Update: GAO sides with protestors for $150M Library of Congress (LOC) Cloud Computing Services competition

Updated September 10, 2020

“DIGEST – Protests challenging the terms of a solicitation as unduly restrictive are sustained where the terms of the solicitation are inconsistent with various regulatory requirements applicable to the agency.”

“BACKGROUND – The RFP contemplates the award, on a best-value tradeoff basis, of a single, fixed-price, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract to provide the LOC cloud computing products and services for a 5-year period of performance.  RFP at 4, 9, 40. The RFP identifies the name-brand products of three cloud services providers, Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure, and requires offerors to provide pricing for an enumerated list of 13 products or services available from these three firms.  RFP at 5-6, 39.  See also AR, exh. 1p, Pricing Schedule.

In addition (and as amended) the RFP provides for the possibility of offering the cloud services of firms not specifically identified in the RFP, and referred to only generically as “other” services (including marketplace services, professional services, training services, and support services).  RFP at 6, 39; see also AR, exh. 1p, Revised Price Schedule.

The RFP instructions expressly provide as follows:  “The Library anticipates making a single award to the vendor who can provide all three cloud services.  Vendors are encouraged to enter into teaming agreements if unable to provide all three cloud services.”  RFP at 38.  The RFP instructions also state that offerors are required to provide a technical narrative describing how they will meet the requirements of the solicitation’s statement of work, and explicitly encourage offerors to propose a solution that incorporates the “marketplaces” (discussed in detail below) of the three identified vendors.  RFP at 38.  The RFP does not include any specific instructions relating to proposing cloud services of “other” vendors…”

“DISCUSSION – The protesters raise a number of challenges to the terms of the RFP.  We discuss these in detail below, but address two preliminary matters before considering the merits of the protests.

The Agency’s Requests for Dismissal

The agency sought to have one or both of the protests dismissed for various reasons.  On June 15, 2020, the agency submitted a request to dismiss the Oracle (but not the Mythics) protest, arguing that Oracle was not an interested party.  The agency reasoned that, because it was soliciting cloud services through resellers (such as Mythics) as opposed to the actual cloud service providers (such as Oracle), that Oracle lacked the direct economic interest necessary to pursue its protest.  By notice dated June 18, we declined to dismiss the Oracle protest, concluding that Oracle was an interested party with a direct economic interest in the outcome of the acquisition.

One day later, on June 19, the agency filed a request for dismissal of the protest based on its stated intent to take corrective action.  The agency’s dismissal request provided as follows:

The Library of Congress will take corrective action in connection with the above captioned protests.  Although the precise corrective action to be taken has not yet been determined, the Library will not award a contract from the current solicitation without further modification.

Agency Dismissal Request, June 19, 2020.  In response to this request for dismissal, our Office sought clarification of the agency’s intended corrective action.  In response to our request, the agency submitted a letter that provided additional information about its proposed corrective action.  We again declined to dismiss the protests, notwithstanding the agency’s clarification…”

“DECISION – Mythics, Inc., of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Oracle America, Inc., of Reston, Virginia, protest the terms of request for proposals (RFP) No. 030ADV20Q0125, issued by the Library of Congress (LOC) to acquire cloud computing services.  The protesters argue that the RFP is unduly restrictive of competition for a variety of reasons.

We sustain the protests.”

“RECOMMENDATION

In light of the foregoing discussion, we sustain the protests.  We recommend that the agency amend the solicitation in a manner that is consistent with the above discussion (as well as applicable FAR requirements) and provide offerors an opportunity to respond to the revised solicitation.  In the alternative, should the agency prefer to use the RFP as issued, then we recommend that the agency execute the necessary documentation to support such a decision.  We also recommend that the protesters be reimbursed the costs of filing and pursuing their respective protests, including reasonable attorneys’ fees.  The protesters should submit their certified claims for such costs, detailing the time spend and the costs incurred, directly to the agency within 60 days of receiving this decision.

The protest is sustained.”

Read the full 15-page decision here.

G2X TAKE: GAO has sided with two protests related to this IDIQ contract program intended to fulfill requirements throughout the enterprise, specifically related to Cloud Services to include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud and to provide the full range of Cloud computing, storage, software and services covering the spectrum of the Library’s IT needs, while recommending that the Agency amend the solicitation.

More details will be shared as to next steps when they are made publicly available. 


Posted June 3, 2020

G2X TAKE: Only days after the solicitation was due, two protests have been filed related to this IDIQ contract program intended to fulfill requirements throughout the enterprise, specifically related to Cloud Services to include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud and to provide the full range of Cloud computing, storage, software and services covering the spectrum of the Library’s Information Technology needs. 

No details are available as to the grounds for the protest by Mythics or Oracle America but they will be shared here as they are made available. The listed due date for a decision in both cases is no later than September 9, 2020. 

Solicitation documents are available here.

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