With 2016 being one of the most active years for federal IT contracts, 2017 is shaping up to be one the most competitive.

Several large, high-ceiling, government-wide acquisition contracting vehicles (GWACs) hit the street last calendar year, with approximately $200 billion in IT contracts, spread across 300 various opportunities, according to the contracting experts at Deltek.

Deltek’s data analysis indicates that industry should be able to compete on approximately 1,400 federal IT opportunities in 2017, with a combined value of approximately $100 billion—or about half of last year’s total.

However, one of the most active agencies expected in 2017, and one that offers significant opportunities for socioeconomic categories (i.e. service disabled and veteran owned small businesses, or SDVOSB and VOSB, respectively) is the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

In addition to a request for proposal (RFP) on its $64 billion community care network for professional services, VA expects to release a request for proposal for a follow-on to its Commodity Enterprise Contract by midway this year. Further, the VA released the Veteran Enterprise Contracting for Transformation and Operational Readiness (VECTOR) RFP on February 14th. Questions were due by 10am February 22nd, and proposals are due at 10am on March 14th. The VECTOR RFP will require companies to make decisions quickly to finalize their Service Group selections and teaming arrangements since the clock is ticking for the March 14th response date.

Closing out the large opportunities at VA is the Veterans Technology Services (VETS) GWAC. VETS is a vehicle composed of service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses, but has been doing only about $100 million to $200 million in business, much smaller than the $5 billion ceiling. According to Brian Friel, founder of One Nation Analytics, VETS 2 has the potential “to see a lot more” and will pick vendors based on a scorecard methodology used successfully by GSA in creating Alliant 2. (Friel has written about this methodology for Government Executive.)

However, it is the Kingdomware decision in the summer of 2016 that may set the pace for the way VA decides to move forward on many new contracts, and recompetes. As a result of this Supreme Court decision, VA has put out guidance that may transform business opportunities at VA, heavily favoring SDVOSBs and VOSBs.

Vendors should continue to keep track of VA guidance on its overall acquisition strategies, as SDVOSBs and VOSBs may have significant advantages in winning contracts, and recompetes, at VA.

Is VA on your capture horizon? What strategies are you employing that are working, or perhaps not working?

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