Updated POLARIS Draft RFP: 7 Things You Need to KnowSep 30, 2021
The Polaris Draft RFP Update has been released!
In case you missed it, GSA released an updated draft RFP for the highly anticipated GWAC Polaris—and it has some BIG news for small businesses! If you are a Small Business that provides IT services, here are SEVEN things you need to know about the updated Draft RFP:
1.GSA ADDED A SDVOSB POOL. Yep. You read that right. There is now an SDVOSB specific pool. That means there are SDVOSB, HubZone, and WOSB pools in addition to the classic Small Business Pool. (If you are newly eligible and unsure of where to start, contact us for help!)
2.CHANGES TO THE PROJECT VALUE THRESHOLD. In the previous draft, a qualifying project needs to be $1M to count as relevant experience. Now the threshold is $250,000. But there’s more: that $250,000 minimum now applies to ALL projects – whether they are in the Primary Relevant Experience category or the Emerging Technology category.
3.CHANGES TO MINIMUM AND MAXIMUM RELEVANT EXPERIENCE PROJECTS. The total number of relevant experience projects permitted has decreased with this update from 7 to 5. The Government has also imposed a minimum requirement of 3 projects. While this may seem frustrating, it can actually help you narrow your project pool to the most powerful projects on your docket. The minimum can also play to your advantage. If all three of your projects are powerhouse examples of your work, you will stand out.
4.THE NUMBER OF ANTICIPATED AWARDEES HAS BEEN UPDATED. This is still a points-based evaluation, and GSA has set the following “quotas” for each pool:
Small Business Pool: 100
WOSB Pool: 80
SDVOSB Pool: 70
HUBZone Pool: 60
Remember, the OCO will still be the decision-maker in determining which pool to use at the Task Order level, but offerors are still permitted (and encouraged!) to submit proposals for ALL pools they are qualified for! Give yourself the advantage by letting our team help perfect your submission.
5.MANDATORY PAST PERFORMANCE EVALUATIONS. This could be a significant one – previously, offerors only needed to submit CPARs or similar ratings for three projects. Now, offerors are REQUIRED to submit Past Performance (i.e. CPARs) for ALL projects. Points will only be awarded for ratings that are SATISFACTORY or higher.
6.EMERGING TECHNOLOGY LIMITS. Here’s another interesting change – offerors are now limited to a maximum of THREE Emerging Technology projects. Choose carefully!
7.LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE CHEATSHEET IS OUT! The Polaris Point Evaluation Table has been released with this update. A full cheat sheet for your submission. It describes in detail the evaluation criteria GSA will use when they dig into your proposal. This illustrates the things you should focus on and, importantly, the things you absolutely shouldn’t. (Contact us if you need help understanding how your proposal will be graded!)
CONCLUSION: So, do these updates make you feel better about your chances or worse? We know that standing out in a contract opportunity like Polaris can be incredibly intimidating -- especially when we’re talking about how many companies will be competing! But as always, Trident is here to help you hone your preparations, perfect your proposal, and win those game-changing contracts. Be sure to sign up for our webinar series and Reach out to our team of proposal experts to get the support you need for this exciting bid!