Alliant's goal is to be better than Millennia

Q&A with Jim Ghiloni, Alliant project manager and acting director for government acquisition contract programs at GSA

Jim Ghilioni

Jim Ghiloni is the Alliant project manager and acting director for government acquisition contract programs at the General Services Administration. Alliant is the new comprehensive GSA IT contract being launched as the follow-on to Millennia, which expires in April 2009. GSA is expected to issue its RFP for Alliant in October and make the vendor awards in the summer of 2007.

GCN: What customer need did GSA seek to fill with Millennia?

Ghiloni: Our customers needed a mechanism by which they could acquire comprehensive IT solutions coming from best-of-breed, best-of-class providers. Millennia was put in place to provide those solutions. Millennia replaced the 9600 contract issued by [the Federal Systems Integration and Management Center]. These were large system integrators for large, complex IT solutions.

GCN: If Millennia has satisfied those needs, why start Millennia Lite?

Ghiloni: The message we get from our customers is that they want direct access to best-in-class solutions, for which big system integrators are best suited. But for smaller projects, there are a lot of companies we would call midsize that offer best-in-class solutions, and customers wanted to get to them directly. So, we created Millennia Lite.

GCN: There are four functional areas with specific vendors for Millennia Lite instead of one general contract as with Millennia. Has that been an issue for customers who need help in more than one area for a project?

Ghiloni: That's something we've been dealing with. The functional areas served a purpose prior to the award but became a hindrance and obstacle afterwards, because folks in one functional area can't bid on work in another. So, this will change with Alliant.

GCN: What will replace Millennia Lite when it expires?

Ghiloni: We'll look at the market and customer requirements and then make a decision about how to proceed.

GCN: As these contracts wind down and you're getting ready to launch Alliant, were there significant lessons learned from how Millennia and Millennia Lite were established and run?

Ghiloni: One of the issues we had to deal with has been the spate of mergers and acquisitions in industry. We ended up with a smaller pool of partners, which affected competition.

So, with Alliant, we've created on-ramps and off-ramps for companies as they are acquired or merge. The government reserves the right to remove a company from a contract for various reasons'the company goes bankrupt and ceases to exist, it grows beyond its status as a small business, it's acquired. But the flip side now is that we'll have an on-ramp. To keep adequate competition, government can reopen solicitations under the same terms to allow new companies to get awards if the company pool dwindles because of mergers and acquisitions or other reasons.

We're trying to give ourselves that flexibility to make adjustments over the lifetime of a contract as industry changes.

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