IRS' TDA-3 contract faces competition for buyers

After a lengthy evaluation, the IRS last month awarded the Treasury Department
Acquisition 3 small-business set-aside contract to SMAC Data Systems.


Separately, the IRS last month issued a $1.3 million delivery order for IBM Netfinity
servers loaded with Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 for agencywide e-mail.


SMAC of Gaithersburg, Md., will sell PCs as well as peripherals on TDA-3, IRS spokesman
Ken Hubenak said. The IRS manages the contract for Treasury’s 12 agencies.
SMAC’s two-year award has a $66.6 million ceiling.


The TDA-3 request for proposals came out in November 1997, and bids were due in March
1998, SMAC president Ashok Mehan said. “It took them 11 months to make a
decision,” he said.


IRS officials would not comment further about TDA-3. But Mehan said the agency expected
to award two more TDA-3 contracts under full-and-open competition by the middle of this
month.


Part of the delay in the set-aside award may have come in checking out vendor
certifications that small businesses could supply components such as the motherboards,
Mehan said. The Small Business Administration granted waivers for obtaining other
components such as disk drives, monitors, processors and software from large vendors, he
said.


The TDA-3 indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity program, however, might hold little
attraction for Treasury buyers in view of the competing blanket purchasing agreements set
under the TDA and Treasury Distributed Processing Infrastructure programs.


TDA-3 is a “complete waste of everyone’s time and money,” said
consultant Bob Guerra, president of Guerra and Associates of Oakton, Va. “There
probably won’t be an IDIQ TDA-4.”


SMAC officials will submit an engineering change proposal to add more products because
the RFP called for now-outdated 200-, 233- and 266-MHz Pentium MMX processors, Mehan said.
SMAC will supply printers from Lexmark International Inc. of Lexington, Ky., Microsoft
Corp. software and servers built on Intel Corp. chips, he said.


As for the IRS’ Netfinity servers, Presidio Corp. of Lanham, Md., will install
them initially at headquarters and IRS’ offices in Fresno, Calif., through the
company’s TDA BPA, said Greg Roseman, IRS’ contracting officer for TDA BPAs.


The service will acquire 140 e-mail servers by October, paying about $20 million,
Roseman said. “The pricing and technology were outstanding. It made our decision
easier,” he said.


Presidio chose Netfinity 7000 M10 servers that are upgradeable to four Pentium Xeon
processors, said Chris Nicoletti, IBM’s client executive for Treasury sales. “We
build the servers never to go down,” he said. “E-mail has the potential to be
mission-critical.”


Only 38 percent of IRS employees could send or receive e-mail last fall, according to
the BPA statement of work. Through Microsoft Exchange messaging software acquired from
Telos Corp. of Ashburn, Va., IRS officials expect to give most employees access to e-mail
in the fall. 


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