New York Takes New Tack on PC Procurement

As part of a new statewide PC procurement, New York has decided to get out of the business of trying to maintain listings for constantly changing PC prices and technology.

Until now, state agencies buying PCs went to a World Wide Web site managed by the Office of General Services to get details about what products are available on a contract and at what price.

But with its new set of PC contracts, the office has decided to provide only central contract information on its Web site, directing customers to its contractors' sites to find detailed information on PC configuration and pricing.

This arrangement takes the burden of managing that information off New York procurement officials. It also enables New York customers to take advantage of online configuration services offered by the vendors.

In past procurements, maintaining price and configuration information for multiple vendors proved to be a lengthy process, said New York purchasing officer Barbara Henderson. "With the fast pace of technology, we couldn't keep up."

New York awarded contracts to 11 PC manufacturers in November, with more awards possible. The General Services Web site (www.ogs.state.ny.us/purchase) lists basic contract information, but customers must follow a hyperlink to each contractor's "New York State" page to find pricing information.

All contractors' New York pages have common features, including links for help, contacts and address information, pricing, product information and e-mail correspondence.

But customers also will be able to take advantage of unique online shopping tools offered by many vendors. Several sites, for example, offer configuration programs that automatically calculate the cost of PCs as users try out different configurations.

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