October 23, 2014
The $22.3B Transformation Twenty-One Total Technology (T4) Next Generation (NG) contract will be one of the most hotly competed programs this year. Given the high dollar value and the different award categories, the VA will likely receive well over 100 proposals. The incumbents will be wondering which competitors have figured out an ingenious solution to provide higher value at lower cost.
The value of having a T4 contract rose considerably when Robert McDonald took over as Secretary of the Veteran’s Administration (VA). His immense experience as an industry “turnaround specialist” and public recognition of the deep needs at VA combine to enhance the future of this program.
There is reason to hope that the final solicitation will be released on schedule in November 2014. So far, program managers have been good about meeting schedule in accordance with the T4NG solicitation timeline in the original TAC APBI on June 11, 2014: RFI in July, Industry Day in October. Some industry observers predict a slip to December.
T4NG Industry Day
Information provided at the online Industry Day of October 6, 2014 included the following:
- Twenty awards are anticipated
- 4 SDVOSB awards
- 4 VOSB awards (NOTE: an SDVOSB qualifies as a VOSB)
- 4 WOSB or HUBZone awards
- 8 Full and Open (8 potential large business awards)
- Term of the contract is 5 years with a one five year option
- Veterans’ employment is an evaluation factor
- New flexible on-ramp and off-ramp rules and guidance will be implemented
The “Veteran’s Employment Factor” is important in the evaluation. This factor relates to the extent to which the prime bidder has a “veteran-rich workforce.” It will be considered as slightly less important than the Past Performance Factor which is slightly less important than the Technical Factor. This weighs Veteran’s Employment as third for non-price factors.
The procurement strategy announced at the Industry Day leaves large business the loser. With a maximum of only eight full and open slots, some large businesses will probably want to re-evaluate their position and consider teaming with small business.
Insight into Winning a T4NG Contract
According to G2Xchange Health industry leaders, the VA approach to source, evaluate, score and rank both large and small integrators will likely be based on the following:
- Ability to attract key partners for the T4NG bid – e.g., IT health innovators
- Commercial Healthcare IT expertise with a focus on clinical
- Leadership team and key hires
- Federal Healthcare IT expertise
- Commitment shown to hiring Veterans
- Breadth and depth of work at VA today
- Commitment shown to working at VA and with Veterans
- Experience winning and managing IDIQ contracts
Now that the spotlight is on the VA, they will want contractors with solid capabilities to avoid the risk of an embarrassment like the Affordable Care website that didn’t work.
Bidder’s progress at this time should be close to a fully executed capture strategy, with most teammates booked, including a significant number of small businesses, particularly SDVOSB’s and VOSB’s if you are either a large or small business. Significant work on draft writing should be accomplished, particularly that related to “Win Theming” and “Executive Summary” development.
OCI helped one of the most successful contractors on the current T4 program to prepare their winning proposal.