Unisys offers feds on-line ordering

Unisys Federal Systems Division has formed a new venture called Select IT that will let government users order off-the-shelf computer products on-line and have them delivered within one to two days.

The new service announced last week gives users access to more than 35 000 products sold by six major distributors: Ingram Micro Merisel TechData Insight MicroAge and Intelligent Electronics. Unisys integrated access to these distributors' databases and it provides a single view into their inventory.

Select IT which is a wholly owned business unit of Unisys addresses the government's need for faster and more efficient ways to buy technology according to James McGuirk president of Unisys Federal Systems Division.

"The motivation is the change in what the federal government is doing in trying to embrace the speed and selection of the commercial marketplace when it comes to buying technology " McGuirk said. "Unisys looks at it as one more pipe to [deliver] business. We're trying to provide all the technology and services and support the government needs to modernize itself."

Select IT will likely compete with blanket purchase agreements indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts and the General Services Administration schedule McGuirk said. However there will be users who want to buy on the open market or take the "commercial consumer approach " which is what Select IT offers he said.

"Users won't have to put orders together and go through the contracting office " McGuirk said. "They can pick up the phone or go on the [World Wide Web] and have an order delivered within 24 hours." The company also will mail out a product catalog four times a year.

Select IT offers pricing availability ordering and order tracking information for products including notebooks desktops and multimedia packages. Orders can be placed via the Web phone electronic data interchange fax or mail and most will be delivered via Federal Express within 24 hours according to the company. Users can pay using a government credit card invoiced purchase order or electronic fund transfers. Select IT will automatically select the best price and availability among the distributors represented for each order.

Mark Amtower president of Amtower and Co. said Select IT should be effective selling products under the $2 500 threshold for simplified purchases. "And when the threshold rises - and it will - then this concept of electronic mall/catalog will really take off. Then it's a matter of developing mind share " he said. "It's a good solution for people who want to buy off-the-shelf products." Unisys has an advantage in being one of the first to offer and promote this to government users Amtower added.

Select IT is operating in "start-up mode" and will offer all its promised features within the next two months. The service's Web site is www.SelectIT.com.

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