Resellers gird for battle on Treasury's TDA pacts

Government Technology Services Inc. and BTG Inc. are preparing to battle for desktops at the Treasury Department through competing Treasury Department Acquisition (TDA) contracts.

GTSI and BTG are two of three vendors that hold indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contracts with Treasury for office automation equipment and software. GTSI has been modifying its TDA product catalog since winning its contract in January and has yet to make any sales. The company however plans to offer a line of Pentium desktops with processing power of up to 166 MHz. Meanwhile BTG which received its TDA contract last summer has dominated Treasury purchases. Like GTSI BTG is also planning to upgrade its desktop line.

Since September Treasury has spent slightly more than $14 million with BTG on microcomputers notebooks file servers software and peripherals compared with about $900 000 on similar products from Win Laboratories Inc. the third TDA vendor. At the time these contracts were awarded Treasury projected it could spend more than $250 million on all three contracts.

Jerry Bellandi the contracting officer's technical representative with the Internal Revenue Service said the IRS has made about half of the purchases while the Customs Service and the Bureau of Public Debt have made most of the others.

It is unclear how uncertainty about the future of the IRS' Tax Systems Modernization program has affected TDA purchases. The IRS has always been the largest Treasury information technology buyer and Bellandi said IRS orders from the contracts slowed a few weeks ago when the agency temporarily froze funds for IT purchases.

Steve Baldwin vice president of business development with BTG said the IRS budget turmoil "has put some stuff on hold " but he added that he has been pleased with performance on the contract to date.

Patty Bortz the TDA program manager for GTSI said the delay has worked to GTSI's advantage because it has given the company more time to update its product list which eventually will include Pentium machines.Bortz said she could not specify which brands of Pentiums her company would sell until the contract modifications are approved but she noted that configurations ranging from 120 MHz to 166 MHz had been proposed at "aggressive prices."

Among the top sellers on the BTG contract Bellandi said are a line of Pentium 120 MHz workstations from Dell Computer Corp. that range from $2 021 to $2 534. These systems were added as part of an early modification of the contract. Bellandi said BTG will be making 133 MHz configurations available.Win Labs offers its own brand of Pentium 100 MHz systems for $1 619. Attempts to reach Win Labs executives for comment were unsuccessful.

Contract Competition

The presence of three TDA contractors does not necessarily portend a price war among the top federal resellers.

Industry analysts and vendors contend that agencies have so many choices - including General Services Administration multiple-award schedule contracts and governmentwide pacts - that there is plenty of price competition.

Meanwhile some argue agencies are looking for more than just low prices when they buy. "I would have to say [that] while [price is] of concern that is really a much smaller issue than support and delivery " said Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc.

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