GSA will plant IT evergreens

Many agencies likely will continue to cultivate their favorite information technology
sources through greater use of blanket purchasing agreements and more sophisticated online
procurement systems, several top federal procurement officials predicted.

"The future is evergreen contracting," said Linda Hauenstein, business
adviser for the Office of Acquisition in GSA's Federal Supply Service.

"It's contracts without any expiration date. We want to establish long-term
relationships with our suppliers, and we're talking to our legal people about it
now," she said.

Speaking at Input's recent IT conference in Fairfax, Va., Hauenstein discussed the
future of federal electronic commerce initiatives with Capt. David Capizzi, contracting
director for the Naval Information Systems Management Center, and James Williams, deputy
assistant commissioner of IRS for procurement.

FSS officials already have lengthened IT schedule contracts from one to three years,
with a three-year option.

Starting in October, FSS also will consolidate all of the MAS offerings into a single
program by issuing individual master contracts covering a vendor's entire line of
equipment and services.

Hauenstein said evergreen contracting has been on FSS' procurement innovation agenda
for some time and that agencies are ready for a new choice on GSA's "IT solutions

"We're also expanding our electronic shopping mall to include other agency
contracts," Hauenstein said.

"We've not been able to indicate what other agencies have yet. But once all of the
MAS contracts are on GSA Advantage, we will pursue it," she said.

Capizzi said the Navy is using its own online acquisition system, ITEC Direct, to
streamline procurement operations and meet downsizing targets.

The Navy also is making greater use of BPAs and increasing its credit card limits to
maximize commodity buying options, he said.

"The advantage of BPAs is unbelievable. We can do a BPA for commodities in about
30 days and one for services in about 40 days," Capizzi said.

Williams, however, said IRS cannot rely solely on the MAS program or BPAs to finish its
Tax Systems Modernization initiative.

IRS officials have used schedule contracts to run several successful BPA tests, but the
agency is looking for a sole contractor to manage its modernization program with all of
its complex systems integration requirements.

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