Author Brian Lindholm of FedSavvy Strategies:
It is January 2015, and we now have a draft RFP available for HCaTS! This is a great sign that the long-awaited contracting opportunity is making its way through to a final RFP. The draft RFP had some predictable content but also some surprises in the scope-of-work.
What is HCaTS now vs. what we expected?
This is not purely a sequel to the OPM TMA contract of the last several years. GSA – working with OPM – has added some twists to the story. The scope has deviated from some from previous expectations. For starters, GSA has defined the draft requirement to have – as they call them – five (5) Key Service Areas (KSA).
- Training and development services
- Human capital strategy services
- Human resources and human resource management temporary services
- Information technology support of human resources systems
- Organizational performance improvement
When we consider these KSAs, the first two are directly relevant to the current OPM TMA contract. The third is something we see in contracts such as HRSolutions and GSA Schedule 738X. The fourth could be any IT contract, provided the contractor can deliver the specific HR subject matter expertise. Finally, you could argue that the fifth area is already covered in OPM TMA, but the fact that it is broken out recognizes something unique: the very particular skills necessary to develop the strategies to improve organizational performance AND the skills needed to implement such change.
Only the largest OPM TMA contractors will have the credibility required to win most KSAs.
What have we learned from the draft?
- It’s all about the past performance – When we peel away the proposal requirements and the obvious “make your labor rates competitive,” we have past performance as the key determinant for your case to win HCaTS.
- Don’t plan on crafting a wonderful tale of how you might do something – There is likely to be precious little room for writing prose in the technical and management volumes to describe your approach. Your experience will have to win the day (as long as your pricing is really attractive, too).
- Three different functionally-driven weight classes are present – GSA has created three (3) different award pools divided by NAICS families – training NAICS have a $11 million size standard, consulting NAICS have a $15 million size standard, and IT services has a size standard of $27.5 million. GSA plans to make awards by each.
- Contractors need to find teams…and stay there – GSA specifically limits subcontractors to participation in no more than three (3) HCaTS unrestricted proposals and three (3) HCaTS small business proposals. Conversely, these rules should spur prime contractors to get valuable businesses “off the street” as fast as possible.
- The RFP feels like an Easter-egg hunt – Throughout Section L, there are points available for a wide variety of things such as ISO 9001:2008 certification, CMMI Level 3 certification, etc. These points, added up, might help you to edge out a competitor so do not overlook them in your strategy.
What is next?
Based on other conversations and intelligence gathering, FedSavvy Strategies expects an industry day to happen sometime in February. A final RFP – if you believe the FBO listing – is due in April 2015. We know how malleable those dates are; regardless, you should plan to be RFP-ready by April 2015.
What should you do?
Game time is upon us with a draft RFP in hand. This is going to be a real RFP in a few short months. What should you be doing?
- Re-visit if this is something that may fit your business strategy! Is your business strategy aligned with what HCaTS might bring to you in terms of opportunities?
- Consider the value of HCaTS. FedSavvy Strategies’ best estimate is that HCaTS could capture about $242 million per year against an addressable market of $1.9 billion per year. These figures are very conservative and based on our study of contract spending associated with human capital and training needs.
- If yes to the above, what are you going to do about it? Take a hard look as your role as a potential prime contractor or as a subcontractor. Which fits your business?
- Did you notice the emphasis on past performance? We sure hope so because this is going to make up a large part of the tale of the tape. How do you measure up assuming that the draft RFP is at least 90% representative of the final RFP?
- How about the different potential award pools? Where can you compete? Can you compete? Are you covering your bases with large diverse teams and small business teams?
- Engage potential teammates early and often! Line them up and lock them down before they are “off the street.” It would be best to focus on those with directly relevant and sizeable past performance.
Finally, FedSavvy Strategies has been working a comprehensive review of HCaTS. Stand by for a published document before the end of January 2015!
Author Brian Lindholm: Brian is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FedSavvy Strategies. With nearly 20 years in the industry, Brian has experience as a business developer, marketer and consultant for companies that have succeeded in the federal market.
This article originally appeared on the FedSavvy Blog and is reprinted with their permission.