Proposals Are Large, They Contain Multitudes: Agency Reasonably Found that Single Aspect of Approach Contained Strengths and Weaknesses; Omnitec Solutions, Inc., GAO B-419675.2

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Protest challenging weaknesses assigned to proposal is denied. The protester challenged weaknesses it received under every single non-price evaluation factor. GAO found the weaknesses were justified. In particular, the protester objected to a weakness it received for its understanding of special projects. One aspect of the protester’s approach to special projects had received a strength. The protester alleged that its approach could not simultaneously receive a strength and a weakness. But GAO didn’t see an inconsistency. Different aspects of an approach can be beneficial and risky.

Background

The National Institute of Health (NIH) issued an RFP seeking information technology services. After evaluating proposals, NIH awarded a contract to OnPoint Consulting, Inc. An unsuccessful offeror, Omnitec Solutions, Inc. protested. Omnitec challenged weaknesses assigned to its proposal under the RFP’s technical, management, experience, and personnel factors.

Legal Analysis

  • Agency Reasonably Assessed Strength and Weakness to Same Aspect of Proposal — Omnitec objected to a weakness it received under the technical factor for failing to demonstrate its understanding of special projects. Omnitec noted that it had received a strength for its support of special projects, which was inconsistent with a finding that the company also failed to understand special projects. But GAO didn’t see this as inconsistent. The agency could reasonably find some aspects of the special products approach desirable while also finding that other aspects posed risks.
  • Omnitec Didn’t Explain Proposed Data Migration — Omnitec also objected to a weakness it received for failing to explain a possible database migration. Omnitec reasoned the RFP did not require offerors to discuss database migration. GAO found that while the RFP did not require offerors to discuss migration, Omnitec’s approach assumed a data migration but provided little about its approach to such a migration. The weakness was warranted.
  • Omnitec Didn’t Provide Performance Information for Its Incumbent Contract — Omnitec complained about a weakness it received under the corporate experience factor for failing to provide information on its performance on the incumbent contract. GAO found that weakness was reasonable. Omnitec had provided performance information for another contract it performed, but failed to provide that same information for its highly-relevant incumbent contract. 

Omnitec is represented by Richard J. Conway, Albert B. Krachman, Michael J. Slattery, and Oliver E. Jury of Blank Rome LLP. The intervenor, OnPoint, is represented by Jonathan T. Williams, Katherine B. Burrows, Jacqueline K. Unger, and Christine C. Fries of PilieroMazza PLLC. The agency is represented by Kevin Misener, William Shim, and Anastasia Hautanen of the Department of Health and Human Services. GAO attorneys Michael Willems and Evan Wesser participated in the preparation of the decision.

GAO - Omnitec