AMS, DynCorp size up $1 billion SPS contract

For American Management Systems Inc. and DynCorp being chosen as finalists for the Defense Department's Standard Procurement System contract holds a wealth of opportunity.

Not only is the buy potentially worth $1 billion if completely deployed but also vendors and some industry observers say it could expand the winner's reach in the federal market for administrative information systems. Requirements for SPS include interfaces to DOD financial and logistics management systems as well as electronic data interchange capabilities all of which are to be provided in one package.

DOD tapped AMS and DynCorp for SPS late last month. The two finalists will compete for the right to develop the system [FCW Aug. 26]. SPS calls for commercially available software and open-systems hardware tailored to DOD requirements.

"This is a very big deal in terms of DOD using [commercial technology] as a basis for large-scale administrative management issues " said Bill Purdy vice president and business unit manager with the AMS Industrial Consulting and Systems Group which supplies federal agencies with a popular financial management package. "They're also looking at human resources they're looking at financial."

For DynCorp winning the challenging contract would make the firm a player in the procurement automation market according to Mark Filteau president of the company's Information and Engineering Technology subsidiary. Describing the company as a "dark horse" in the competition he said developing a "federal generic product...is certainly in the back of our minds."

During the next six months each company will spend $3.3 million to demonstrate how its systems will meet DOD's needs. Vendors and others familiar with the procurement indicated that the systems would require extensive customization to meet contract requirements.

One vendor CACI Inc. dropped out of the fray because it decided SPS would be difficult to deploy as a generic departmentwide system. Walt Culver executive vice president and general manager for electronic commerce technologies with CACI noted that procurement offices would not have to adopt SPS until the software meets their needs.

Neither vendor would discuss the details of its software development strategy. However according to information provided by the companies and the Navy the AMS offering is based upon the Procurement Desktop software that the firm has sold to agencies and large companies. The DynCorp system meanwhile is based upon software the company has developed for the Naval Sea Systems Command.

Filteau said the main difference between the vendors is the extent to which they have to modify their products to meet DOD requirements noting that SPS Workbench as DynCorp is calling its SPS software is "based on a product that was developed specifically for the government and applied by DOD."

Mike Long the AMS capture manager for SPS said his company already has developed a Defense-specific version of Procurement Desktop that has been deployed at the Naval Air Warfare Center China Lake Calif. The Patent and Trademark Office and the Library of Congress also use versions of the package.

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