We know that anyone who is anyone in human capital and training has been waiting for this moment. The HCaTS RFP has been released! Check out the FBO listing here.
Let’s recap the ABC’s of HCaTS.
- There are three (3) key service areas in 1) Customized Training and Development Services, 2) Customized Human Capital Strategy Services, and 3) Customized Organizational Performance Improvement…no surprises here
- As was stated in a March 6 update, KSAs for HRO and HR IT are not going to be a part of HCaTS! This is an interesting twist which makes HCaTS almost the same in scope as OPM TMA. However, they are allowed as ancillary services.
- GSA will use a full & open and small business set-aside structure to award contracts. Each will have two (2) contractor pools based on NAICS codes for past performance with 40 awards in each pool for a total combined 160 maximum awards across all of HCaTS.
- Consistent with earlier language, GSA is sticking to their strategy of NOT allowing subcontractor past performance.
- However, they have loosened up what is allowable past performance when we compare the final version of HCaTS against its first draft. There are a number of combinations for the offeror to use including groups of task orders and smaller examples…just to start.
- When we consider GSA’s scoring examples, it is clear how more complex, long-term and large (by monetary value) past performance will lead to a better chance to win. Simple and small examples are not going to score very well, but they are still allowable. Consider this as competing in a difficult college class graded on a curve. You don’t have to be the best, you just need to be better than many of your peers in order to get the passing grade.
- Delegated procurement authority is a part of this which allows for much broader usage of HCaTS…OPM is (as expected considering HCaTS replaces OPM TMA) mentioned by name for assisted acquisition services
- GSA will engage in regular on-ramping and off-ramping in order to replenish its pools of contractors…this means small businesses that become large businesses either move to a large business pool or they move off HCaTS (depends on their score in their winning proposal)
Take a step back to consider what HCaTS and its potential fit in the larger federal contracting universe.
FedSavvy Strategies sees this as a means to capture opportunities in a market valued at just shy of $2B annually. Other estimates are higher, but those estimates tend to fold in “pure play” military training and simulation. The simulation opportunities grossly increase the overall training market’s value. Most of the requirements that would flow through HCaTS will be similar to requirements we would expect to find in commercial markets. This is not to state that the Department of Defense won’t use this. I expect they will. However, I’ll borrow a term from the former Federal Reserve Board Alan Greenspan and other market values are based on “irrational exuberance.” Regardless, $2B annually is still attractive. HCaTS is a great opportunity to get at opportunities in human capital and training.
Consider the marketing machine that is Jim Ghiloni and his team. They are building HCaTS in the same vision as he has with GSA OASIS. I’ll be the first to admit that I had doubts about OASIS when it came out. However, I underestimated Ghiloni’s ability to market and persuade agencies to use OASIS. Since OASIS’s first awards in February 2014, it has captured $286 million in spending. What? Look at the OASIS dashboard. That is a very impressive start. The U.S. Air Force was the first to commit to use OASIS. The U.S. Army followed suit in March 2015. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) followed suit just recently in July 2015 to eventually abandon their TABSS contract in favor of GSA OASIS (know that TABSS will run through 2017 so it is not an immediate impact). Is this all just talk? No. The Air Force has spent $136M already. The Army has spent $68M to date. The bottom line is GSA’s effort to promote is paying off. Factor this into your decision.
The bottom line is HCaTS should be a great opportunity for any business in the human capital and training business to sell to the U.S. Government.
If you would like a detailed rundown of your competitive environment and the likely customers, check out some additional items here. We’ve invested time and analysis into the HCaTS opportunity. This will be helpful for you to know what you’re up against.
The proposal is due on October 16, 2015. This is a generous amount of time compared to most RFPs. Take a deep breath. Get your plan together (if you don’t have one already). Go win HCaTS!
If you have any questions on HCaTS, just contact me at 301.760.8977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.