic set-asides to do business with the DHS. PACTS III will give qualified small businesses a greater opportunity to participate in these requirements and to assist DHS with continuing to achieve and exceed its small business and socioeconomic goals.

Latest Developments on PACTS III:

DHS released the third draft of the PACTS III on 27 October 2023, and some major changes were made throughout the draft RFP. On November 09, 2023, a consolidated copy of all questions received through the second draft of the PACTS III RFP was released. On November 21, 2023, DHS mentioned that the agency will provide answers to questions and attendee list from the Industry Day once they are available. On 19th December 2023, the recording of the Industry Day and the attendee list of the Industry Day were released. The answers to questions were not released yet and the agency mentioned that PACTS III solicitation will not be posted to sam.gov until January 2024.

You can also track the latest developments on this contract vehicle here.

2. Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) VI

Overview:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP) stands out as a premier acquisition instrument through which federal agencies have procured IT services and products totaling millions of dollars. The well-known Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC), with a history dating back to 1993, is recognized as a Best-in-Class contract vehicle, demonstrating robust longevity through its five iterations. This contract vehicle’s primary focus is commercial IT products and services, though there is a particular emphasis on products. For SEWP V, the total number of awards was increased to more than 200, whereas under SEWP IV, a total of 52 contracts were awarded. For SEWP VI, it has been anticipated that there will be no bar on the number of awards with a maximum ordering value not exceeding $20 Billion per contract. Notably, NASA has recently released a Draft Request for Proposals (RFP) for SEWP VI, following the success of its predecessor, SEWP V, with the announcement on September 08, 2023.

Scope:

The NASA SEWP vehicle is a Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) with a broad reach, extending its offerings to all government agencies. Under SEWP contracts, an extensive array of IT-based solutions covers categories such as tablets, desktops, network equipment, storage systems, software platforms, audio-visual products, product-centric services, and more. Serving as a cornerstone in federal agency procurement, SEWP primarily focuses on acquiring IT products and solutions distinctly separate from IT services.

Certifications Required for SEWP VI as per category:

  • For All Categories, the certification requirement will be
    • ISO 9001 standard via a current ISO 9001:2008 or 9001:2015 Certification.
  • For Category B and C:
    • Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) via a current CMMI-Development (CMMI-DEV) or CMMI-Services (CMMI-SVC) Appraisal at Maturity Level 2 or higher.

Benefits of SEWP VI for Small Businesses:

For small business contractors, NASA SEWP VI presents a gateway to lucrative opportunities within the federal domain. This contract vehicle has demonstrated substantial success across various agencies, providing a streamlined and competitive platform encompassing many IT solutions. SEWP VI comes with a special focus on small businesses. As per the draft RFP, the following will be the competition details in different categories:

  • Category A – Group A1 will be unrestricted competition, and Group A2 will be set aside for small businesses only.
  • Category B – Group B1 will be unrestricted competition, and Group B2 will be set aside for small businesses only.
  • Category C – Group C1 will be set aside for small businesses only. Group C2 has been reserved yet.

Relevant Past Performance submissions also include specific requirements for various small business socio-economic categories:

  • In Category B, offerors must provide past performance references showcasing at least three content representative areas. HUBZone, SDVOSB, and EDWOSB offerors need to provide past performance references showcasing at least two content representative areas.
  • In Category C, offerors’ past performance references are required to showcase at least three content representative areas. HUBZone, SDVOSB, and EDWOSB offerors must provide past performance references showcasing at least two content representative areas.

Latest Developments on SEWP VI:

  • The Request for Proposals (RFP) for SEWP VI is expected to be officially released in the second quarter of 2024. The SEWP VI contract award date is anticipated to be in October 2024. It’s important to note that all official solicitation postings and their accompanying attachments for SEWP VI are exclusively accessible on SAM.GOV.
  • The SEWP VI Industry Day, held on October 18, 2023, played a pivotal role in engaging stakeholders and providing valuable insights. It offered presentations, Q&A sessions, and access to presentation slides and audio recordings for a comprehensive understanding of the event.
  • The initiation of the SEWP VI process commenced with the release of the Draft Request for Proposals (RFP), identified as SEWP VI Draft RFP- 80TECH23R0001. Industry professionals and stakeholders were provided with the SEWP VI RFP Comment Tool, which was open until October 23, 2023, and offered an avenue for submitting comments and questions related to the SEWP VI RFP.

3. Chief Information Officer (CIO) Business Operation Support Services (CBOSS) 2.0

Overview:

The Department of Energy, Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Business Operation Support Services (CBOSS) contract vehicle is a single-award blanket purchase agreement (BPA) with a potential value of $10 Billion that grants access to a variety of cutting-edge technology services. CBOSS aims to provide efficient and adaptable contracting support in areas such as innovation. CBOSS is an enterprise-wide BPA that offers an extensive array of core IT services designed to support the DOE’s diverse mission portfolio.

Scope:

With a five-year performance period, the CIO Business Operations Support Services (CBOSS) contract covers general IT support, telecommunications, cybersecurity, systems architecture and engineering, and shared services.

Benefits of CBOSS 2.0 for Small Businesses:

Under this BPA, selected companies can provide a diverse range of IT services to the DOE Enterprise, which is comprised of 79 separate entities. Small businesses, if selected, can provide a varied range of IT services to DOE. Small businesses can start looking for potential partners and work towards creating strong teams in order to be able to compete on this BPA.

Latest Developments on CBOSS 2.0:

DoE released the RFI for CBOSS 2.0 on September 01, 2023, with responses due on September 22, 2023. The incumbent BPA held by Accenture PLC is set to expire in March 2025, if the final option is exercised in March 2024. The solicitation is expected to be released in 2024

4. Alliant 3

Overview:

Alliant 3 — the third iteration of Alliant from GSA — is an Unrestricted, Best-in-Class (BIC), Multiple-Award, Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity (IDIQ) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) offering complete and flexible IT solutions worldwide. The Alliant Master Contract, valued at $75B, allows federal agencies and eligible entities to access a wide range of integrated IT services worldwide. It covers current, leading-edge, and emerging technologies, adapting to the evolving landscape as supported by the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA). The master contract allows maximum flexibility in acquiring an IT service-based solution for any conceivable IT service-based requirement while adhering to the “Anything IT Anywhere” philosophy. The scope of the draft RFP includes every imaginable aspect of IT services, including but not limited to the following:

Relevant Experience Categories:

As per the draft RFP, relevant experience has been divided into two separate categories:

1. Primary Relevant Experience NAICS Areas: The Offeror must submit a Maximum of Seven (7) distinct Primary Relevant Experience Projects. This relevant experience category is primarily related to projects under NAICS listed below

  • 518210—Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services
  • 541511—Custom Computer Programming Services
  • 541512—Computer Systems Design Services
  • 541513—Computer Facilities Management Services
  • 541519—Other Computer-Related Services

2. Emerging Technology Projects: The Emerging Technology Relevant Experience projects areas include AI, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Edge Computing, Extended Reality (XR), Health Information Technology (HIR), the Internet of Things (IoT), Mobile IT, Quantum Computing, and Zero Trust Networks. The offerors may submit a maximum of Three (3) Emerging Technology Relevant Experience Projects.

GSA Alliant 3 is expected to have a Point-Based evaluation. Points will be based on various factors, including Relevant Experience Projects, Emerging Technology Projects, and Offeror Certifications.

Benefits of Alliant 3 for Small Businesses:

The government intends to make 60 awards under Alliant 3. Awardees will benefit from a 10-year term and no ceiling master contract on Alliant 3. The Alliant 2 ceiling increased from $50B to $75B; Alliant 3 is expected to have a similar value, per Deltek’s estimate. Even though the contract vehicle is unrestricted, but due to the size, scope, and magnitude of this acquisition, the government anticipates substantial opportunities for SB, SDB, WOSB, HUBZone SB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns. For small businesses, this vehicle can provide a great avenue to get on subcontracts with large firms.

Latest Developments:

  • The first draft of the RFP was released in October 2022 and in March 2023, the agency announced that the RFP would be issued no earlier than the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2024 (Q1, FY24) to provide the Government sufficient time to review public responses to the Request for Information (RFI).
  • On July 24, 2023, the agency released a consolidated response to the questions received on the first draft RFP.
  • GSA issued the second draft RFP for ALLIANT 3 and has asked the offerors to send comments and questions via Google Forms before January 15, 2024.

5. Chief Information Officer – Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS)

Overview:

CIO-CS is the next-generation Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) vehicle administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC). The Chief Information Officer – Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) is a five-year Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract with a five-year optional period with a maximum dollar value of $20 Billion. The current CIO-CS contract was awarded in 2015 and will expire in 2025.

The intent of this contract is to provide Information Technology (IT) commodities and solutions as defined in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 2.101(b) and further clarified in the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. These IT commodities and solutions include health and biomedical-related IT commodities to meet scientific, health, administrative, operational, managerial, and information management requirements. The contract also contains general IT commodities partly because medical systems are increasingly integrated within a broader IT architecture, requiring a systems approach to their implementation and a sound infrastructure for their operation. The Chief Information Officer Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) GWAC supports the full range of IT needs across the federal government with a particular emphasis on agencies like NIH and its parent, HHS, that are involved in health care and clinical and biological research.

CIO-CS is the successor contract to NIH’s current Electronic Commodities Store (ECS) III, which expired in November 2014. CIO-CS will continue to support government IT efforts with a focus on health and biomedical-related IT in support of federal agencies’ health missions. The NAICS associated with this GWAC are 334111: Electronic Computer Manufacturing and 541519: Information Technology Value Added Resellers.

Scope:

The scope of the current contract vehicle includes providing IT commodities and solutions as they apply to support the general fields of IT operation (security, infrastructure, telecommunications, and desktop applications) and health and life sciences within the federal government. The IT commodities are deployed using two models listed below:

  • On-Premise Model
  • Managed Services Model (includes deployment on the Public Cloud)

Functional Categories:

The IT commodities and solutions contained within the scope of this contract include the following:

  • Category 1 – End User Hardware Commodities
  • Category 2 – End User Telecommunications Hardware
  • Category 3 – End User Software Commodities
  • Category 4 – IT Security Software Commodities
  • Category 5 – Enterprise-Wide Software Commodities
  • Category 6 – Health and Biomedical Research IT Commodities
  • Category 7 – On-Premise Infrastructure
  • Category 8 – Telecommunications Plans
  • Category 9 – Infrastructure and Platform as a Service

Benefits of CIO-CS for Small Businesses:

Small businesses participating in CIO-CS gain access to a diverse range of IT commodities and solutions. This includes hardware, software, cybersecurity solutions, cloud services, and other technology-related products and services. This broad scope of offerings creates opportunities for small businesses to showcase their expertise in various IT domains. CIO-CS covers a broad spectrum of IT commodities and solutions, including hardware, software, cybersecurity, and cloud services. This diversity allows small businesses to explore various niches and present their expertise in different technology domains.

Latest Developments on CIO-CS:

The Chief Information Officer Commodities and Solutions (CIO-CS) GWAC was awarded on 5/1/2015 with base option Base Period of Performance from 05/01/2015 – 04/30/2020 and Option Period of Performance from 05/01/2020 – 04/30/2025. The draft RFP for the next iteration of this contract vehicle is expected to be released in May 2024, with the estimated award date being April 2025.

6. Information Technology Enterprise Solution – 4 Services (ITES-4S)

Overview:

ITES-4S, or Information Technology Enterprise Solutions – 4 Services, is a contract overseen by the U.S. Army’s Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software, and Solutions (CHESS) program. With an estimated $13 Billion Ceiling, this contract aims to deliver a diverse array of IT services and solutions to different U.S. government agencies. This initiative aims to equip the Army with state-of-the-art information technology equipment and solutions, all while ensuring affordability.

Scope:

The scope of the ITES-4S will mimic that of the ITES-3S, covering the following task areas:

  • Cybersecurity Services
  • IT Services
  • Business Process Reengineering
  • Enterprise Design, Integration, and Consolidation
  • Network/Systems Operation and Maintenance
  • Telecommunications/Systems Operation and Maintenance
  • IT Supply Chain Management
  • IT Education and Training

The following notable additions and modifications will be incorporated in ITES-4S:

  • Multiple NAICS codes.
  • There are two sets of suites (high-end and low-end).
  • 8(a) Set-aside Planning
    • Increased small business goals (in adherence to EO/AFARS compliance).
    • Customers are leveraging our contract to fulfill their SB goals.
  • Adherence to FedRAMP standards for cloud services.
  • Inclusion of metrics for both RFP and RFI submissions.
  • Establishment of minimum requirements for vendors to display on their forward-facing websites.

Benefits of ITES-4S for Small Businesses:

The contract will be similar in scope to ITES-3S, a successful predecessor that yielded $741.8 million in contract spending through September 30, 2022. Under this iteration, there will be a higher focus on 8(a) set-aside planning, increased small business goals, and contractors being able to leverage ITES-4S to fulfill their SB goals. The Army is expected to make ITES-4S more small-business friendly than the previous iteration.

Latest Developments on ITES-4S:

The ITES-4 solicitation is currently in the early stages of development. The RFI was published on July 27, 2023, and the response date was August 31, 2023. According to the November 2023 Program Executive Office Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS) Forecast, a draft RFP and Industry Day are anticipated in Q2 FY24 to provide more information about the opportunity and solicit feedback from potential offerors. The Army intends to gather data and feedback from industry to shape procurement. The final RFP is anticipated in Q4 FY24.

Going after these contract vehicles, especially for small businesses, can be complex and time-consuming. Our team here at iQuasar simplifies the process for you. We support small businesses bidding for complex contract vehicles such as PACTS III, SEWP VI, OASIS+, Polaris, JETS 2.0, and other IDIQs and GWACs. We are constantly tracking updates to these contract vehicles. Our team of experts will supervise the entire process by helping you evaluate your eligibility, increase your readiness levels, prepare a proposal development strategy custom-made to your firm’s unique requirements, and create a high-quality and compliant proposal response to help you win.

 

Please feel free to get in touch with us to find out more.

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