Intercepts

* Back to Oz. The Interceptor this week returns from two-plus weeks of R&R. The antennas do get comfortable after a couple of weeks, but no one wears them as well as the Interceptor. His official return with next week's column should dispel the popular rumor that the Interceptor had permanently pitched his tent in a wide swath of land with without any smoking restrictions.

* One digit can make a difference. International Data Products Corp. has given a whole new meaning to the term "customer service." A new brochure for IDP's National Institutes of Health Electronic Computer Store contract misprints the company's 800 phone number by one digit on multiple inside pages. Instead of getting the IDP sales staff, unsuspecting agency callers are connected with a hot and heavy pitch for a phone sex line, where callers are invited by the "sales staff" to forget, momentarily, their hunger for more computing power. Just goes to show how far some folks will go to stay competitive in this age of procurement reform. Our antennae are blushing.

* DEIS vs. ITOP? As some industry vendors see it, the Defense Enterprise Integration Services program stands to lose its shirt as other governmentwide support services contracts come on-line.

In the immediate future, DEIS (then DEIS II) faces competition from the Transportation Department's $1.3 billion Information Technology Omnibus Procurement (ITOP). According to one industry source, DOD customers are "lining up outside the door" to take advantage of the more user-friendly ITOP program. Not only does ITOP give customers more flexibility in structuring task orders, DOT asks for only a 1 percent surcharge, compared with 2 percent by DOD.

Nobody ever said capitalism was going to be pretty.

* Earning his keep. Dennis Groh, former director of the Defense Information Technology Procurement Organization (DITPRO), is back on familiar turf. Groh was Boeing Information Services' "capture manager" in its successful bid for the $2 billion Defense Information Systems Network Support Services-Global (DSSG) contract. At DITPRO, as chance would have it, Groh was largely responsible for guiding DOD's telecommunications strategy.

A spokesman for Boeing downplayed the connection. Groh, in fact, is responsible for all DOD accounts at Boeing, not just DISN. "He happened to have good knowledge of DOD telecommunications and what DSSG was all about, but that was far from his singular role," the spokesman said. Groh joined Boeing when he left DITPRO in 1993.

* Everything must go. Government Technology Services Inc. in the last six months unloaded more than 14,000 of the IBM Pentium PCs left in warehouses when Desktop IV ended. That backlog had forced GTSI to take a $9 million surcharge at the end of last year.

The story goes that IBM decided to put some feet on the street to help move the inventory. Working through a combination of government and commercial channels, IBM and GTSI found happy homes for each of those 14,000, now slightly outdated, Pcs.

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