N.Y. Takes New Tack on PC Procurement
- By John Monroe
- Feb 06, 2000
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 technologies.
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
That 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
New York awarded contracts to 11 PC manufacturers in November, with more
awards possible. The Office of 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.
At a minimum, the state requires each vendor to provide an "online price
configurator" within one year from the start of the contract.
This tool must enable users to view the options available for each PC
and to fully configure a system using the products available under the contract — including chip speed, hard drive, monitor, speaker, mouse, keyboard and
other options — and to price it.
Although many vendors already have developed such a tool for their commercial
customers, New York is looking for a configurator that includes only those
products, options and pricing specific to this contract.
As a safeguard, the PC contracts include a clause that prohibits contractors
from providing a third party with any data collected on New York employees
visiting their sites. Any such data only can be used internally for marketing