NASA to outsource all desktops

NASA officials have begun planning for a massive agencywide desktop procurement that would eventually encompass all of the agency's 50,000 PCs. Although NASA chief information officer Ron West said it is too early in the planning process of the desktop initiative to place a value on the contract, he characterized it as a "very large" procurement.

One Johnson Space Center (JSC) information services procurement valued at $300 million already has been canceled because those services will be included under the new initiative. The desktop contract, which will be managed at Goddard Space Flight Center, will outsource all hardware and support for the desktop, including all administrative workstations and some scientific and engineering workstations. West said the entire scope of the contract has not been finalized but that it will also include operations, maintenance and support, help desk services and some LAN services.

"We're looking at all PCs that support NASA employees as well as NASA contractors that are located on-site," West said. "We're looking at a complete outsourcing package where the contractor would own and operate the hardware."

NASA officials plan to brief industry on the procurement soon, he said. The contract award is scheduled for the first quarter of 1998.

West said the structure of the procurement is still being discussed. Now officials are evaluating the use of a single source-evaluation board, with multiple contracts.

The $300 million JSC contract is one of many contracts whose products and services will be rolled into the new initiative as the older contracts expire. As a result, West said, the value of the contract will increase.

The Johnson contract called for outsourcing all its information technology maintenance, operations and support.

The current contractor is Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Technical Services Division; the contract will expire Dec. 31, 1997.

Another contract likely to be rolled into the initiative, according to one source, is the $28 million Langley Desktop Resources contract, which was put on hold in mid-1996. This procurement calls for hardware, software and support services.

The planners envision that the desktop procurement process will evolve like the recently awarded NASA Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement II.

Documents related to the initiative will be published via the World Wide Web, and NASA officials plan to work closely with industry to mold the outsourcing project.

Likely candidates to bid for the initiative may include Boeing Information Services Inc., Computer Sciences Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Government Technology Services Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp., among others.

Alan Lawrence, manager of strategic programs at Hewlett-Packard Co., said his company is very interested in the outsourcing project and plans to attend any future industry meetings.

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