First SmartBuy deal signed

The long-awaited first contract under an enterprise software licensing program has been signed. General Services Administration officials signed the contract with the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) of Redlands, Calif., a developer of geographic information and mapping software.

GSA officials have been working on SmartBuy since last June, and had originally expected to sign the first agreements several months ago. The concept is to sign governmentwide licenses with vendors of popular kinds of software so that agencies can take advantage of the government's volume buying power.

In the arrangement with ESRI, each agency that wants to use the GIS software must negotiate its own enterprise agreement with the vendor, for both immediate needs and needs for the following four years, said Kathy Beasley, GSA's contracting officer for ESRI. That gives the vendor a guaranteed volume over five years. The SmartBuy agreement adds an additonal discount over the GSA schedule price, but Besley declined to disclose how much. Three agencies already use the ESRI software under the SmartBuy agreement and three more are in the process of joining in, she said.

The ESRI agreement will provide a potential cost savings of $57 million over the five-year life of the contract, when compared to nonvolume purchases using the GSA Schedule, GSA officials said.

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