Evans to lead SmartBuy advance

The new head of e-government and information technology at the Office of Management and Budget says she will lead an effort to get SmartBuy moving again.

OMB and the General Services Administration earlier this year launched their ambitious SmartBuy plan to create governmentwide enterprise licenses for certain software products. At the time, officials promised that the first licenses would be in place by Sept. 30, but that date passed with no contracts being signed. GSA officials privately admit that structuring contracts turned out to be more complicated than they expected.

Karen Evans, appointed last month as administrator of OMB's Office of E-Government and IT, said she will put together an action plan to jump-start SmartBuy and brief the President's Management Council on it in a matter of weeks.

"I am on the hook to get that done by next month," she said in a speech this week to the Industry Advisory Council's Executive Leadership Conference in Hershey, Pa.,

The agencies' lack of progress recently caught the attention of Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the Government Reform Committee's Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommitee. Putnam recently wrote to GSA Administrator Stephen Perry asking why the program has apparently stalled.

Consultant John Ortego, who has followed the issue closely, suggested that GSA and OMB were not adequately prepared for the program, which is modeled on a successful Defense Department initiative.

"Whereas SmartBuy seems to be one of the brighter things to come along, the mechanisms to support it were not in place," he said.

Ortego speculated that the Federal Supply Service, an arm of GSA, may view the program as competition for its federal schedules system for procurement.

Sara Michael contributed to this report.

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