GSA, SEWP, NITAAC collaborate on computer needs

Acquisition managers surveyed users at 26 federal agencies about what kinds of laptops and desktops are most commonly used, and used the input to set baseline configurations.

virtual desktop abstract

The three big federal contracting vehicles that federal IT managers use to get desktop and laptop computers are asking their vendors about using a common set of configurations to make buying the machines more efficient and effective for federal agencies.

Kay Ely, director of IT Schedule Programs for Integrated Technology Services in GSA's Federal Acquisition Service; Joanne Woytek, program manager for NASA's Solutions for Enterprise Wide Procurement (SEWP) V contract; and Rob Coen, director of The NIH Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) told FCW that they surveyed users at 26 agencies about what kinds of laptops and desktops are most commonly used.

Using that input, they set five baseline configurations, two for laptops and three for desktops.

In May 2014, under the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative , the Office of Management and Budget directed SEWP to develop a way to quickly compare contracting vehicles that offer similar devices and services. OMB also told SEWP to identify and refine a set of computer configurations that would best fit federal buyers and to identify a set of spending best practices.

In the last few months, SEWP and NITAAC have sent out inquiries to vendors who might be interested in using the baseline configurations. GSA is expected to issue its formal request for information to vendors this week, Ely said.

OMB will provide guidance as input from vendors comes in, said Woytek. Ely said GSA hopes to put the configuration information up onto a "hallway" on its common acquisition platform as "Government Wide Strategic Solutions for Desktops and Laptops" to help raise awareness of the effort among federal employees.

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