HUD uses schedule to standardize on Dell PCs

Housing and Urban Development Department users have been using Dell Computer Corp. PCs
exclusively for three years now.


HUD began buying Dell OptiPlex systems exclusively in 1996 and 1997. Users now are
getting 450-MHz Pentium II systems with 128M of RAM, 10G hard drives and Microsoft Windows
95, said Randall Graham, director of HUD’s Customer Service Division in the Office of
Information Technology.


HUD evaluated five to seven vendors based on technical specifications set in 1996,
Graham said. “Dell came out the best.”


In the midst of downsizing, HUD has fewer than 10,000 employees, but it maintains
13,527 Dell PCs and 527 PC servers, which are a mixture of Compaq Computer Corp. and Dell
hardware running Novell NetWare 3.2, a HUD spokeswoman said.


The department’s standardization on Dell PCs is part of a larger trend in federal
procurement. Procurement reform has made it easier for agencies to select the vendors they
prefer without having to go through lengthy requirements-based contracting. After
relaxation of rules such as the maximum ordering limit for General Services Administration
Information Technology Schedule buys, some agencies have been setting some of their own
purchasing standards to ensure a level of configuration management and to avoid chaos.


In technical evaluations, Compaq servers worked well with Lotus Notes groupware, Graham
said. The quad-processor Dell 2300 server also stood up well, he said, so HUD also buys
that model.


The department is continuing with periodic technical reviews, however. Evaluations are
under way for servers from Compaq, Dell, Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp. and other makers.


Before 1996, the department bought its hardware through Lockheed Martin Corp.’s
HUD Integrated Information Processing Service (HIIPS) contract. HUD now buys directly from
Dell’s GSA schedule contract because department officials found they could cut the
acquisition cost per PC that way, Graham said.


“The rapport we have with Dell is very good,” Graham said. “The price
and quality is very good.” Staying with one vendor’s products was important,
also, he said, because the department has had to make adjustments to PCs with fast
processors to keep running the department’s HUDWare II desktop software.


The HIIPS contract is still in use for four-hour technical response and 24-hour product
turnaround for PCs and servers from a Lockheed subcontractor, Graham said.  


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