As President of Optiv + ClearShark, I've been closely following the developments of SEWP VI. Now that the final solicitation has been published, it's time to break down the key changes. The Optiv + Clearshark team has been busy analyzing these updates and I’m excited to publicly share their findings and the impact they will have to your organization.

Here's a straightforward guide on what we've learned from the final solicitation, how it differs from what we knew so far, and how it differs from SEWP V.

Technical Changes expanded and clarified

For SEWP VI, Category A is very similar to what we have known as SEWP V today.  However, SEWP VI brings substantial changes in the technical areas compared to SEWP V. The requirements from the Draft RFQ to the Final RFQ have decreased and Offerors must now propose solutions for only four out of eight mandatory technical areas, plus Technical Area 9 – Product Based Services. 

New vendor requirements ensure consistency

For category A, one of the more significant updates is that vendors/providers utilized to meet the four technical mandatory experience requirements must now come from a designated list included in the RFQ (Enclosure 1). This new instruction is designed to ensure a consistent level of expertise and capability among offerors, to streamline the evaluation process and reduce the risk of protest. Detailed proposal specs demand precision.

Proposals have become more detailed. For each of the four chosen technical areas, you need at least one Letter of Authorization (LOA) from a designated vendor/provider, with a maximum of four LOAs in total. You also have to rank your technical areas, with the primary one requiring a minimum of 1,000 distinct and relevant CLINs from one of the designated vendors/providers plus 100 distinct and relevant CLINs from a secondary provider of your choice. Secondary areas need at least 100 CLINs each from one of the designated vendors/providers, with 50 distinct CLINs from secondary provider of your choice. The addition and utilization of USNSPSC for CLIN classification.

ISO 9001:2015 and CMMC Level II certification now mandatory

For all categories, a crucial new requirement is the ISO 9001:2015 Certification, which must be provided at the time of proposal submission. Vendors can't use the certification from a parent company, affiliate, division, or subsidiary, making it essential for entities like ClearShark LLC to meet this requirement independently. For Small Business, offerors may submit bid without an active ISO 9001:2015 Certification as long as they receive one within 12 months of award.  Small businesses will be unable to be awarded business on contract until the ISO Certification is obtained.

For Category B, CMMI Certification Level II is required at the time of the proposal submission for all Offerors. Similarly to ISO, CMMI Certification may not be utilized from parent company, affiliate, division or subsidiary.

Past performance and compliance plans strengthened

For Category A, proposals must include past performance from 1 to 3 contracts of similar scope within the last three years. To advance to Phase 3 of the evaluation, a neutral or satisfactory level must be received from existing Government Contracting Officers in the Past Performance questionnaires.  For large businesses past performance contracts referenced must average $2.5M annually. For small businesses, past performance contracts referenced must average $1M annually.  

For Category B and C, past performance contracts referenced must average $500K to $2.5M depending on their business size and classification. 

Additionally, a Cyber-SCRM Plan must be submitted 60 days before the contract award, and a Climate Change Risk Management Plan within 12 months after the award.

Ten-year contract period for stability

SEWP VI continues with a ten-year Period of Performance (PoP) starting in May 2025, with the award expected in October 2024. This long-term commitment reflects the ongoing need for stable and reliable procurement solutions.

Expanded product categories open new opportunities

The addition of two new service categories with SEWP VI at the Master Contract level, Category B – Enterprise-wide Services/Solutions; and Category C – Mission-based Services/Solutions. Category C is Small Business Set Aside only. This expansion opens new opportunities for diverse and comprehensive solutions.

Increased contract ceiling with more awardees

The contract ceiling for SEWP VI is a whopping $60 billion, up from SEWP V’s $20 billion. You can also expect more awardees due to a three-phase procurement down-select process. Importantly, no price evaluation will be conducted for SEWP VI awards.

Enhanced compliance standards for security and sustainability

SEWP VI introduces new compliance requirements, including ISO 9000 for all categories, CMMI-Level II for categories A and B, Cyber SCRM, and Climate Change Risk Management Plan. These additions ensure vendors meet higher standards in security and sustainability.

Administrative changes simplify processes

While the SEWP Contract Holder User Manual remains mostly unchanged, SEWP VI allows all contract types for services and permits fees on credit card orders to be charged to customers. It also requires the use of AbilityOne non-profits as subcontractors for specific NAICS codes.

AbilityOne requirement for SEWP VI

SEWP VI includes a significant new requirement under the AbilityOne Program, mandating companies to engage with nonprofits to provide employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities on government contracts. This initiative, administered by the U.S. AbilityOne Commission, aims to enhance economic independence and integration for these individuals.

Better opportunities for small businesses

SEWP VI continues to support small business participation, with specific tracks for full-and-open and small business set-aside awards in categories A and B, while reserving Category C exclusively for small businesses.

Understanding these updates is essential for staying competitive and meeting our government customers' needs. The Optiv + ClearShark and I are dedicated to navigating these changes and ensuring we are well-prepared for SEWP VI. This is a critical time for us, and staying informed will make all the difference.

About Optiv + ClearShark

Optiv + ClearShark leads in federal contracting with over 20 years of experience, delivering cutting-edge cybersecurity and IT solutions to government agencies. Their track record includes supporting 100+ federal contracts and securing over $1 billion in awarded projects.

About Govly

Govly is the AI-powered intelligence and capture platform for public sector procurement. Fueled by enriched data on opportunities, contacts and awards. Dan Wilbricht is a Strategic Advisor for Govly.

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