Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Interior
Disposition: Protest denied.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GAO denied the protest of Qwest Government Services, Inc. dba CenturyLink QGS, based on the terms of a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of the Interior (DOI) for cloud hosting services.
The RFP provided for the award of one or more indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ), fixed-price per unit of service contracts for specified service lines for a three-year base period, three two-year option periods, and a one-year option period. The following cloud-based technical service lines were identified: (1) Storage services;
(2) Secure file transfer services; (3) Virtual machine services; (4) Database hosting services; (5) Web hosting services; (6) Development and test environment hosting services; and (7) SAP application hosting services (in support of DOI’s Financial Business Management System). Contracts could be awarded for all of the services lines, or individual services lines, or any combination of services lines. The RFP also stated that DOI was in the process of obtaining approval to allow task orders to be issued by other government agencies. The RFP stated that award would be made on a best value basis, considering the following factors: technical, business management, and price. Additionally, the RFP stated that the technical factor consisted of the following equally-weighted subfactors: (1) service delivery, management and technical approach; (2) usability and functionality; (3) information security and regulatory compliance approach; and (5) organizational experience.
The protester argued that the solicitation failed to adequately set out the agency’s requirements and to provide sufficient information to allow offerors to intelligently and equally prepare their proposals. The agency contended that the RFP provided sufficient information to allow offerors to intelligently prepare their proposals and to allow the agency to evaluate those proposals on an equal basis. The agency stated that the representative use cases contain assumptions for the virtual machine and database hosting service lines which provide the projected consumption volumes, resources, service levels and optional features for proposal preparation and evaluation purposes only. The agency maintained that the RFP attachments contained information pertaining to the capacity/volume, range of current virtual machines and concurrent database hosting instances based on resource demand for each period of performance, distribution of demand, as well as storage class resources. The agency further stated that the RFP provided minimum configuration requirements and proposed storage classes, which represented the minimum requirements. In this regard, the agency stated that it received “significant responses from industry for this acquisition within each of the technical service line requirements,” which the agency suggested showed that the RFP provided sufficient information for the preparation of proposals. GAO ultimately concluded that the RFP provided sufficient information to allow offerors to intelligently prepare their proposals and to allow the agency to fairly and equally evaluate those proposals.