GSA stays the course on Seat Management

GSA, NASA prepare first seat orders.

Boeing Information Services Inc. may have won its protest of the General Services
Administration’s Seat Management Program contracts, but in the end that win may not
get the company anything.

GSA’s Federal Technology Service last month responded to the agency-level protest
ruling by deciding not to give the Vienna, Va., company a contract.

Although GSA protest officer Donald J. Suda sustained Boeing’s protest [GCN, Aug.
31, Page 1], his ruling did not require that GSA kill any of the eight contracts it had
awarded or award a contract to Boeing. Suda’s decision recommended that “the
agency either document a cost-technical trade-off that supports the conclusion that
Boeing’s superiority is not worth a price premium or award a contract to Boeing based
on its technical and management superiority.”

GSA responded by “fully documenting its cost-technical trade-off analysis,”
the agency said in a statement. The trade-off did not justify awarding Boeing a contract,
GSA said.

Boeing filed the agency-level protest in July shortly after GSA awarded the Seat
Management contracts. The company argued that FTS misled vendors about the criteria that
it would use to evaluate proposals.

Suda “sustained what Boeing said as far as the analysis not being
documented,” said Seat Management director Wanda A. Smith, “so we fully
documented the analysis.”

The move effectively puts the ball back in Boeing’s court, said Donald R. Johnson,
vice president of technology and strategic studies at Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va.
“The next move is up to Boeing,” he said.

Robert W. Steele, Boeing’s general manager of business development, said the
company would decide soon about a response.

Johnson said he was not surprised by GSA’s decision not to award Boeing a
contract. “GSA contended from the beginning that they had documented their
procurement process properly,” he said. 

The first orders under the NASA and General Services Administration desktop outsourcing
contracts will likely be negotiated before year’s end, according to space agency and
GSA officials.

At GSA, the Federal Technology Service team is finalizing the first order—for GSA
itself—under the governmentwide Seat Management Program.

GSA CIO Shereen Remez said FTS will finish the order this week. The agency expects to
complete negotiations with vendors by January, she said.

Officials for ODIN and Seat Management last month talked about the status of the
outsourcing projects during a seminar hosted by Computer Marketing Associates Inc. of
Vienna, Va.

The programs differ in how they approach PC outsourcing. Seat Management is a
governmentwide vehicle with open-ended requirements; NASA defined its PC outsourcing
requirements before the award.

Under the ODIN contracts, NASA spelled out its computer and communications needs and
asked that vendors set fixed per-seat prices for services.

“We spent a lot of time up front defining our requirements,” Andreotta said.

The effort, however, helped mitigate some of the concerns within the agency, he said.

Under GSA’s Seat Management contracts, the requirement specifics must be set out
in each task order, and prices are negotiated based on the extent of services sought by
the buying agency.

Remez said one of the issues GSA officials must deal with is how much detail to put in
the task order.

GSA will roll out Seat Management to its offices nationwide over a three-year period,
starting with offices at its headquarters and moving westward, she said.

Both NASA and GSA have an advantage in that much of their desktop PC management already
is handled by contractors, the two officials said.

As a result, Remez and Andreotta said, no one will likely lose their job because of the
use of Seat Management and ODIN.

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