Commerce commits to outsourcing

The Commerce Department, preparing to launch a desktop outsourcing pilot

project this month, has decided to select a vendor from one of its own services

contracts, rather than use the existing governmentwide seat management programs.

In the pilot project, Commerce will turn over the management and support

of 200 desktop systems in the Office of the Secretary. After the pilot,

the agency will outsource 800 more seats in fiscal 2001.

The department plans to fulfill its seat management needs through the Commerce

Information Technology Solutions (Commits) program, which is a governmentwide

IT services contract specifically for small businesses.

Commerce decided not to use existing seat management contracts, including

those from the General Services Administration and NASA, because it wants

to support Commits. "Since I've been a creator and advocate of others using

Commits as a vehicle to meet their needs and to deliver high-quality services,

it behooves me to use it myself," said Alan Balutis, deputy chief information

officer at the Commerce Department.

Robert Guerra, president of the consulting firm Robert J. Guerra and

Associates, said any contract that provides services is a good candidate

for acquiring outsourcing desktop services.

"The issue isn't the contract vehicle," he said. "The issue is, Does

the vehicle allow you to acquire IT support services and maintain the support

infrastructure?"

Commits was originally scoped to include seat management services, said

Chip Mather, senior vice president of Acquisition Solutions Inc., Chantilly,

Va. In addition, agencies that use Commits get easy access to carefully

selected companies and get credit for using small businesses.

Commerce expects to release a statement of work within the next week

for the program.

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