FedCenter Web site delivers vendor info

A commercial World Wide Web site is positioning itself as a one-stop resource for federal users seeking information on computer and network products and services.

FedCenter, which is located on the Internet at http://www.fedcenter.com, culls information from vendors and presents that information to fit the needs of federal users. The site lists training courses and events geared to federal users, offers links to federal vendors and will provide product and pricing information for federal contracts.

The site also provides interactive services. For example, FedCenter will set up meetings between a vendor and a federal user on request.

"I don't hear [federal] users saying, `I really want to buy something on the Web.' I hear them saying, `Make order out of chaos,' " said David Beers, president of FedCenter. "They want to use the Internet for research and finding information. They want technical white papers. They want training. They want a redacted version of what's already on the corporate Web sites."

Ninety days old, FedCenter offers a series of information categories, including Events and Training, Companies and Products, and Contract Resources.

"Going over the World Wide Web is a lot of work, especially if you compare different products," said Lloyd Mosemann, the former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force and a pro bono consultant for FedCenter. "What FedCenter tries to do is put things all in one place. There are executives, managers, users and buyers out there. They don't have time to go surfing the Web. To the extent that you can put things in one place, it makes things a little easier."

FedCenter plans to launch a Contract Resource Center that will contain information about the General Services Administration schedule and indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts. That service will be introduced by the end of the first quarter of fiscal 1996, according to FedCenter.

Beers said he plans to develop a common format for displaying IDIQ and GSA schedule contract information so that users can compare products and prices side by side.

Although FedCenter connects visitors to many vendors' home pages, it gathers revenue by including specialized vendor information on its site. "The difference is that it's not a mere hypertext link," Beers said. "It's a tailored presence. The message becomes much more focused."

FedCenter already has agreements with 80 companies, including Sybase Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Informix Software Inc., Lotus Development Corp., 3Com Corp. and Symantec Corp.

An advisory council made up of federal government personnel helps guide the development of FedCenter, Beers added.

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