OAO lands $200M job at NASA

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) has selected OAO Corp. to negotiate the award of the five-year $200 million Desktop and Network Services (DNS) outsourcing contract to support 7 000 PCs.

Under the performance-based contract OAO will provide personnel computer hardware and software as well as equipment and support services to support JPL's Engineering Science Directorate Information Systems Development and Operations organization. The service areas include help desk systems administration computer hardware maintenance and replenishment. JPL will issue contract work orders for the services.

Initially the contractor will support about 4 000 PCs and 3 000 Macintosh machines but the contract could be expanded to include support for all of JPL's 11 000 desktop computers according to OAO officials. The contract will cover desktops notebooks and workgroup servers.

Greenbelt Md.-based OAO formed a team for the contract that includes Digital Equipment Corp. Hewlett-Packard Co. and User Technology Associates Inc. During the final selection process JPL officials had down-selected to two teams: the OAO-led team and another team led by Computer Sciences Corp. Other bidders for the DNS contract included I-NET Inc. (now Wang Government Services Inc.) and Telos Corp. which were teamed together and IBM Corp.

Ed Blanchard vice president of OAO's Desktop Networking Services Division said the contract is a true outsourcing effort with the contractor being paid on a cost-per-seat basis.

"For JPL it allows them to focus on what they do best: space missions " Blanchard said. "This is going to help them continue to achieve their space research in a faster cheaper-type paradigm." Blanchard also said this outsourcing contract structure is one of the first PC outsourcing contracts that his company has seen in the federal government. However it is an approach that NASA may soon be taking agencywide. In January NASA officials began planning for an outsourcing contract that would eventually encompass all of the agency's 50 000 PCs. Scheduled to be awarded in the first quarter of 1998 the five-year Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA has been estimated to be worth $750 million to $1 billion by NASA's chief information officer Ronald West.

Robert Sadler DNS negotiating officer said a business case study indicated "favorable results" for cost savings from the outsourcing effort. He declined to provide any more details.

"Our decision to outsource it was to concentrate on our own core competencies those which are not our core competencies we would outsource " Sadler said.

For client and server systems the contractor will provide automated asset management electronic software distribution and remote system management and diagnostics for Microsoft Corp. Windows Novell Inc. NetWare and major Unix platforms. For server systems the contractor also will provide performance and security management services. Network operations services will be used for the JPL network including the fiber-optic system backbone and Ethernet subnetworks.

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