Protest of urgent DHS USCIS requirement to replace the existing TIBCO-based ESB with  microservice architecture is denied

DIGEST

Agency’s assessment of multiple technical weaknesses in protester’s quotation was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s stated evaluation factors.

BACKGROUND

On February 11, 2019, pursuant to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) subpart 8.4, the agency issued RFQ No. 70FA2019Q00000003 to contractors holding federal supply schedule (FSS) contracts, IT schedule 70 with special item number 132-51. The solicitation sought quotations to support the USCIS office of Information Technology, Systems Delivery Division.

The agency explains that, at USCIS today, numerous systems and services share information, and the conduit for exchanging information between the systems is the “enterprise services bus” (ESB).  Agency Report (AR), exh. 11, Declaration of Contracting Officer, July 1, 2019, at 1.  The ESB relies on proprietary software, referred to as “TIBCO” software, and operates out of a government-owned data center. Pursuant to this RFQ, the successful contractor will be required to replace the existing TIBCO-based ESB with “microservice architecture using open source software, with the final service residing in the cloud (Amazon Web Services or AWS).”  AR, MOL, at 2; see AR, exh. 1, RFQ, at 65.  In this context, the RFQ advised contractors that the agency required an “urgent transition to microservices,” establishing a target completion date of September 2020.  RFQ at 37, 57, 65.

The solicitation contemplated a 2-phase procurement, and provided that, in phase 1, each contractor must submit a written price quotation, along with a seven-minute video presentation that responded to five questions addressing the contractor’s technical strategy/approach.  RFQ at 32.  The questions were:

What services would the Offeror tackle first and why?

Your approach to an urgent transition to the microservice-based architecture?

How does the Offeror’s strategy ensure that a service in the legacy ESB environment will remain operational through its service transition to the new microservice based environment?…

DECISION

Computer World Services (CWS), of Falls Church, Virginia, protests the decision by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to eliminate CWS’s quotation from consideration, pursuant to request for quotations (RFQ) No. 70S1BUR19R00000019, to provide information technology (IT) support services.  CWS challenges the agency’s assessment of multiple weaknesses in CWS’s quotation.

We deny the protest.

Read the full 9-page decision here.

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