OPM Begins Recompete of $640 Million E-Learning Contract

The Office of Personnel Management has started the process to recompete its $640 million e-learning services contract.

The contract will be called USALearning Education, Training Products, and Services. USALearning, or USAL, is a shared resource across the federal government, including the Pentagon, for e-learning products and services. Under the new contract, OPM plans to expand the requirements to meet evolving e-learning needs at agencies.

Powertrain Inc. has held the predecessor contracts since 2012. In August 2019, OPM extended the period of performance on the most recent contract by six months to Aug. 27, 2020 and more than doubled the ceiling to $640 million, citing an increase in demand for e-learning services. As of Aug. 27, the last date to order, OPM had obligated $206 million on the contract, staying below the original $290 million ceiling.

OPM posted a request for information on Aug. 28, one day after the last date to order on the predecessor contract, raising the possibility of a one-year extension while OPM competes the new contract.

The draft performance work statement includes 17 functional areas, which would be the technical scope of the contract:

  • USAL program office services
  • Business area support and project management
  • Learning management, data, and delivery systems
  • Learning content management systems
  • Design, development, and testing of formal and informal learning content
  • Software license acquisition
  • Hosting support
  • Cybersecurity services
  • Help desk services
  • Online forums
  • Technical and project support (client agencies)
  • Assessment design & delivery
  • Organization needs assessments
  • Student information management system (SIS)
  • Simulators and live-virtual training systems
  • Training and instructing
  • Information technology and systems integration

Some of the areas would be new in the follow-on contract, including software license acquisition, cybersecurity services, virtual training, and systems integration.

What’s Ahead

Contractors must submit questions by Sept. 4 and responses by Sept. 18.

OPM will use responses to the RFI to determine an acquisition strategy, and the follow-on is likely to look different from the incumbent contract. It includes a question about whether one contractor could perform the work, implying that the agency is considering a multiple award contract. But even if OPM considers multiple awards, a single award is still most likely. The performance work statement specifies that OPM is looking for a single systems integrator.

OPM hasn’t announced a schedule for a request for proposals or a planned award date. Unless OPM extends the current contract, the agency will probably move quickly since the current contract has reached the end of its ordering period.

The contract would have a one-year base period of performance and four option years. At fiscal 2019 spending levels, the new contract could be valued at $355 million over five years, perhaps more if trends since fiscal 2016 continue.

BGOV’s Take

It might be difficult to unseat Powertrain, but there are still opportunities.

OPM appears to be considering an unrestricted contract, in contrast to the predecessors, which have been small-business set asides. The RFI states that OPM is interested in identifying both large and small businesses that can provide e-learning products and services, according to the RFI. The size standard for the North American Industry Classification code associated with the recompete – NAICS 541519 for “Other Computer Related Services” – is $30 million. Powertrain has likely outgrown its small business status after having received an average of $44 million annually from fiscal 2015 to 2019 and $61 million annually from fiscal 2017 to 2019. This may explain the deviation from the total small business set-aside incumbent contract and could be a hint that OPM would prefer to continue with Powertrain.

Vendors can look into partnering with some of the contractors that attended an industry day from when OPM started recompeting the contract in 2018. Those companies include Accenture Plc, Blackboard Inc., Dell Inc., Excella Consulting Inc., International Business Machines Corp., and Sevatec Inc.

There are likely subcontracting opportunities if Powertrain wins the contract. If the follow-on contract is anything like the predecessor, subcontracts will play a large role. Sixty-four subcontract transactions with a value of $80.4 million have been reported on the USALearning predecessor contract. With subcontracts accounting for 31% of the current value of the contract, there could be substantial subcontracting opportunities on the follow-on contract.

To contact the analyst on this story: Laura Criste in Salt Lake City, Utah at lcriste@bgov.com

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