GSA to merge IT skeds into one-stop shop
The General Services Administration announced last week that it will merge its five automated data processing schedules contracts into one large single schedule called the Federal Supply Service Information Technology Schedule.
The new category of schedule contracts will encompass products and services offered on GSA's Group 70 A B/C D and E contracts and its Group 58 contracts. Users will be able to purchase mainframes PCs software IT services leased equipment used equipment electronic commerce and telecommunications - now spread across the separate schedules - through the single contract.
William Gormley assistant commissioner in the FSS Office of Acquisition said the merge into a single schedule will ease the workloads of federal users of the contracts vendors and his GSA staff personnel."From a customer's standpoint this will give them one schedule to go to instead of shopping through five of them to find what they need " Gormley said. "Vendors will have one contract and that will save them administrative costs. And we are hopeful that this will lighten our workload and speed up the contract modification process."
According to a notice in the Commerce Business Daily last week GSA will not renew Group 70 A D and E contracts expiring Sept. 30. The 70 B/C Schedule which will be renamed the FSS IT Schedule will be modified to accommodate products and services from the other ADP schedules according to the notice.Industry analyst Walter O'Neill vice president at the marketing consultant firm Federal Sources Inc. McLean Va. agreed the consolidation makes sense. "There may be a little complexity as they try to fit everything together " he said. "But it doesn't make sense to have them spread out over different technologies."
O'Neill said the only problem he could foresee was the workload crunch that GSA would be forced to handle when the 70 A D and E contracts expire at the same time. He said GSA should have announced the merge earlier to give its employees more time for the transition.
"They are going to have a busy time " he said. "Whether they can get the new schedules in place quickly for all of those that expire is questionable in my mind."
Gormley said he held up the announcement because he was waiting for officials at GSA to issue the final-rule policy regarding schedule pricing information submissions award criteria and contract performance. The controversial rule has been repeatedly delayed and Gormley said he "got tired of waiting."
Consequently FSS will amend the IT Schedule solicitation to reflect any changes required by the final rule when it is issued. The changes will apply only to offers received after the effective date of the final rule he said.
Olga Grkavac vice president of systems integration at the Information Technology Association of America said she recognized the benefits of a single IT schedule but reserved judgment on the issue until she can discuss with FSS officials how the process will go forward.
"There are differences in the terms and conditions within each of the [ADP] schedules " Grkavac said. "We have questions about how they will coordinate those differences. It will be fairly complex."