Commerce delays contract award to sort through a pile of bids

Overwhelmed by the number of proposals it received to a solicitation for its
first governmentwide acquisition contract, the Commerce Department has delayed making an
award until later this month.

“We got more than 200 proposals for the Commerce Information Technology Services
contract, more than twice the number under our very-best-case scenario,” said Alan
Balutis, Commerce’s deputy chief information officer.

The department had planned to award COMMITS contracts late last month. But it now
expects that sorting through the bids will take until at least midmonth or later, Balutis

Through the IT services buy, Commerce wants to award contracts to small, disadvantaged,
minority and women-owned businesses.

Commerce projects that sales through the GWAC will reach at least $500 million but
could go as high as $1.5 billion over the buy’s five-year lifecycle.

About 1,000 companies either independently or through partnerships expressed an
interest in COMMITS.

Commerce on April 8 began hearing oral presentations, reviewing six proposals that day
and has since stepped up the review process, Balutis said.

Commerce issued the COMMITS request for proposals March 5, with proposals due March 26.

The department has divided the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity procurement
into three areas: information systems engineering, systems security, and systems operation
and management [GCN, March 15, Page 16].

The department developed the GWAC in conjunction with the Office of Management and
Budget, the Small Business Administration, the Federal CIO Council and industry, Balutis
said.   Linda Bilmes, Commerce’s deputy assistant secretary for administration,
proposed the concept of a small, disadvantaged business GWAC, Commerce CIO Roger Baker

Commerce Secretary William M. Daley has made it a priority to increase opportunities
for small businesses in the department, Baker said.

Commerce spends more than $1 billion annually on computer hardware, software and

The department this year estimates $459 million of its IT budget will go toward
services, Baker said.  

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