“Evolve Care Package” for creating a high-scoring proposal – post-RFP release

Lohfeld Evolve Care PackageThe race is on now—the U.S. Department of State (DOS) Bureau of Information Resource Management (IRM) released its $10B Evolve IDIQ request for proposal (RFP) on December 2, 2022.

Evolve bid milestones

  • December 5, 2022: The portal for questions opens.
  • December 9, 2022 at 2:00 PM ET: The portal for questions closes.
  • December 14, 2022: Vendor training session focused on Symphony registration.
  • January 18, 2023 at 2:00 PM ET: Phase 1 proposals are due.
  • April 2023: Companies are invited to continue to Phase 2 (this date is subject to change).
  • Q4 FY2023: Final awards made on Phase 2 proposals (this is an estimated date).

Contract award categories

The bid is highly competitive—hundreds of companies showed interest during DOS’ industry day. DOS stated it is awarding 34 Evolve contracts, and offerors can submit proposals for one or more of five functional categories:

  • IT Management Services Functional Category (FC1) (NAICS 541513)
    • Eight (8) IDIQ contracts to be awarded
    • Four (4) contracts reserved for Small Business
  • Cloud & Data Center Services Functional Category (FC2) (NAICS 518210)
    • Six (6) IDIQ contracts to be awarded
    • Four (4) contracts reserved for Small Business
  • Application Development Services Functional Category (FC3) (NAICS 541512)
    • Eight (8) IDIQ contracts to be awarded
    • Four (4) contracts reserved for Small Business
  • Network & Telecommunications Services Functional Category (FC4) (NAICS 541512)
    • Six (6) IDIQ contracts to be awarded
  • Customer & End User Support Services Functional Category (FC5) (NAICS 541513)
    • Six (6) IDIQ contracts to be awarded

Phase 1

Phase 1 contains a rigorous series of requirements to support the down-select and eliminate offerors unlikely to win an award. In Phase 1 Factor 1, DOS evaluates offerors on the content of their self-scoring submission information and technical challenge white paper content. In Phase 1 Factor 2, DOS evaluates the quality of the offerors’ past performance. Phase 1 Factor 1’s self-scoring attachment is similar to those used by the General Services Administration (GSA) for its IDIQ bids. The Evolve scoresheet asks offerors to score the following items and provide supporting documentation:

  • IDIQ Program Manager
  • Past Experience (about the relevancy, size, scope, and complexity of the work)
  • Past Performance results (measured on the scale of exceptional, very good, and satisfactory)
  • Corporate Capability (CMMI, ISO, etc.)

Phase I is set up to limit the playing field. The worst mistake a company can make is to submit a non-compliant proposal. Even a small mistake can knock a company out of the competition. So, conducting multiple independent reviews is essential to submit a proposal that is 100% compliant.

While DOS did not provide a suggested cutoff score for the self-scoring submission, we recommend that offerors try for at least 93% or more of the points. The technical challenge white paper must have a sound approach with multiple strengths and no weaknesses or deficiencies. An offeror’s past performance quality should be exceptional. A customer’s very good rating could even diminish a score because top bidders will provide exceptional customer references.

Submitting a high-scoring Phase 1 proposal on a tight deadline over the holidays takes planning and agility. Set up parallel paths to efficiently complete each Phase I submission portion. Don’t wait for Pink or Red Team reviews. Review the compliance and the quality of your submissions as you complete them. If you are falling short of points, consider a no-bid decision. Leave sufficient time for a final white glove review and time to upload your submission into the portal.

Phase 2

If you are lucky enough to advance to Phase 2, you are required to produce four more volumes:

  • Volume 3: Technical Approach (10 pages)
    • Technical Assumptions, Conditions or Exceptions (1 page)
    • Sample Task Order (TO) Price Volume (no page limit)
  • Volume 4: Management Approach (various page limits)
    • Technical Assumptions, Conditions or Exceptions (1 page)
    • Sample TO Price Volume (no page limit)
    • Program Management (1 page)
    • IDIQ PM POC Resume (2 pages)
    • Quality Control Solution (3 pages)
    • Recruitment, Retention & Training (1 page)
    • Program Risk Management Approach (1 page)
    • Supply Chain Risk Management (no page limit)
    • Small Business Participation Commitment Document (no page limit)
    • SBC Quantitative Participation Documentation (no page limit)
    • Semiannual Reporting Method (1 page)
  • Volume 5: Small Business Participation (no page limit)
  • Volume 6: Pricing
    • Pricing Tables (no page limit)
    • Price Proposal Narrative and Price Assumptions
    • Conditions or Exceptions
    • Price Proposal Supporting Information (no page limit)
    • Standard Form 33 (SF-33) (no page limit)
    • Reps and Certs (no page limit)

DOS evaluates the Sample Task Order Technical Volume (Factor 3) to determine their confidence level in the offeror’s approach. DOS is looking for feasible, practical, and appropriate approaches to accomplishing the performance work statement (PWS) requirements. DOS is also looking for offerors to identify and discuss potential risks, the alignment of their approach with DOS strategic goals,  improvements to PWS requirements, and their use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) and government off-the-shelf (GOTS) solutions. The requirements are dense in comparison to the page count, so successful offerors must succinctly address each requirement and demonstrate multiple strengths against each evaluated criterion.

The Management Approach (Factor 4) contains multiple disparate sections, which DOS rates separately and aggregates into a confidence score. Once again, DOS presents a dense set of requirements with small page-limit budgets. Offerors must be strategic in covering the requirements and exhibiting multiple strengths across all evaluated criteria.

DOS is rating offerors’ Small Business Participation (Factor 5) approach to assess the extent of their commitment to using small businesses. DOS is assigning the offerors’ approaches a confidence rating that considers whether the offeror met all small business participation commitment minimum requirements and the extent to which their participation is documented in Attachment J-13 (and J-18, if applicable) and supporting documentation. DOS is also rating offerors’ Small Business Participation on the extent to which offerors demonstrate substantive commitment to small business firms and their detailed explanations/documentation supporting the quantitative participation.

In Factor 6, DOS is rating the IDIQ Price and Sample TO Pricing. DOS is evaluating the IDIQ Price in each functional category to determine if it is fair and reasonable. DOS is using one or more of the proposal analysis techniques stipulated in FAR 15.404 (Proposal Analysis) to conduct the evaluation. DOS is evaluating the Sample TO Pricing to determine if it is fair and reasonable and represents the best value while considering any tradeoffs.

Lohfeld Consulting Evolve Care Package

To assist teams working on this Evolve bid post-RFP release, we’ve updated our Evolve Care Package:

For more info about how we can assist your Evolve proposal development efforts, please contact Brenda Crist at BCrist@LohfeldConsulting.com.