3 KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM GSA POLARIS UPDATE!

gsa polaris Jun 01, 2021
gsa polaris update

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If you were busy at work last week getting things done ahead of the holiday weekend, you might have missed GSA's update on Polaris. This is the first official release we've seen from GSA on Polaris in over two months, so it's worth taking a look at the information GSA did decide to share.

To start, GSA confirmed you don't have to provide every type of experience, system, certification, clearance, etc. to compete for Polaris (but if you follow our Webinar series or read our blogs, you know that your odds of an award go up if you do). GSA also reiterated that Polaris will consist of multiple-award, indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts, with competition occurring at the task order level (see FAR 16.505), so the sole source/directed awards that you see under programs like 8(a) STARS II likely won't apply here.

Let's check out the other key takeaways below:

Key Takeaway #1:
The final RFP won't be out before the fall. Even though we're past the requested due date for comments, GSA is still accepting and considering feedback on the draft RFP. This is a good thing because it means 1) you still have time to get organized and prepare your documentation and 2) it means that GSA is taking vendor (and customer) feedback into account to anticipate issues, questions, and objections before releasing an RFP. For example, based on the FAQ, GSA is specifically reassessing the dollar threshold for relevant experience projects (currently set at $1M) and guidance around Joint Ventures/other meaningful relationships. The fact that GSA is still accepting questions and input will hopefully result in clear, objective guidance when the final RFP hits the street.  

What To Do Now: If you haven't already, read through the draft RFP and download our Basic Eligibility Checklist. This tool will help confirm whether you qualify or need to consider asking a question about the contract's current eligibility criteria. Your input might be the thing that convinces GSA to make a change!

Key Takeaway #2:
The draft scorecard and updated evaluation criteria will be released this summer. The fact that GSA intends to release a draft scorecard isn't new information, but it bears repeating because, on a points-based RFP, only the highest scorers will receive an award. Knowing where you fall out on the points scale can help you get to a bid decision -- or teaming decision -- quickly.  

What To Do Now: Download our Project Evaluation forms to help get a sense of your strongest qual contenders. That way, when GSA releases the draft scorecard, you'll be able to evaluate your projects and rank them quickly!

Key Takeaway #3:
There's good news around the number of anticipated awards. Based on the latest update, "GSA anticipates 60-100 awards being made within each pool." Remember, there will be three pools on Polaris -- Small Business, HUBZone, and Woman-Owned Small Business. -- so we could see as many as 300 awards for this GWAC! (If you recall from Alliant 2 SB, there were only 81 awards total before the contract was canceled.) Remember: GSA will make awards "to offerors demonstrating the highest score based on the...scoresheet."

What To Do Now: If you've followed our previous recommendations and downloaded our Eligibility Checklist and Relevant Experience Forms, you likely already know what pool(s) you are eligible for and what your strongest project(s) are. If you've determined that you won't be able to bid alone or want to explore your teaming options, consider using our Prime Finder service to get matched up with companies in the HUBZone or Woman-Owned Small Business pools where there may be less competition.

Conclusion:  
While the details are still coming together, Polaris is still on track for release later this year, and with a points-based evaluation system, the preparatory actions you take now could be the deciding factor that takes your proposal from an eligible bid to a winning bid. Contact us today if you need help getting ready!  

If you are interested in pursuing the Polaris GWAC IDIQ, here are some recommendations for you:
  1. Download our GSA Polaris eligibility checklist here
  2. Download our GSA Polaris self-assessment and gathering project documentation
  3. Sign up here for our GSA Polaris newsletter and get alerts on the contract as they happen.
  4. Sign up for updates from the GSA Small Business Community of Interest
  5. Verify your WOSB cert is in order or make updates at https://beta.certify.sba.gov
 
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