Treasury to test seat management concept

The Treasury Department will be the second user of the General Services
Administration’s Seat Management Program.


Treasury will use GSA’s desktop outsourcing program for 1,600 PCs at its
headquarters as a seat management pilot, Treasury chief information officer James Flyzik
said. The pilot could determine whether seat management will be used elsewhere in the
department, he said.


Treasury is the second agency to try out the governmentwide program; GSA was the first.
The department negotiated a work order in December with Litton PRC, one of eight vendors
that won Seat Management contracts.


Treasury issued an order Feb. 24 to the Seat Management contractors. Proposals are due
March 29, said Gabrielle Y. James, GSA’s Seat Management contracting officer.


Treasury’s move follows the successful experience of its Bureau of Alcohol,
Tobacco and Firearms, which launched its own desktop PC outsourcing project before GSA
awarded its Seat Management contracts.


ATF CIO Patrick Schambach has been a proponent of the desktop PC outsourcing concept [GCN, Sept. 28, 1998, Page 67].


ATF last year transferred management of its PC operations to Unisys Corp.


Treasury’s decision to use the Seat Management Program is a shot in the arm for
desktop PC outsourcing at the federal level. Despite much attention, GSA’s program
has drawn little interest among agencies.


Surveys have indicated that information technology managers are lukewarm about the seat
management concept. Just last month, a survey of chief information officers conducted by
the Information Technology Association of America, an Arlington, Va., industry group,
reaffirmed those findings.


Federal CIOs are not comfortable with the seat management concept, said Paul Wohlleben,
director of IT consulting for Grant Thornton LLP of Chicago and a director of the ITAA
survey.


Proponents suggest PC outsourcing will let an agency focus on core mission issues and
let vendors that specialize in PCs maintain desktop operations.


The surveys, however, show that agency executives are wary of losing control of what is
a core agency resource.


A study conducted last year by the Association for Federal IRM showed that agency
officials are not convinced PC outsourcing can save money or serve agency interests. But
half of the respondents said they might give the GSA program a try through a pilot [GCN, Aug. 10, 1998, Page 76].


PC outsourcing is not without its government backers, though. NASA went forward with
its own outsourcing project, the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, rather than wait
for GSA.


The Health Care Financing Administration has expressed interest in using the ODIN
contracts, which are open to buyers governmentwide.  





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