EDS wins $300 million outsourcing pact

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives awarded its next seat management network outsourcing contract to EDS Corp. in a deal that moves well beyond the current agreement with Unisys Corp., according to the agency's chief information officer.

The $300 million, five-year managed services agreement announced today is the agency's third seat management contract, and it will initially support approximately 8,500 seats in almost 260 locations nationwide. A seat includes the management of hardware, software and services for every employee.

Today's pact "goes well beyond the original seat management contract," said Marguerite Moccia, deputy assistant director for science and technology and CIO at ATF. "It's moving into a managed services contract....We didn't want to leave our old partners behind, but at the same time we were looking for a broader solution, a performance-based solution."

The exact decisions about what those broader solutions will include will be made over the coming months in strategy and planning sessions with EDS, Moccia said.

ATF was one of the first agencies in the federal government to use seat management. The largest such contract is the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, which is also led by EDS and already has more than 97,000 seats transitioned to the new service. That contract has been hit by many delays.

The agency awarded this contract under the Defense Information Systems Agency's Encore governmentwide acquisition contract. In addition to the five-year base period, the ATF contract has a single two-year option.

Unisys Corp. held the agency's previous seat management contracts. Those were blanket purchase agreements using the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service schedule contracts.

The full transition to the EDS managed services will be complete by April 1, since the current Unisys contract expires at the end of March, Moccia said.

"I am excited about the partnership," she said. "EDS had a lot of vision."

The agency is relying on that vision, said Bob Welch, a partner at Acquisition Solutions Inc., a consulting company that helped ATF put together the contract.

Agency officials chose to use the "7 Steps of Performance-based Contracting" guide that the Commerce Department and the White House's Office of Federal Procurement Policy issued the other year, and "by doing that, that freed industry to propose solutions to their problems" instead of holding vendors to a specific set of requirements, Welch said.

In turn, the agency could complete the acquisition in less than four months. EDS could draw from its experience as one of the unsuccessful bidders on the similar Transportation Security Administration managed services contract, Welch said.

"It looks like EDS learned their lesson," he said.

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