Analysis: CMS SPARC protestors get paid off

G2X TAKE: Does it pay to protest? Not always, but for the protestors on the multiple award $25B CMS SPARC IDIQ, it certainly did. The real question is – will it benefit these groups in the long run?

At a Friday Happy Hour, two of our researchers did a quick back of the envelope analysis of the SPARC protest based on the percentage of protesting firms who were successful and here is the scoreboard:

  • 22 firms protested with GAO
  • 2 of those protests remain unresolved. (we are not counting the many GAO items that remain open, where the protestor has received an award)
  • 3 protests were dismissed with the protesting firm not receiving an award
  • 17 of the protesting firms were successful as they received a prime award.

That is a 77% rate of success to date for protestors, with the potential of up to 86% should the two outstanding protestors prevail.

** If our math is off a bit, give us a break as it was Happy Hour.

We are not encouraging protests and this is obviously a unique situation, but this type of success will almost certainly embolden some firms to protest on future CMS opportunities. Agree/Disagree? Let us know by commenting below.

One outstanding question remains – whether the firms who protested and received an award will be impacted when it comes to the all-important task orders. The common wisdom amongst industry is that when you protest, the agency, CMS in this case, holds a grudge and they will take into consideration your protest when evaluating at the task level. While it is reasonable to assume that program officials don’t take kindly to firms that make their lives difficult, we suspect that will not be the case here. Of course the bigger winners out of all of this are the Audacious Inquiry and RELI Groups of the world who didn’t challenge CMS at all and received an award anyway. Only time will tell. At this point, winning firms are holding their breath with the hope that there are no more challenges and CMS can start to release task orders. 

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