Treasury speeds IT buys

Treasury Department workers can order computer products online via a first-of-its-kind

electronic procurement World Wide Web site, according to the terms of a

blanket purchase agreement announced last week.

The site was designed and is maintained by SMAC Data Systems Inc. to

serve as a "one-stop shopping" service where authorized Treasury employees

can purchase desktop computers, notebook computers, servers, printers and

networking equipment from companies including Toshiba America Information

Systems Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Lexmark International Inc. and SMS Data

Products Inc.

"We became aware of this opportunity around Christmastime, got the BPA

in January, and the site was up and running [the week of April 10]," said

Ashok Mehan, chief executive officer and president of SMAC Data. "This [system]

is a major breakthrough in the often cumbersome federal procurement process."

Mehan said SMAC Data handled the project completely in-house but did

experience some bumps along the way. "We struggled with the format of the

schedules that came from the different vendors," he said. "The vendors use

different formats, and we had to put them all together in a way that would

be easy to use from the browser standpoint and seamless for the user. That

was a big challenge on the back end."

The new system also enables Treasury employees to track orders and purchases

throughout the procurement process. Employees can use bar codes from UPS

or Federal Express to see exactly where their product is at any given time,

Mehan said.

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