IG: NASA's ODIN could be more cost-effective

NASA should develop procedures to enable managers to negotiate lower prices for certain products sold through agencywide contracts to match publicly available pricing, NASA’s Office of Inspector General concluded in a recent review.

Agencywide information technology contracts are designed to reduce costs. However, the IG said a NASA employee expressed concerns that consolidating IT purchases under the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA (ODIN) contract would result in higher prices and not comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, according to an IG report released Nov. 6.

The employee also noted that the workers and equipment assigned by ODIN were not sufficient to absorb the additional workload, the report states.

NASA auditors found that the contract reduced costs and increased efficiencies for general IT hardware, software and desktop PC services, such as configuring computers to federal and NASA security standards, the report states. However, the prices for some IT peripheral devices, such as hard drives and printers, and certain software were higher under the ODIN contract than those advertised by IT suppliers on the Internet, the report states.

“We found that NASA had not provided procedures for negotiating price modifications from ODIN or instructions to NASA employees on how to identify and take advantage of potentially lower costs when purchasing Category 3 [peripheral] IT equipment,” said Evelyn Klemstine, assistant IG for auditing at NASA.

The IG’s report recommends that the executive director of the NASA Shared Services Center, the assistant administrator for procurement and the chief information officer work together to develop instructions for employees. They should cover how to identify lower costs for peripheral devices that do not require installation and maintenance support.

NASA officials agreed with the IG’s recommendations and anticipated having the new procedures and instructions in place shortly, said Jonathan Pettus, NASA's CIO.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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