Litton/PRC nabs outsourcing deal

The first phase of the General Services Administration's Seat Management desktop outsourcing implementation should be finished by summer, serving as a model for other federal agencies looking at the contract, agency officials said.

GSA is the first agency to use the Federal Technology Service's $9 billion Seat Management contract.

The 10-year contract, awarded last month to Litton/PRC Inc. and worth about $114 million, is to start off with 2,500 desktops at GSA headquarters and the Federal Technology Service offices in Fairfax and Falls Church, Va., and Lexington, Mass.

The contract, which includes maintaining the desktops and local-area networks at each of the sites, represents the first part of GSA's desktop outsourcing plan. It is expected to expand over the next year to more than $600 million for the agency's 14,000 employees worldwide.

The new FTS headquarters at Willow Woods in Fairfax is the first priority because FTS is moving May 1, said Diane Herdt, director of the corporate information network at GSA. But because of the lack of legacy infrastructure, that office will be different from the other sites and will be a showcase for the GSA of the future.

"We want that to be a technology center; we want that to be an office of the future," she said. This vision might include having cellular phones at each desk instead of a traditional telephone system and docking stations for each employee to have a laptop for work at their office and home, she said. "We're also looking at the possibility of a wireless LAN," Herdt said.

The office hopes to have Phase 1 completed by June or July, Herdt said. Once those offices are transitioned, the agency will start work on the rest, she said.

At the rest of the GSA locations, the first goal is to get rid of the chaos. "We currently have 17 LANs, we have 10 help desks and about 80 technicians," Herdt said. "We think that we could easily cut those numbers in half and have a GSA-wide LAN."

Currently the contract does not include LAN or wide-area network backbones, but those could be included later as an option, said Howard Grizzle, a computer specialist in FTS' Federal Systems Integration and Management (Fedsim) Systems Acquisition Services group, who headed up the technical evaluation for the task order.

The first task for Litton/PRC will be to perform due diligence at each of the sites to determine all the needs, including hardware, software, security and Year 2000 status.

Those needs assessments will become the basis of the program management plans, which will "set the foundation for all future work in GSA," Grizzle said.

"GSA's done its own inventory, but part of this process is to come up with what is at each of these sites," said Mac Oxford, Seat Management program manager at Litton/PRC. "It's a matter of confirming the accuracy of the inventory...and setting up the database so we can track this over the length of this program."

Litton/PRC and GSA will be working closely to develop the program management plan over the next 60 days, and it must be agreed on before the implementation goes any further, Herdt said.

"The most serious evaluation criteria was that we wanted someone who was willing to partner with us. We put a lot of emphasis on that," she said. Even past the program planning phase, Litton/PRC will be a member of the GSA architecture planning committee.

The implementation team also will be meeting occasionally with agency employees to keep them up to date on the transition, according to GSA chief information officer Shareen Remez.

"One of the things management needs to take into account is preparing the employees," said John Okay, senior vice president at consulting group Federal Sources Inc., McLean, Va. "There's got to be a free flow of information so everyone knows what to expect and when."

The success of the GSA program will likely determine the success of the Seat Management contract.

"I do believe that GSA's award will spur more interest by other agencies because they now have a civilian agency case, not just NASA," Okay said.

While NASA awarded and implemented its Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA (ODIN) first, GSA's desktops are more like the rest of the government's than NASA's, he said.

The Seat Management program office is already working with several other agencies, including the Treasury Department, that are watching the GSA task order carefully, said Charles Self, assistant commissioner of GSA's Office of Information Technology Integration, which holds the contract.

Treasury has been working with Chris Wren, Seat Management technical director, on a task order, Self said. "I think its going to be very much like a snowball. Once we've put the first two in place, the rest will follow."

According to Litton/PRC president Len Pomata, this win will not exclude the company from future Seat Management task order competitions.

"Our focus is to be prepared and have the bandwidth to do more than one," he said. Working with its partners, the company has the capacity to fill the needs of several clients, he said. "We're sensing that there's going to be an open competition for everything."

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