The General Services Administration (GSA) is close to making awards for the Polaris small business contract vehicle, which will replace the Alliant 2 Small Business. This new contract will feature pools of winners in various small business categories, allowing agencies to procure IT solutions and services across different performance areas such as cloud, cyber, data management, and information technologies.
The Polaris solicitation was released in early 2021, but there were pre-award protests at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) that led to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ordering GSA to amend the solicitation and allow bidders to resubmit proposals. On the eve of the new proposal deadline, two companies filed protests with GAO, alleging that GSA was not allowing them to update their past performance and experience information, and that GSA’s position favored mentor-protégé firms. However, GAO rejected these protests and sided with GSA, clearing the way for GSA to make what is expected to be hundreds of awards for Polaris.
The Polaris contract has no ceiling and can also be used to procure software development and IT operations and maintenance. Despite GAO’s decision, there is still a risk of protests against the final awards. Nevertheless, this new contract is expected to bring significant benefits to both small businesses and government agencies by providing more opportunities for collaboration and innovation in IT solutions and services.