The The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) earned an honorable mention in this year’s Scorecard for their pace of improvements and leadership focus on their Acquisition Planning Forecast System (APFS) portal
. DHS transitioned to a cloud-based portal on October 13, 2020. However, due to security constraints around Personally Identifiable Information (PII), the email notification subscription service was removed. As part of PSC's feedback that removal of the notification feature was a step backward, DHS proposed a solution involving companies creating a general email inbox for APFS alerts; after accessing relevant emails, each company could determine internal notification procedures. PSC member companies volunteered for user acceptance testing and email notifications resumed. On June 7, additional data fields and change log information were added to the portal. We encourage DHS to continue to address additional forecast data improvements.
How Does Industry Use Business Forecasts?
In order for companies to provide their federal customers with more timely, comprehensive and thoroughly researched solutions when RFPs are finalized, they rely heavily on the accuracy and comprehensiveness of an agency’s Business Forecast. Often resource allocation and teaming decisions are made well in advance of the RFP.
A Forecast, if prepared properly, can provide interested parties with excellent and actionable advance information that will enable them to determine potential future staffing requirements as well as project needs and costs. While PSC and the contracting community fully recognize that spending priorities often change on short notice, significant course corrections tend to be the exceptions rather than the rule in the services sector.
PSC’s 15 Key Attributes for a Successful Business Forecast
1. Electronically Sortable Information.
All posting agencies should have their forecasts available in Excel format. This format allows industry to easily search for and organize information of their choosing and program offices can easily update it with new and recent information. In contrast, PDFs are often disorganized and undersized, complicating the user’s ability to utilize it efficiently and usually indicates that the government does not update their forecasts regularly.
2. Date Modified.
Modification dates inform users whether the information is recent and updated. If the data are outdated, contractors might need to find relevant contracting information or other opportunities some other way.
3. Frequency of Updates.
Agencies are evaluated on how current their listed opportunities are in their published forecasts.
4. Level of Project Description Detail.
Agencies are evaluated on the existence and comprehensiveness of a project description.
5. Dollar Value.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the dollar value of their projects are listed and the specificity of the dollar values.
6. Program POC Email.
Agencies are evaluated on whether a point of contact is specified for each opportunity, with an individual's (not generic) email address.
7. Program Office and Buying Office.
Agencies are evaluated on whether they specified their program and buying office for respective services.
8. NAICS Code.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the NAICS code is specified for each opportunity.
9. Incumbent Listed.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the incumbent is specified for each opportunity or the forecast shows it is a new requirement with no incumbent.
10. Small Business Set Aside Information.
Agencies are evaluated on whether they have small business set aside information available for their opportunities, including set aside specifications.
11. Contract Vehicle.
Agencies are evaluated on whether a particular contract vehicle is listed for each opportunity.
12. Anticipated Solicitation Release Date.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the anticipated solicitation release date is specified.
13. Action/Award Type.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the action, award type, and contract type are specified, such as competitive or sole source, and whether the award is cost-type, fixed fee, or time and material.
14. Anticipated Award Date.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the anticipated award date or fiscal year quarter is specified.
15. Award Period of Performance.
Agencies are evaluated on whether the anticipated award length is specified.