Imminent license deal with IBM propels SmartBuy

Agencies soon will receive significant discounts on software from IBM Corp., the third-largest software provider to the government.

A deal that will provide federal IBM buyers with as much as a 27 percent discount off the lowest published price on the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Schedule is just one of the enterprise software license contracts the government is working on with its largest vendors.

In 2003, agencies spent $909 million on IBM hardware, software and consulting services.

GSA officials are negotiating similar governmentwide deals with its top two vendors'Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp.'and expect to get a total of five deals done this year.

Microsoft, Oracle and IBM represent the high-volume software vendors GSA has been seeking to give legs to the SmartBuy program, the enterprise software buying initiative the agency announced nearly three years ago but has had trouble selling to industry.

'When this is all said and done, this will take us a long way forward,' said Bob Suda, GSA's assistant commissioner for IT solutions in the Federal Technology Service. 'We expect IBM's deal to be finished by the end of [January], while the Microsoft and Oracle deals will take longer.'

GSA also will set up blanket purchasing agreements with antivirus software vendors and resellers on the IT Schedule this year. It will release a draft request for quotations this month and then a final RFQ by early spring, officials said.

In the case of IBM, Suda said GSA is piggybacking on enterprise software licenses IBM negotiated with the Defense Department in 2003.

Under those agreements, IBM said it would discount its Rational software by 2 percent to 27 percent off the GSA schedule pricing and mark down its Informix software by 1 percent to 14 percent. The SmartBuy deal also may include DB2, Tivoli and other IBM software.

The Army's Enterprise Software Initiative program office will manage the contract.

'The IBM deal will show that interest in getting a SmartBuy agreement in place is growing,' Suda said. 'This is a huge win for industry, government and taxpayers.'

Suda said GSA also is trying to extend DOD's enterprise deal with Microsoft to other agencies. DOD has said it is saving about 52 percent off GSA schedule prices for software from the company.

Defense also has a similar deal in place with Oracle, under which it saves 2 percent to 84 percent off schedule pricing.

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