STEP 2: SPARC Market Research
The overall goal of market research is to determine the most suitable approach to acquiring, distributing, and supporting services required by the Government. Market research will also provide information on sources capable of performing the work. There are two types of market research commonly used under SPARC.
Request for Information (RFI): An RFI is issued to SPARC partners to gauge their interest and capability in the work. The information gathered during the RFI process can help the procurement team best craft the Request for Proposal (RFP)/Request for Quotation (RFQ) to generate the optimal responses/bids. The information received in the responses can also be useful to the agency as it may contain information that can be used to shape the requirements.
Sources Sought Notice (SSN) (procurements that are not set-aside): Sources sought can be used as a market research tool to determine availability of small business contractors capable of performing the work. A SSN is used to solicit interest in a project and determine vendor capabilities; it is not a request for proposals or invitations to bid. The COR and CO should consult with the small business analyst (SBA) about the kind of market research that is reasonable.
Market Research as a Service (MRaaS) Tool:
For CMS customers the Office of Information Technology (OIT) has developed the MRaaS tool that sorts prior SSN information which can be used for up to 18 months. If the size, scope and complexity of the work matches the prior market research it may be possible to skip sending out the SSN or RFI (COR is required to work with CO/CS to verify). Specific instructions can be found in the task order guide.