Feds see flexibility as key factor to PC outsourcing

DENVER—In the government’s first brush with desktop PC outsourcing,
managers are finding that communication is critical to success.

PC outsourcing is in its infancy, but project managers for two major programs said they
have already learned that the rollout requires flexibility between contractors and
agencies’ users.

“Nobody likes change,” said Mark Hagerty, project manager for the Outsourcing
Desktop Initiative for NASA project. Managers must remember that a desktop PC outsourcing
initiative is a long-term commitment, he said.

Initially, the space agency had an aggressive implementation schedule, expecting a
transition within 30 days of each task order’s completion.

“That might have been a little lean,” Hagerty said this month at the
Government Information Technology Executive Council’s Information Processing
Interagency Conference.

“Partnership is the key variable,” said Christopher Wren, project manager for
the General Services Administration’s Seat Management Program.

PC outsourcing treats PC operations as a service, stressing fixed service-level
agreements rather than price per box, the project managers said. Agencies must define the
key service-level metrics that will be used to determine whether a contractor is
implementing task orders satisfactorily, Wren said.

There is tendency to “gold-plate the service levels,” which can prove to be
cost prohibitive, rather than looking at providing reasonable service levels, Wren said.

OAO Corp. of Greenbelt, Md., one of eight ODIN contractors, won the task order for PC
work at four NASA flight centers. ODIN programs began recently at John F. Kennedy, Lyndon
B. Johnson and John C. Stennis space centers, and will be initiated at the Marshall Space
Flight Center next month, Hagerty said.

Intellisource Information Systems Inc. of Fairfield, Conn., formerly RMS Information
Systems Inc., won the contract to run PC operations at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight
Center in Greenbelt. Intellisource started work on the project in December.

The rest of NASA will move to ODIN over the next 18 months, Hagerty said.

Despite any hassles, NASA is saving money, he said.

The primary goal of outsourcing is to let NASA workers focus on the agency’s core
mission and to shift asset management responsibilities and risk from the government to the
ODIN contractors, Hagerty said. The contract is meeting those objectives, he said.  

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