We received a lot of audience questions during our recent Top 20 bids for 2017 webinar. Here is part 2 of our Q&A.
Question: What is the state of mergers and acquisitions and what does this mean for the competitive environment?
Bob Lohfeld’s Answer: Companies go through this merger and acquisition ritual basically for two purposes. One is to realign their business strategy, and the other is to buy backlog. I think over the last several years we’ve really seen a significant realignment in the market based on strategy. The first one to do it was SAIC splitting off part of their business for organizational conflict of interest reasons. The neatest deal this year I thought was Lockheed Martin’s deal to spin off IS&GS. Everybody says it was because Lockheed Martin wanted to get out of the low-price business, but my take on it was they really wanted to buy Sikorsky and this was an easy asset to sell to raise the money to do it.
There were lots of other deals—HP splitting off their services business as HPE, Dell splitting out Dell Federal—and all of these companies continually realigning to address market strategy. I think it makes for some awesome competitors in our markets. So, be aware!
Question: How does a small business break out of the contracts bundling squeeze of more and more work going to IDIQs? We have a GSA Schedule, but contracting officers are pointing more and more work to IDIQs. We’ve performed admirably as a subcontractor on more than a dozen IDIQs on dozens of task orders. Yet to become a prime on an IDIQ, you have to cite increasingly large and complex prime contracts to gain a seat. How do we break that cycle?
Brenda Crist’s Answer: Get an IDIQ! But, until you get an IDIQ, know your niche. Where do you play well? Which bids will favor your expertise and qualifications? Pinpoint those like a laser and go after them. Just wait for a better day to get on an IDIQ.
Question: How does a mid-tier company weather the pincers of small business set-asides and full-and-open to compete against the usual large suspects?
Bob Lohfeld’s Answer: I like the way it’s phrased—the pincers! The mid-tier market has been full of whiners for 40 years complaining that they graduated from the set-aside market and yet they’re not ready to run, so please government give us another handout. For 40 years, it’s fallen on deaf ears and it may continue to fall that way. So, my recommendation to the mid-tiers is first, stop whining because it’s wasted motion. Second, your battle cry in the market has got to be that you’re large enough to serve and small enough to be agile and to care. That makes you an awesome competitor against the larger businesses that are always looking elsewhere. You can nip off deals one after another. Select carefully the deals you want to chase and then out-hustle and out-work the larger firms—the market is yours. Go get it and put the whining aside. It’s a great market.
Question: Is it already too late to start the capture process on the Top 20 FY17 bids?
Bob Lohfeld’s Answer: Well it depends on the deal you’re looking at, but I’d always contend that given enough money and enough time, you can win any deal in the marketplace. Time is the tough dimension here. For some of these more complex ones, you need a good running start. For some of the less-complex ones, you can step up and play straight away. It’s a deal by deal call.
Question: Will more government agencies opt to use OASIS rather than their own contract vehicles. Which agencies have indicated that they plan to make the shift?
Lisa Pafe’s Answer: I think we will see more agencies using OASIS. It’s already quite a popular vehicle. Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, and Army have all committed to using OASIS for professional services, and most recently, the Department of Navy’s Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) securing the Navy’s use of OASIS and OASIS SB. For example, NAVAIR long-range acquisition forecast shows that the Joint Strike Fighter Program Office will use OASIS for $250 million in contract work in this fiscal year. So, I think with GSA opening up the on-ramping to get more competition and more agencies committing to use OASIS, you’ll see more and more use of this vehicle.
Question: Any update on OASIS Pool 1 small business and what we can expect from that?
Lisa Pafe’s Answer: That’s pretty open ended. I think you just have to stay on top of GSA Interact for OASIS and what’s going on with the on-ramps, but I think we can expect to see continued on-ramps because GSA wants more competition in every pool to make the vehicle a competitive vehicle versus other options that might be out there on single agency IDIQs.
Follow-up Question: What’s the timing? When will they on-ramp?
Lisa Pafe’s Answer: They started on-ramping pool 2 already. They haven’t announced the timing on the other on-ramp, so I think just stay on top of it by subscribing to their Interact page.
Look for Part 3 of our Top 20 Opportunities for 2017 Q&A coming soon.
Our procurement experts:
Lisa Pafe, Vice President, CPP APMP Fellow and PMI PMP, has 25+ years of capture and proposal experience. She is President of APMP-NCA, and was VP and Speaker Series Chair for 2 years each. Lisa writes extensively about federal procurement trends for Washington Technology and on LinkedIn. Prior experience includes: VP of Corporate Development, Ace Info Solutions, Inc.; President of Vision Consulting, Inc.; VP of Business Development, GovConnect; and Director of Marketing, MAXIMUS. She holds a BA from Yale University, MPP from Harvard University, and MIS from GWU.
Brenda Crist, Vice President, CPP APMP Fellow, has 25+ years’ experience providing capture, proposal, and program management support for IT companies serving the federal market. Prior to becoming a full-time proposal professional at Lohfeld Consulting Group, Brenda held management roles at OAO Corp. and Harris Corp. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, is a former President of the APMP-NCA, an APMP certification trainer, and current APMP Chesapeake Chapter Board Member.
Bob Lohfeld, CEO and Founder of Lohfeld Consulting Group, CF APMP Fellow, has 30+ years’ experience winning contracts in the government market and is recognized consistently for leadership in business development, capture management, and winning proposals development. Bob writes the Capture Management column in Washington Technology. Prior to forming Lohfeld Consulting Group, Bob served as Division President at Lockheed Martin, Vice President of Lockheed Martin Information Technology, Senior Vice President at OAO Corp., Systems Engineering Manager at CSC, and Program Manager at Fairchild Industries. Bob has served on the APMP Board of Directors. He is a three-time winner of Federal Computer Week’s Federal 100.