Putnam asks GSA to clarify progress on SmartBuy

Putnam asks GSA to clarify progress on SmartBuy

Rep. Adam Putnam is questioning the General Services Administration about why it is taking so long to get the SmartBuy enterprisewide software license buying initiative under way.

The Florida Republican, chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census, asked GSA administrator Stephen Perry for a progress report and a list of possible impediments to the program.

In a letter to Perry, Putnam said, “It appears that there may be a dilemma requiring your intervention. The subcommittee is not aware of any meaningful progress being made to achieve SmartBuy’s cost savings goals for fiscal 2003, nor plans for additional near-term cost savings in early 2004.”

The Office of Management and Budget introduced SmartBuy in February in the fiscal 2004 budget request, and it named GSA as the federal executive agent this summer. SmartBuy’s purpose is to drive down the cost of enterprise licensing and improve the terms agencies receive from software vendors. OMB issued guidance to agencies in August asking them to freeze new or renewal software licenses unless approved by the SmartBuy team.

In view of interest expressed by industry and agencies, GSA officials had said they would finish a few agreements before Oct. 1, the beginning the new federal fiscal year.

Putnam said he was concerned that agencies would be forced to renew licenses under more expensive terms.

A GSA spokeswoman said the agency received the letter and will respond in a timely manner after Perry reviews it.

Larry Allen, executive director for the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington trade association, said the problems with SmartBuy are threefold. First, vendors are not sold on how it will benefit them. Second, the program lost steam when its champions—OMB director Mitchell E. Daniels and Mark Forman, administrator for e-government and IT—recently left for the private sector. Third, the issues surrounding the program are more complicated than originally thought.

“A number of our members said they don’t see what is in it for them,” Allen said. “Vendors see a centralized acquisition program as a good thing, but it does not address all parts of the acquisition process and may not decrease their overall cost of doing business. That is not a problem of GSA’s making; that is a fundamental issue with what SmartBuy is.”

About the Author

Connect with the GCN staff on Twitter @GCNtech.

Featured

  • Management
    people standing on keyboard (Who is Danny/Shutterstock.com)

    OPM-GSA merger plan detailed in legislative proposal

    The White House is proposing legislation for a dramatic overhaul of human resources inside government and wants $50 million to execute the plan.

  • Cloud
    cloud applications (chanpipat/Shutterstock.com)

    GSA plans civilian DEOS counterpart

    GSA is developing a cloud email and enterprise services contract inspired by the single-source vehicle the Department of Defense devised for back-office software.

  • Defense
    software (whiteMocca/Shutterstock.com)

    DOD looks to unify software spending for 2020

    Defense Department acquisition head, Ellen Lord, hopes to simplify software buying and improve business systems following the release of the Defense Innovation Board's final software acquisition study.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.