Seat Management: What it is and how it works

Seat management refers to outsourcing desktop computers and their related

software, hardware, maintenance and help desk support.

The difficulty in hiring and retaining federal information technology workers

has pushed some agencies to shift dwindling IT personnel from providing

basic maintenance of desktop computers — a relatively routine task — to

other functions that may be more directly related to an agency's mission.

The General Services Administration's Seat Management contract offers

agencies a way to outsource PCs and laptops, operating systems, maintenance

and upgrades, and help desk support. Some agencies have used the Seat Management

contract to outsource entire networks and enterprise software systems.

Participating agencies define the level of service they want to support

their users and their missions. Contractors propose the level of technology

needed to meet the level of service requested. Service level agreements

are tightly defined and often include a desired response time for help desk

support and a percentage for network reliability.

Seat Management task orders, however, do not supplant the need for program

managers, whom agencies are still required to employ. Program managers are

usually in charge of adjusting to the changing needs of federal users and

working with the contractor to add services when new needs arise.

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