OMB supports agencies' use of smartly managed IDIQs

Speaking at the information technology acquisition stand-down day meeting hosted by the
General Services Administration, Weiss reviewed the progress agencies have made in testing
the procurement reforms mandated by the 1996 Information Technology Management Reform

OMB director Franklin D. Raines has urged agencies to exploit ITMRA's multiagency
procurement provisions by pouring their common commercial IT requirements into multiagency
acquisition plans. 

Raines, in a recent executive memo, directed the Chief Information Officers Council to
flag common contracting opportunities and promote cooperation among agency procurement
shops. Raines reiterated OMB's authority to designate an executive procurement agent for
such particular technologies or programs as GSA maintaining responsibility for the
post-FTS 2000 initiative. 

But Weiss warned against viewing these contracts as a silver bullet for all procurement
problems. Agencies still must forge strong strategic planning and management alliances
among their CIOs, acquisition chiefs and top program managers, he said. 

Weiss also said that OMB is not considering any formal cap on the number of multiagency
contracts. But he warned that the administration is watching for problems resulting from
too many agencies running too many similar procurements, especially in the high-end
workstation arena. 

"It's an emerging issue. People are getting very entrepreneurial, but it is possible
for things to become unwieldy," Weiss said. 

"NASA's Scientific and Engineering Workstation Procurement and the National
Institutes of Health computer store may be the testing ground. It's a balancing act, and
what we've learned is that you can't dictate micro results. We're trying to empower
managers to make their own decisions and hold them accountable." 

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