Set Your Sights on USDA Centers of Excellence Bids for Q4 and Beyond

In December, the White House announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would serve as the first of GSA’s Center of Excellence (CoE) for IT Modernization. USDA is at the forefront for implementing the Trump administration’s IT Modernization Plan with a series of acquisitions covering multiple skill sets, technology stacks, and application portfolios.

Multiple Award BPA

Under Phase 1, in March 2018, USDA awarded five contracts to collaborate and partner with the agency on strategy and planning for upcoming bids. On July 30, 2018, USDA released its first Phase 2 CoE acquisition under GSA Schedule 70 via e-Buy, due August 10: a multiple award Blanket Purchasing Agreement (BPA) for Infrastructure Optimization Cloud Adoption. With a two-year period of performance, the program will require the selected vendors to work with USDA’s Cloud Platform Services (CPS) organization responsible for enterprise-wide cloud adoption and infrastructure optimization. USDA plans to make an award by the end of Q4 FY 2018.

USDA is seeking four pools of support: Application Rehosting, Replatforming, DevSecOps Resources to support a future Refactoring, and Cloud Platform Services Organization Support. Selected contractors will assist the agency in cloud adoption (approximately 50 of 1,000 applications will move to the cloud near-term), infrastructure optimization, data center consolidation, application migration, cloud portfolio management, and DevSecOps support. USDA’s ultimate objective is to consolidate from more than 20 data centers to two enterprise data centers by the end of Fiscal Year 2019, while significantly increasing the velocity of cloud adoption within the agency.

Two Task Orders and Orals

Offerors may bid one up to four pools, and the RFQ includes two task orders that will be awarded with the BPA:

  • Task Order 1: Cloud Platform Services
  • Task Order 2: DevSecOps.

In addition to submitting a written proposal, all offerors not disqualified for compliance reasons must participate in oral presentations by pool. Orals include a digital methods presentations in the form of a case study, either representative or from past performance, that exemplifies the proposed approach. Case studies must focus on utilizing DevSecOps methods, including extensive version control and infrastructure as code for delivering repeatable migrations and modernization.

Single Award Solicitations

Both the multiple award BPA and future single award procurements are opportunities for large and small business contractors with USDA experience as well as those without agency expertise who can bring best practices, innovation and lessons learned from commercial and government sectors. However, potential bidders must hold GSA Schedules and Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) in order to participate in all but one of the procurements. Additional bids released include:

  • Contact Center: create a 1-866 ASK USDA omni-channel contact center that will serve as the OneUSDA front door to all USDA information and services. USDA is procuring this Tier 0-2 contact center as a single award under Alliant 2.
  • CX Digital Support Services: the vendor will create a sustainable CX Digital Support Service Team to work with USDA to put the customer at the center when planning and implementing a digital solution. The procurement is released under e-Buy.
  • Data Analytics Capacity Building: work with the Service Delivery Analytics CoE and the USDA OCIO to develop and implement an overall enterprise data strategy, procured under Schedule 70.
  • GSA/USDA CoE Business Management Office (BMO): provide professional services to assist GSA/USDA in the expansion and maturation of the CoE BMO service delivery model within USDA with the acquisition released on e-Buy.

What You Can Do

Although BPA bids are due August 10, there is still plenty of opportunity to participate both on the BPA task orders and upcoming single award solicitations.

  • BPA Strategy: If you have not already decided to prime and have not yet joined a team, review the four pools of support and reach out to bidders to see if you can join a team post-award for a specific task order. USDA has posted a list of vendors who participated in Industry Days and may be open to teaming.
  • Single Award Bids: While these are quick turnaround bids, the August 10 deadlines may be extended, so check out the GitHub page to ask a question or participate in discussions.

Participating in any aspect of this joint GSA-USDA venture will get your company a lot of important face time and experience on what is the ground floor of the White House IT modernization effort. Lohfeld Consulting can help with capture readiness assessment/capture support; solutioning; orals support; proposal writing, review and management; and lessons learned post mortems.

By Lisa Pafe, Vice President, Lohfeld Consulting Group, CPP APMP Fellow and PMP

Lohfeld Consulting Group has proven results specializing in helping companies create winning captures and proposals.
As the premier capture and proposal services consulting firm focused exclusively on government markets, we provide expert assistance to government contractors in Go-to-Market Strategy, Capture Planning and Strategy, Proposal Management and Writing, Capture and Proposal Process and Infrastructure, and Training. In the last 3 years, we’ve supported over 550 proposals winning more than $135B for our clients—including the Top 10 government contractors. Lohfeld Consulting Group is your “go-to” capture and proposal source! Start winning by contacting us at and join us on LinkedInFacebook, and Twitter.

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