Treasury picks 7 for database, net BPAs

The Treasury Department last week selected seven vendors to supply networking or database products and services under the Treasury Distributed Processing Infrastructure (TDPI) one of the department's key vehicles for modernizing its technology infrastructure.

Treasury awarded the seven vendors one-year blanket purchase agreements contracts negotiated based on the vendors' General Services Administration schedule offerings. The value of the BPAs is unclear because Treasury is re-evaluating its modernization strategy.

The department awarded BPAs to four vendors to supply brand-name network products and support: the Presidio Corp. for Bay Networks Inc. World Wide Technology Inc. for Cabletron Systems Inc. BTG Inc. for Cisco Systems Inc. and Management Systems Designers Inc. (MSD) for 3Com Corp. The department selected three vendors for brand-name database management systems. They are Anteon Corp. for Oracle Corp. and Sybase Inc. and Informix Software Inc. for their own products.

Rounding Out the Field

These awards fill out the final lots planned under TDPI the follow-on to the recently expired $1.4 billion Treasury Multiuser Acquisition Contract. Earlier this year the department awarded BPAs to Sylvest Management Systems Corp. for Unix-based servers and Telos Corp. for Microsoft Corp. Windows NT-based servers.

The awards come at a time when much of the department's technology strategy is being reconsidered by Treasury officials particularly at the Internal Revenue Service.

Keith Holman the TDPI trail boss said the use of multiple BPAs which are easier to change than standard contracts makes sense given the current state of transition at the department. "We had a lot of flexibility to put in place the right solution [but one] that can be modified as the situation changes " Holman said.

Treasury is in the process of reorganizing its field forces which will lead to the creation of a number of new offices. As that happens TDPI will be the primary vehicle for networking and servers the department said. Existing offices also will use TDPI as they upgrade old equipment.

With activity spurred by the reorganization "I think this is probably going to be one of the more successful [agency] BPAs " said Janet Wicket business unit manager for products and services at MSD a systems and network integrator in Vienna Va.

However the upheaval at Treasury makes it difficult for the department or its contractors to assess how much business to expect.

Starting out the TDPI program office expected the IRS to be the largest customer as it was with TMAC. But the IRS recently decided to use a more mainframe-centric architecture while TDPI is structured for building more distributed processing environments.

Conversely the program office now expects more activity in other parts of Treasury Holman said. Based on discussions at a Treasury information technology conference last week in Washington D.C. "there seems to be a good amount of interest out there among people in using IRS [contracting] vehicles " Holman said.

Robert Guerra president of consulting firm Guerra and Associates said some potential customers might hesitate to take advantage of TDPI given its piecemeal approach to building solutions. Customers must buy servers from one vendor and networking from another and they will ask "How do I get my problems solved? Who do I yell at?" Guerra said. "BPAs for components solutions miss the mark."

However in evaluating proposals Treasury emphasized the importance of consulting services as well as the range of available products. For example BTG's BPA includes senior network engineers as part of a series of labor categories customers can access said Brian Nightingale vice president of civilian programs at BTG.

Sybase is not looking for "commodity-based" business but for activity "very heavy in consulting services " said Kevin Shelly director of sales for Sybase's public sector.


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