Matter of Knight Point Systems, LLC, 2017 WL 2472225
The Comptroller General of the United States decided this case. The Comptroller General is the head of the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Acting on behalf of Congress, the GAO handles a variety of fiscal, oversight, and accountability functions.
Background of Blanket Purchase Agreements
On June 24, 2016, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) submitted request for quotations (RFQ) number HSHQDC–16–Q–00195. The RFQ called for “enterprise computing services and cloud computing services.” The RFQ outlined the award of blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) to several companies for “infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud services,” provided directly or using resellers.
The DHS specified that price would not be the most important factor in the award of the BPAs. The capacity of IaaS services offered was the first consideration. The DHS would weigh past experience and performance heavily. Finally, the DHS would use price to differentiate similar, technically acceptable bids.
Knight Point Systems, LLC (Knight Point), Four Points, InfoReliance, and Govplace all submitted bids for this RFQ.
The DHS evaluated all of the submitted bids. Four Points, InfoReliance and Govplace were the top three firms. Four Points received four “exceptional” ratings. InfoReliance and Govplace received three “exceptional” ratings and one “very good” rating each. Knight Point received three “very good” ratings and one “satisfactory” rating.
On February 13, 2017, the DHS announced the award of BPAs to Four Points, InfoReliance and Govplace.
Knight Point protested and challenged the technical evaluation process. The DHS downgraded Knight Point for to use only SaaS cloud services vendors listed by “brand name on its GSA schedule contract.” Knight Point argues that the DHS acted improperly, as no such requirement was outlined in the RFQ.
Analysis of Blanket Purchase Agreements
The Comptroller General reviewed the DHS technical evaluation of bids. The Comptroller General underlined that the DHS must conduct evaluations in a “reasonable” manner, adhering consistently to the specific requirements of the RFQ. So long as the evaluation was reasonable and consistent, the Comptroller General would not overturn the DHS evaluation.
Concerning the present case, the Comptroller General failed to locate a stipulation that justified the DHS approach. Neither the RFQ nor other directions specifically mandated use of IaaS cloud services vendors listed by brand name on the GSA schedule contract. Rather, the DHS appeared to assume this requirement was part of standard GSA regulations. The Comptroller General underlined that such an assumption was improper.
Overall, the Comptroller General sustained Knight Point’s protest, stating that “DHS’s technical evaluation of Knight Point’s quotation was unreasonable.” Furthermore, Knight Point suffered prejudice as a result of the DHS’s technical evaluation. Thus, the Comptroller General recommended that the DHS terminate the existing BPA awards and restart the evaluation process. In so doing, the DHS should adhere to the specific requirements of the RFQ.
Additionally, the Comptroller General ordered reimbursement of Knight Point’s reasonable court costs and attorney’s fees.
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