GSA plans multiple awards for $835 million program

The General Services Administration's Pacific Rim regional office plans to issue a request for proposals in February for about $835 million worth of information technology support services for agencies operating in three Southwestern states Hawaii and other countries and territories in the Pacific.

The five-year multiple-award worldwide Information Technology Support (wITS) acquisition will replace three existing contracts awarded by the region under the auspices of GSA's Federal Information Systems Support Program (FISSP) according to a spokeswoman at the agency's San Francisco office.

The contracts cover facilities management support services scientific and engineering applications development and administrative and automated data proc-essing support services respectively. Although two of the three existing contracts will not expire until long after September 1998 when the wITS contracts are slated for award GSA officials said they will not exercise option years on those contracts. Instead they expect to get lower prices by using multiple vendors to meet agencies' requirements.

"By having multiple contracts the benefit to us is in better competition and better pricing " the spokeswoman said. "Each job or task order will be competed." The spokeswoman said the program office has invited other regions to "piggyback" on the procurement but she said they have not yet responded to the offer.

The procurement attracted interest from dozens of vendors many of which are small businesses operating in California and surrounding states. But some larger companies such as Andersen Consulting Computer Sciences Corp. GTE Worldwide Telecommunications Services and Lucent Technologies Inc. have expressed interest as well.

Consultant Todd Pantezzi vice president of business development and sales at Federal Consulting Services Inc. said he believes the multiple-award approach may discourage some companies from competing. He added that GSA and other agencies already have governmentwide contracts in place that offer many of the same support services that will be available through wITS. Under Scrutiny "I don't know of too many big companies [in the Washington D.C. area that] are really looking at this " Pantezzi said. "They are asking themselves whether they need this when we already have all of these other vehicles. They don't want to spend a lot of money [bidding on wITS] and then only end up with a hunting license."

The approach also may discourage some small businesses from bidding. Sharon Stapleton the marketing manager at Quality Consulting Services Inc. said officials at her company considered bidding but decided they did not have sufficient marketing resources.

But Elaine Dauphin vice president of the information processing center at CSC's System Sciences Division said her company will bid on wITS despite the internal competition CSC will face with other contract winners. "The great thing about GSA is that it is an extension of [a vendor's] marketing force " she said. "They have customers who are very confident in GSA's ability to help them manage their work. And the advantage is that GSA also has a stake in the success of the contract."

The region took in $97 million worth of business last fiscal year on the three contracts that wITS will replace. Anteon Corp. holds two of the contracts for scientific and engineering support and for administrative and ADP support. Those contracts were expected to expire in November 1999 and April 2000 respectively. Applied Technology Associates won the facilities management contract which will expire in December 1998. Noreen Centracchio vice president of corporate development at Anteon refused to comment on the wITS program.


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