Justice joins fray with ITSS award

The Justice Department last week pitched its hat into the rapidly expanding market for governmentwide contracts selecting eight vendors to provide a wide range of support services to the department and other agencies under its five-year Information Technology Support Services (ITSS) 2001 contract.

Winners of the indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity task-order contract which is worth at least $152 million include BDM Engineering Services Co. CACI International Inc. DynCorp Information & Engineering Technology Inc. Keane Federal Systems Inc. Logicon Syscon Inc. Management Technology Systems Engineering Corp. Antion Corp. (formerly Ogden Professional Services Corp.) and Vitro Corp.

DynCorp Keane Antion and Orkand Corp. held the previous ITSS contract which was awarded in 1990. It was unclear whether Orkand bid on ITSS 2001. At least 13 companies bid according to Federal Sources Inc. McLean Va.

"ITSS will offer just about every service any agency needs " said Miles Matthews ITSS program manager. Those services include system and security designs help desk requirement analyses programming network management business process re-engineering conversion upgrading electronic commerce and electronic data interchange. Outsourcing and services to help agencies acquire Year 2000 services also are available.

But ITSS one of the first governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) delegated by the General Services Administration when it was first awarded six years ago now finds the GWAC field crowded. In pursuing billions of information technology dollars ITSS will go head-to-head with the Defense Department's Defense Enterprise Integration Services contract the Transportation Department's Information Technology Omnibus Procurement and the National Institutes of Health's Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP) program. And last month NIH awarded ImageWorld an estimated $100 million governmentwide imaging contract to 20 vendors.

Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources said the increase in governmentwide contracts will give program managers the opportunity to "shop around and get the price and the contractor they want."

But Dornan added that it is unlikely all the contracts will sell the amount of equipment and services that the sponsoring agencies have promised.

The trend among government agencies to make multiple awards drew a mixed review from vendors.Paul Lombardi chief operating officer for DynCorp said the company is "delighted" that DOJ chose them again for ITSS but added: "Eight vendors is quite a gaggle. We're trying to anticipate what all this [growth in governmentwide contracts] means. With decreasing budgets and more people winning there will clearly be less for everybody."

Governmentwide contracting fads do not concern DOJ officials however.

"I think there's a lot of business that ordinarily moved through the procurement process as slow and cumbersome as it was that isn't recognized " Matthews said. "I can't say for sure if there is enough business out there to satisfy all these governmentwide contracts but there certainly could be."

CACI executives who are involved as subcontractors on CIO-SP and ImageWorld prefer IDIQ task-order contracts. "We don't think this is more risky " said Mike Lee senior vice president of business development at CACI. "In fact it gives us more of an opportunity to understand client needs on a task-by-task basis. Now you can really get at solving a client's solutions and not be encumbered by an existing contract."

Noreen Centracchio vice president of business development for Antion conceded that the increase in governmentwide contracts is "a fear for everybody. But Antion has been doing task-order contracts since it was formed in 1976 so we're accustomed to this. Still only time will tell."

The competition between governmentwide contracts already is heating up. DOJ planned to charge department bureaus and offices a 5 percent fee to use ITSS outside agencies would have payed 8 percent. But DOJ is planning to decrease the fee so that it will be competitive with what other governmentwide contracts charge Matthews said.

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