It's show time for GSA's Seat Management

The General Services Administration plans to be first in line to use its new Seat
Management Program contracts.


Early this month, GSA awarded contracts to eight vendors: Dyncorp of Reston, Va., EER
Systems Inc. of Seabrook, Md., FDC Technologies Inc. of Bethesda, Md., IBM Corp., Multimax
Inc. of Largo, Md., Litton PRC Inc., Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego
and Wang Government Services Inc. of McLean, Va.


GSA estimates that the 10-year contracts ultimately will amass more than $9 billion in
revenue. Each contract has a five-year base period and one five-year option.


Each contract has a five-year base period and one five-year option.


The GSA awards come on the heels of NASA’s award of its own multibillion-dollar
seat management buy, the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA program. Like the GSA
Seat Management Program, ODIN is open to buyers governmentwide.


Some industry analysts said the seat management concept will revolutionize the way
federal agencies manage information technology.


“It’s a radical departure” from how agencies now manage and fund their
PC operations, said Bob Dornan, senior vice president for Federal Sources Inc. of McLean,
Va. The early adopters will make or break GSA’s Seat Management Program, he said.


GSA chief information officer Shereen Remez said GSA plans to negotiate an order with a
Seat Management vendor by Labor Day and begin shifting its PC operations to the contractor
by Oct. 1.


“What I’m hoping for with seat management … is enterprise management of
the utility,” she said. “I’d like to be able to manage the entire
enterprise, which will make GSA a more competitive organization.”


Agriculture Department CIO Anne Thomson Reed has said USDA also is interested in being
one of the early users of the Seat Management Program [GCN, June 15, Page 1].


Wanda Smith, Seat Management Program manager in GSA’s Information Technology
Integration Center, said Defense Department agencies along with the Air Force and Navy
have expressed interest in the program, too.


Smith acknowledged that the seat management concept is still not completely understood.


Most agency IT chiefs are “still thinking labor hours, hardware,” she said.
“What we have to get them thinking about is buying a service.”


Despite apparent agency reluctance, the Seat Management vendors said the concept is the
future of desktop PC management.


“Make no mistake—this is a difficult concept to sell. You have to prove the
total cost of ownership,” said Tom Sanders, senior vice president of business
development for TechServ, the division of Dyncorp that will handle that company’s
Seat Management work. “But I also think it is the wave of the future.”


Many agencies don’t have an accurate idea of the total cost of running and
maintaining their PC networks, said Chris Stergiou, IBM’s federal programs marketing
manager. If government managers aren’t ready to accept the true value of these costs,
then they will have trouble adopting the PC outsourcing concept, he said.


Remez said agencies must have defined IT architectures before considering desktop PC
outsourcing. “It’s not good to simply outsource your problems. It’s good to
outsource your solutions,” she said.


“We plan to save money, too,” she said. “But those who think you go to
outsourcing or to seat management simply to save money are missing the boat. You may save
money, but that is not the primary driver. It’s enterprise management.”


In all, GSA received more than a dozen bids for the Seat Management Program. Among the
rejected vendors are Artel Software Inc. of Boston, Boeing Computer Services Co. of
Seattle, Computer Sciences Corp., Electronic Data Systems Corp. and Lockheed Martin Corp.
 

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