GTSI offering seat management services

Government Technology Services Inc. last week announced the addition of seat management services on its General Services Administration schedule and through the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store (ECS) II contract.

The new offerings are intended to fill the gap left by departing workers, especially in the areas of project and asset management, information technology planning and a range of support services for local-area networks, hardware and help desks, according to GTSI.

Agencies with limited IT resources that face personnel cuts are the type of organizations that have shown interest in the services, said Joel Lipkin, vice president for business development at GTSI. These agencies tend to keep people who perform mission-critical functions, and they cut technicians and technical support employees whose duties can be outsourced.

Lipkin described GTSI's approach as both a la carte and modular, giving customers a chance to start small and add new pieces as needed.

"Virtually all the bits and pieces have been available for some time on schedule. What we have today is something that's very clear and concise and brings together the bits and pieces," he said. "A critical piece is that with our solution, they buy only what they need."

GTSI already is looking at a couple of opportunities in which hardware is not part of the initial need, but it might be added as 2000 approaches and agencies decide to replace older desktop computers, he said.

GTSI's own employees will provide the services, sometimes collaborating with other service vendors, including BTG Inc., SRA International Inc., Computer Sciences Corp., Business Impact Systems and Unisys Corp. GTSI pledges to begin delivering services within 30 days of a request.

"What GTSI has to offer is the people to do the help desk, LAN management and break/fix maintenance, but we can also deliver with the hardware and software they need," Lipkin said.

Lipkin said virtually every program will have a project management element that GTSI will handle itself. It will use subcontractors to fulfill other components whenever needed. Given that seat management is still experimental, this seems to be the most efficient way to structure the service offerings, Lipkin said.

Offering seat management services on both ECS II and GSA is a smart move for GTSI, said Mark Amtower, president of Amtower and Co., a consulting firm based in Ashton, Md.

Companies that have gone into seat management tend to be the more experienced government players such as GTSI, Amtower said. The a la carte approach brings in a broad range of companies and allows agencies to select the companies they are most comfortable with, he said.

Offering services as a package on GSA is something that is relatively new, but there are many other companies that have services and leasing on their GSA schedules, said Bob Dornan, senior vice president of Federal Sources Inc. Putting services on ECS II might just be an effort to increase exposure, he said.

GTSI did not bid on either the NASA or GSA seat management programs.

Lipkin said the companies chasing those two contracts are going after huge seat management projects running into tens of thousands of seats. By contrast, GTSI is seeking small projects that could be measured in terms of hundreds of seats.

An industry source said GTSI declined to bid on the large seat management programs to avoid the cost of bidding and that the savings make it possible for the company to offer lower prices. Additionally, GTSI stands to benefit by being the first to market with these services, the source said.

If GTSI finds a solid vehicle elsewhere for seat management, it might not need either contract, Dornan said.

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