Digital, Sysorex snag $1.5B VA pact

The Department of Veterans Affairs last week tapped Digital Equipment Corp. and Sysorex Information Systems Inc. to provide personal computers software and peripherals to VA hospitals and administrative offices nationwide under a $1.5 billion program.

The VA plans to use the Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software to purchase standard desktop equipment advanced and portable systems software and peripherals. Sysorex and Digital would not specify which brands or models of products they expect to be offering under PCHS (pronounced "peaches").

"PCHS will help VA meet its plans for all of its systems to be in a network environment within the next five years " said VA spokesman Ken McKinnon.

More networking is expected to mean greater efficiency and better exchange of local information for the agency's 250 000 employees who work at VA headquarters and at its hundreds of facilities across the country. PCHS is part of a strategy that will allow the agency to take advantage of new technology and business practices that stand to increase agency productivity and reduce costs according to the VA.

Under the contract Digital Maynard Mass. and Sysorex Fairfax Va. will compete for task orders during one base year and four option years. The estimated value for PCHS includes a $494 million slice for other civilian and Defense Department agencies.

Sources familiar with PCHS said unsuccessful bidders for the contract included Hughes Data Systems Government Technology Services Inc. BTG Inc. and Electronic Data Systems Corp.

Before PCHS the department purchased its PCs through the $298 million 10-year Nationwide Office Automation for the VA (NOAVA) contract which was awarded to Lockheed Integrated Solutions. Digital along with Acer Technologies Corp. and Everex Systems Inc. was a subcontractor on NOAVA.

PCHS represents a major win for Digital and Sysorex.

For Sysorex a small business the award marks the company's third major contract win in four months. In October the company won one of two contracts for the Army PC-2 program which has a potential value of $554 million over two years. And this month Sysorex was one of two winners on the Army Portable-2 procurement worth about $238 million over two years. Sysorex president Carleton S. Jones said PCHS will represent the first VA work for the 150-person company. He would not comment on how the company plans to pursue VA work as it becomes available under PCHS. According to industry sources the company bid PCs from Acer.

Digital won separate awards in March and May. The Air Force chose Digital Alpha workstations on Hughes Data Systems' bids for the $956 million Air Force Workstations and $924 million Desktop V contracts. Also Digital systems were part of winning bids by Cordant Inc. BTG and SRA International Inc. for the $929 million Integration for Command Control Communications Com-puters and Intelligence program and NASA chose Digital Alpha systems for its general-purpose workstation class on the Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement II.

"I'd have to put this in a monumental-win category for Digital. They needed it " said Bob Dornan senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc. a McLean Va.-based market research firm. Dornan said Digital had missed out on some big contract wins in recent years including the Navy's $672 million six-year Tactical Advanced Computer-4 project which was awarded to Hewlett-Packard Co. "They have not done as well as they would have liked " Dornan said.

But he said Digital seems to be coming on strong again as does Sysorex. "I see [Sysorex] coming back strong " said Dornan who believes the company may be coming out of recent contracting doldrums.

Geoffrey A. Stilley Digital's vice president for federal PC sales and marketing pegged the PCHS award as the largest federal win ever for Digital. He said the PCHS win means his company will be hiring "numerous additional support people" - technical workers and program administrators. But neither of the award winners is guaranteed more than $1 million in business from the VA. Digital has a plan for winning a good share of the business though and marketing is the key. "We'll go out and we'll apply the best marketing we can for the VA " Stilley said.

The two winning vendors will provide standard desktop systems for common office computing requirements and advanced computer systems for heavy computational image-based or multimedia applications. Software to be supplied under the contract will include graphical operating systems office automation suites Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and terminal emulator products. Peripherals will include printers and modems.

In April an award is expected on the sister contract to PCHS: Procurement of Automated Information Resource Solutions. PAIRS - a program for support services such as software development integration and networking solutions - has an estimated value of $875 million and will be a small-business set-aside.


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