NIH discusses $11B services pact

The National Institutes of Health gave dozens of vendors a sneak preview Monday of what it will take to snag a piece of the latest $11 billion information technology contract up for grabs.

At the top of the list is marketing skills to attract subcontractors to the 10-year contract that would provide IT services, not just at NIH but across government, according to NIH's Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC).

"The more you market, the more successful you'll be," said Elmer Sembly, the project's outreach manager.

At a briefing in Bethesda, Md., not far from the NIH campus, officials outlined its Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners (CIO-SP 2) contract requirements for private vendors and the deadlines looming ahead. NIH hopes to make the final contract award by August. Government officials declined to say how much of a vendor's budget should be dedicated to marketing efforts. But they said they have learned from the successes and failures of CIO-SP 1, the original contract that expires in August 2001.

"We hope to get qualified contractors who can meet the needs of today and be around for tomorrow," said Wanda Russell, a contracting officer in NIH's Office of Procurement.

Among the requirements for the massive 10-year project that encompasses information technology services across government are:

    * CIO support services.

    * Telephone support systems.

    * Software development.

    * Enhancing digital government.

    * Maintenance.

    * Security and disaster recovery.

    * Small business mentoring.

Additional information about the contract is available from NITAAC's Web site.

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