Army reports big savings from enterprise buys

The Army is seeing big savings from recent efforts to consolidate hardware purchases and negotiate for more flexibility in software licenses.

The Army saved at least $20.5 million on desktop and notebook computers with its third consolidated hardware buy. In August and September, the Army Small Computer Program (ASCP) organized the purchase of 31,000 desktop PCs and 28,000 notebook PCs using standardized requirements and coordinated bidding to achieve better prices.

ASCP collected minimum standards from the U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command then invited qualified vendors to submit bids based on those requirements. Army customers used the ASCP Web site to compare products and place orders.

The Army’s Commodity Buy is a modified version of the system tested by the Air Force Information Technology Commodity Council, which sorts bids and selects a single vendor for each product category. The Army allows vendors to post their offers so customers can choose which products they want to order.

In addition, the Air Force conducts its buys on a quarterly basis while the Army has only two buys per year. ASCP is considering increasing that frequency, said Michelina LaForgia, ASCP’s project director.

The Army's 4th commodity buy, which is will take place around March or April, will be open to vendors on the new $5 billion Army Desktop and Mobile Computing-2 contract, LaForgia said. ADMC-2 replaced its predecessor, ADMC-1, on Oct. 1.

Large vendors under the contract are CDW Government, Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Integration Technologies Group, MPC Government, NCS Technologies, Telos, Transource Computers and Westwood Computer won small-business portions of the contract.

ASCP also negotiated a deal with Oracle that will make the company’s software licenses transferrable throughout the Army. By giving Oracle about $8.5 million, the Army purchased the right to transfer its 225,000-plus database licenses across the service on an unlimited basis.

ASCP anticipates avoiding at least $13.4 million in costs, which could rise to as much as $64 million depending on the number of licenses transferred. The new licensing will help alleviate the effects of the recent decisions by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission, LaForgia said.

“If the licenses weren’t de-restricted and everybody who moved in BRAC had to buy new ones, it would have cost a fortune,” LaForgia said. Final savings will depend on how many people end up moving, she added.

In November 2005, President Bush accepted the BRAC Commission’s recommendations, which included closing Fort Monmouth, N.J., where ASCP is based. The facility will be shut down by September 2011.

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