Procurement shop eyes telecom

Gov.Works, the fee-for-service acquisitions provider based at the Interior Department, is looking for a contractor to help it determine whether offering telecommunications services makes business sense.

In a recent Commerce Business Daily notice, Gov.Works (govworks.gov), part of the procurement branch of Interior's Minerals Management Service, announced that it is seeking a firm with knowledge of the telecom market to assess how it might structure a new telecom business line.

"We're in the first stages of evaluating and determining if there is a business case to pursue," said Michael Del-Colle, chief of the procurement and support services division at Gov.Works. "We're evaluating the merits of and opportunities that might exist to offer local telecommunications support on a national basis."

Gov.Works, a federal franchise fund program authorized under the Government Management and Reform Act of 1994, helps other federal agencies acquire supplies and services. In most cases, agencies pay Gov.Works a fixed fee of 3 percent of a contract's value.

Much of Gov.Works' business lies in helping agencies acquire information technology.

The complexity of buying telecom may be too much of a headache for agency contracting officials — and that might make telecom purchasing a lucrative business line for Gov.Works, Del-Colle said.

"Buying telecom is not easy," he said. "It's specialized contracting where the dynamics of the marketplace are intricate."

The contractor Gov.Works selects will conduct a market survey, write an acquisition plan, create a performance-based statement of objectives and help structure a schedule of services that would be performed under a telecom contract, among other tasks.

While noting that agencies already have other organizations to turn to for buying telecom services, Del-Colle said that if Gov.Works decides to add telecom to its lineup, the competition will likely improve overall service.

"We clearly recognize if there is a market there and [we] can construct good business opportunity, we...will provide an alternative to existing opportunities out there," he said. "As far as I know, competition always improves the market for everybody."

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