VA awards 'peach' of a contract

PCHS RFP

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The Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a $1.3 billion hardware and software follow-on contract April 3 to four prime contractors in a move to standardize equipment and drive down prices.

The Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software-2 (PCHS-2) contract, commonly called "peaches," has a one-year base period with four one-year options. Winning vendors include Compaq Computer Corp., Micron Government Computer Systems LLC, GTSI Corp. and PlanetGov Inc.

"This contract offers us competition on every offering and gives us the opportunity to buy at the absolute best price," said John Gauss, the chief information officer at VA.

Gauss said the contract would allow the VA to spread its contracting needs across multiple vendors, "who will be selling us standard configurations, which fit in nicely with enterprise architecture."

The first PCHS contract was awarded in 1997 to Compaq's federal unit and Micron Government Computer Systems, with a potential value of $741 million to each. So far, the VA has done more than $631 million worth of business through the contract.

While PCHS-2 looks like the older version of the procurement vehicle, Ray Bjorklund, a vice president at market research firm Federal Sources Inc., said it is important to see how the VA intends to use the contract.

"It's not so important that it's an old contract but what you do [with it] and how you build a new enterprise architecture contract," Bjorklund said.

The contract will include information technology solutions, networks, security, health care automation, software, e-business, online documentation and other systems such as wireless technology and imaging.

The VA said that as the agency's enterprise architecture evolves, "changes may be necessary in the products offered to ensure compliance with enterprise architecture-approved initiatives."

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