IBM prevails in fight for $100M Navy HR contract

IBM has prevailed in a battle over a $100 million project to transform the Navy's human resources functions.

The company won the contract from incumbent General Dynamics IT in November. GDIT followed up with a protest that raised questions about appraisals, pricing and a lack of discussions between bidders and the Navy.

GDIT and IBM were the only companies to submit proposals for the contract, which was competed as a task order under the Alliant 2 vehicle. Navy Information Warfare Systems Command wants to transform and consolidate approximately 200 human resources applications under an initiative known as MyNavy HR.

The Navy found GDIT's proposal non-compliant because it did not have the information necessary to evaluate the likely total cost of the undertaking, according to the Government Accountability Office. decision that was revealed on Tuesday.

The Navy's source selection officer also found that even if GDIT's proposal met, IBM would have been the choice because GDIT's proposed price of $106.2 million was $4.1 million higher than IBM.

GDIT's proposal was slightly better technically than IBM's, but the selecting officer "did not believe there was sufficient basis to justify paying a cost premium of $4.1 million for GDIT's proposal," the company says. GAO decision.

Regarding GDIT's complaint about the lack of discussions with bidders, GAO found that the request was clear that the Navy would not conduct discussions or "exchanges" as they are called in the decision.

GDIT argued that DoD regulations indicate a preference for discussions on acquisitions valued at $100 million or more, but the Navy argued and GAO agreed that it was not a requirement. The Navy “exercised due discretion,” the GAO wrote.

The GAO also ruled that GDIT's claims about flaws in IBM's technical proposal were invalid because they did not offer specific details, only that there "must" be other flaws.

“In all, the protester has not established that the evaluation was inconsistent with the terms of the RFP,” the GAO wrote.

With the GAO's decision, GDIT has reached the end of the road. GDIT cannot take its protest anywhere else because GAO is the final authority for protests involving task order competitions.

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