Hewlett-Packard ranks first in past-performance study

Hewlett-Packard Co. has emerged as the top-rated federal product supplier in terms of past performance, according to a recently released International Data Corp. report.

The report, undertaken by IDC's Government Market Services unit in Falls Church, Va., provides past-performance ratings for 26 hardware, software and networking vendors. The ratings are based on an IDC survey of 400 randomly selected integrator/reseller subscribers from FCW, a sponsor of the project. The survey participants were asked to rate vendors in terms of six past-performance criteria: quality, timeliness of performance, cost control, business practices, customer satisfaction and performance of key personnel.

IDC also surveyed 400 randomly selected federal government FCW subscribers regarding the past performance of federal integrators and resellers.

Past performance in recent years has become an increasingly important evaluation factor in federal procurements. Last May the Office of Federal Procurement Policy published a past-performance guide that recommended past performance should be given a weighting at least equal to any other non-cost-evaluation factor.

"I think it is a very, very useful report," said OFPP administrator Steven Kelman, who has been briefed on the study. Kelman said the report could serve as a tool on smaller procurements in which a labor-intensive past-performance evaluation is not required.

He said the report is not a "full substitute" for a more detailed evaluation—typical of larger procurements—which would examine vendor performance in terms of specific requirements. But Kelman added that even in large procurements, the report's findings are "something agencies should consider factoring into a past-performance judgment."

Steve LeCompte, vice president of IDC Government Market Research, said the report will be marketed to industry and government customers. Single copies are priced at $195 for government buyers.

In the supplier study, HP came out on top, with an overall past-performance rating of 4.37. The rating is based on a scale of 1 to 6, in which 1 is "unsatisfactory" and 6 is "excellent plus." The average rating for all 26 suppliers was 4.06. Other highly rated suppliers included Silicon Graphics Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. (see chart, page 34) .

"[Past performance] is just really beginning to gain momentum now," said Charlie Trentacosti, manager of federal government industry marketing at HP. "The study shows that past performance is something that can be...measured."

Sylvest Management Systems Corp., meanwhile, was the top-rated company in the integrator/reseller portion of the IDC survey. Sylvest had a score of 4.18, while the average score for the 25 companies in this group was 3.98. Computer Sciences Corp. had the second highest rating, with Federal Data Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp. and AmeriData Federal Systems rounding out the top five.

LeCompte said he expects to administer the past-performance survey annually. The next round of surveys may also include a federal user evaluation of product suppliers in addition to the integrator/reseller rating of suppliers, he said.

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