Smart Buying at SmartBuy
(I wrote this yesterday and thought I had posted it, but apparently made a mistake with the blog technology, and it wasn't posted yesterday -- am posting now.)
Headed for a meeting with GSA out in Fairfax, I ran into Tom Kireilis, head of the SmartBuy program, in the corridor. I am a big fan of SmartBuy, the GSA-led governmentwide strategic sourcing program that takes advantage of a GSA core competency of leveraging the government's buying power.
Tom was eager to tell me about what he's been up to; he's been working to negotiate a series of strategic sourcing contracts (contractually, they are BPAs off the GSA schedules). They are for technology that, among other things, allows the government to disable data stored on static drives from computers that have been stolen. This is a way to deal with the problems that have plagued the VA and USDA, but could plague any organization.
Tom has done what creative, inventive, mission-oriented procurement professionals should be doing -- locating opportunities for the government to get a good deal for important mission needs. He has taken a problem, data security, that is high on the mind of government IT professionals. Contractually, he has mixed GSA's use of BPAs, which negotiate discounts off Schedule prices for quantity buys and commitments, with GSA's newly won cooperative purchasing authority that allows state and local governments to buy off GSA IT schedules (an authority for which Tom Davis has persistently fought for years, against heavy special-interest opposition). Kereilis eagerly told me that he had brought together many federal agencies with 39 states to leverage the combined buying power to get great prices on this technology. He mentioned that one large federal agency was going to be buying this technology on its own, and will now be getting the technology it wanted at a considerably lower price, thanks to SmartBuy.
What impressed me the most was Tom's obvious excitement and enthusiasm about what he had accomplished. He's a longtime civil servant (actually, he's part of a procurement couple -- he told me that his wife Altheia, another outstanding career contracting professsional, had recently left GSA to become head of procurement for the Executive Office of the President). Yet he was not burned out, not counting the days to requirement. He was very much still in a "what can I accomplish" mode.
Posted by Steve Kelman on Jul 10, 2007 at 12:08 PM