NASA, GSA sign pact for seat management

Through ODIN, NASA will outsource desktop hardware, software and LAN services for the
agency's 15,000 employees.


The space agency will buy from ODIN rather than the Seat Management contract.


And under the memorandum of understanding between the two of them, both contracts will
be available governmentwide.


This approach recognizes the diversity of the federal computing environment and will
let each federal agency choose the contract that best suits its needs, said Charles Self,
GSA's assistant commissioner for Information Technology Integration (ITI).


The move comes, however, as many vendors are saying enough is enough with what they see
as duplicative government contracts. Officials said that the ODIN and Seat Management
contracts are similar but serve different users.


"NASA has invested a lot of effort in getting to where they are today," said
analyst Bob Dornan, senior vice president for Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va.
"They feel they have some unique needs that the GSA solution is not going to
satisfy."


Each contract has a different philosophy, said Skip Kemerer, head of the
Multiservices/ADP Procurement Branch at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt,
Md.


"The different philosophies will have different benefits for different
agencies," he said.


Wanda Smith, director of ITI's Seat Management division, said the agreement will give
agencies options. The GSA contract will be more open-ended in what equipment and services
agencies can lease. By contrast, NASA has defined three classes of general-purpose
computers, three classes of scientific computers and two classes of maintenance.


Despite vendor complaints, many have already said they will put in bids for ODIN.


"If they were completely redundant and either vehicle would serve [the needs]...
we would have second thoughts about bidding both," said Sterling Phillips, vice
president of corporate marketing for FDC Technologies Inc. of Bethesda, Md. But ODIN will
be the only seat management available for NASA's 15,000 employees, he said.


From a marketing cost point of view, however, "we would rather be dealing with
one," he said.


Under the GSA-NASA agreement, GSA's ITI will handle ODIN orders from outside NASA, and
NASA procurement personnel will handle orders from within.


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