SmartBuy advances planned

The General Services Administration is close to signing the first contracts under a new governmentwide enterprise licensing program, officials said last week. Meanwhile, officials from GSA and the Office of Management and Budget are considering ways to make the program, called SmartBuy, more flexible and appealing to vendors.

"SmartBuy is a difficult thing to do," said Emory Miller, director of information technology professional development at GSA and the agency's SmartBuy leader. "It's sort of like an [e-government] initiative all in itself, because you're trying to coordinate all agencies."

Officials modeled SmartBuy on the Defense Department's Enterprise Software Initiative. The intent is to sign governmentwide licenses for commonly used software products, such as office automation and virus protection. The licenses would use the volume buying power of the government to win lower per-unit prices.

OMB officials announced the program this summer with a prediction that the first licenses would be signed by the end of September. None have yet been signed, Miller said.

The two agencies are exploring ways to make the program more appealing to vendors, including tiered pricing and volume discounts, he said last week at a luncheon sponsored by the Association for Federal Information Resources Management.

The agencies are also focusing more on total cost of ownership than per-unit price in determining what makes a good value for the government, he said.

The government needs to recognize industry's profit motive, said Tad Anderson, government-to-business portfolio manager at OMB. "It's OK for business to make a profit," he said. "This isn't about putting business out of business. That's something that hasn't been that clear."

Vendors are interested in the program, but need incentives, such as guaranteed sales volumes, said Curt Kolcun, general manager of Microsoft Corp.'s Federal Systems division, in a separate interview.

"One size doesn't necessarily fit all," he said. "There are nuances to agencies that have to be built into the requirements."

"We're having productive dialogue," he added.

Vendors should consider more factors than their revenue levels, however, Miller told the luncheon audience. "If I were a vendor, I'd say it's a great way to solidify my [government market] base," he said.

When Miller retires in January, James Ghiloni, currently project manager of IT solutions for GSA's Federal Systems Integration and Management program, will take over the post. Ghiloni joined the agency in 2000, from the private sector.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group