GSA schedule sales increase in 2006

The General Services Administration announced a 1.8 percent increase in information technology product sales compared with sales in 2005, according to GSA officials.

David Drabkin, GSA’s deputy chief acquisition officer, said the agency’s IT sales rose to $17.2 billion in 2006 from $16.9 billion in 2005. In addition, GSA’s multiple-award schedules sales overall increased 4 percent this year, according to the agency.

But the figures run counter to other analyses.

Input analyst Ashlea Higgs said the GSA schedules’ IT services sales declined 6.5 percent compared with last year’s figures, the second consecutive year they dropped.

Higgs said increasing competition in the market will not let GSA easily regain market share. Rising competition from department-specific multiple-award contracts -- one external factor contributing to the IT schedule’s descent -- will not ease in the near future.

“Overall, federal IT services spending continues to grow at an attractive pace, so the decline in schedule spending reflects a conspicuous move by buyers to other contract vehicles,” he said.

Vendors more often are increasing their business development investment in nonschedule task order vehicles and in teaming with their peers to stay ahead of agency buying preferences and contract consolidation, respectively, Higgs said.

Nonschedule contract vehicles have gained a larger share of IT spending annually. This group of contracts grows at a rate several times the growth experienced by the IT budget and the IT schedule, he said.

“Consecutive years of slowing sales provide additional confirmation that a vendor’s contract portfolio must include nonschedule acquisition options for buyers,” Higgs said. “Today’s market requires continuous review of your contract portfolio.”

GSA is not pinning its future on Higgs’ analysis.

“We don’t think it spells doom and gloom,” particularly with the increased 2006 October sales higher than 2005’s numbers, Drabkin said.

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