Seat management draws near

LANCASTER, Pa.--By October, the General Services Administration will
issue its final solicitation for agencies to buy a desktop's worth of computing services.

GSA's Seat Management project calls for vendors to supply a full suite of desktop
processing tools with agencies never having to install or take ownership of the PCs,
hardware, software and peripherals. GSA officials are prescribing a series of technology
classes and service bands for agencies to tailor buys based on user needs.

"This is a new approach for managing desktop services. We're buying it as a
service not a product," said Charles A. Self, director of GSA's Office of IT
Integration. "The key is asset management and addressing the total cost of ownership.
We'll be depending on industry to manage the asset while agencies will pay for the
services by the seat, by the month."

Speaking here at an International Institute of Business Technologies conference, Self
outlined the Seat Management procurement strategy.

Self said the desktop services project, modeled after GSA's governmentwide contracts
for virtual data centers and disaster recovery services, will be a 10-year multiple-award
indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity labor hour contract.

Officials in GSA's Federal Computer Acquisition Center (FEDCAC) issued a second draft
solicitation in late August. Self said five vendor teams appear to be forming; one
contractor slot will be left for small business.

The master contract will not contain any specific hardware or software requirements.
The vendors will compete for individual task orders based on their ability to manage
assets and labor hours.

But agencies will specify hardware requirements in the task orders and negotiate
subsequent upgrade schedules.

"It will be a very dynamic contract. It will be like a marriage between the
contractor and client. There will be plenty of give and take about getting the agency into
a stable position," said Christopher Wren, a senior program manager for ITI's Federal
Systems Integration and Management division. "Agencies could run the services as is
with a refreshment or start out with a refreshment in year zero."

Besides getting agencies out of the asset management business, the Seat Management
contract also will help the government pinpoint its true user expenses, Self said.

"The government does very little desktop management, and it's hard to get a handle
on the total cost of operations," Self said. "If we do it correctly, we can find
out exactly what it costs the government to maintain a seat."

More information about the Seat Management project is available at FEDCAC's World Wide
Web site at

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