IBM offers leasing through GSA

The General Services Administration late last month awarded a leasing contract to IBM Corp. that will allow federal users to lease the company's equipment through schedule contracts held by IBM or any of its resellers.

Chris Stergiou manager of GSA marketing at IBM Global Government Industry said the company has been negotiating the leasing deal for weeks with GSA's Federal Supply Service at the behest of federal customers eager to use the option. He said IBM has not yet inked any deals with agencies but he added that the company was eyeing "a number of prospective customers."

Under the contract federal employees can compare the prices of any IBM hardware product choose the most attractive deal and simply inform the reseller that they would like to exercise the lease option offered by IBM. "Anything any of our business partners sign up to provide is covered by the lease option " Stergiou said.

IBM's federal resellers include Comark Federal Systems CompUSA GE Capital Information Technology Solutions Government Technology Services Inc. McBride & Associates Inc. MicroAge Federal Pulsar Data Systems Inc. and Sysorex Information Systems Inc.

Bill Gormley assistant commissioner for acquisition at FSS said the IBM contract is the 16th information technology leasing contract awarded under the multiple-award schedule program. Although few agencies have tried leasing so far Gormley said he expects leasing to become more prevalent in fiscal 1998.

Stergiou said he believes leasing will offer agencies the opportunity to stretch their scarce IT dollars while giving them greater flexibility in setting up their computing infrastructures. "I see it as a way to manage the technology " he said. "Let's say an agency that is leasing hardware wants to retire its assets. Then they can lease something else very easily. It's flexibility it gives customers options."

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