Dell wins software contract at DHS

The Homeland Se-curity Department has awarded Dell Computer Corp. a $90 million contract for Microsoft Corp. software, under which the department will consolidate existing licenses for Microsoft products.

The deal is for a five-year enterprise license and includes a one-year option that could bring the contract value to $110 million, DHS spokeswoman Rachael Sunbarger said.

The contract covers about 144,000 users, who will receive access to Microsoft server, operating system and application software, Microsoft spokesman Keith Hodson said.

Dell will manage all desktop and server software, including operating system, server and office automation software such as Microsoft Word, Hodson said. Dell will also manage all upgrades, updates and patches for the Microsoft systems but will not sell hardware to DHS under the contract.

Dell will carry out the asset management of the Microsoft software but will not receive additional funds for managing upgrades of the software.

'The agreement includes access to new Microsoft technology, such as InfoPath 2003 and rights management,' Hodson said.

Tailor made

InfoPath is a technology in Microsoft Office that will let users share, reuse and reshape information based on Extensible Markup Language schemas. The XML schemas are libraries of document tags that enterprises can tailor.

The rights management features of Windows Server 2003 let users control, limit or forbid the reuse of information that can be passed on to other users, Hodson said.

The department will receive a substantial cost reduction from its current software licenses by consolidating deals for Microsoft software, which range in scale from the Transportation Security Administration's 40,000 users to the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's license covering fewer than 1,000.

'The department is going to save money, and the government is going to save money because it is establishing a single enterprisewide agreement to cover 22 agencies,' Hodson said.

The department reached the agreement earlier this month, after inviting nine bidders, including GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va., and MarkSoft Management Resources Inc. of Canterbury, N.H., to submit proposals.

Part of the department's discount came about because of its willingness to provide the funds at the beginning of the contract. 'That is altogether different from a blanket purchase agreement,' a source said, because under BPAs the contractor only receives funds as the customer adds users to the license.

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