SSG strategy calls for specialized buys

SSG strategy calls for specialized buys

BPAs are more likely to lure market leaders, SSG's Kenneth Heitkamp says.

Air Force group answers demand, breaks BPAs up into product categories

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

MONTGOMERY, Ala.'The days of one-stop shopping, at least at the Air Force's Standard Systems Group, are coming to an end.

Gone are the days when SSG officials would draft large indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts with vendors for PCs, servers and peripherals.

Earlier this year, SSG officials issued blanket purchasing agreements for desktop and notebook PCs, as well as servers.

In response to what they call market forces and customer demand, SSG officials said they are becoming more specialized. They will negotiate a BPA for LAN and WAN products by year's end, a BPA for videoconferencing by March 2000 and a third BPA for workstations in the same time frame, said Col. Delbert B. Atkinson, SSG's deputy director.

Taking issue

By May, SSG will issue software reseller and accessories BPAs, Atkinson said last week at the Air Force Information Technology Conference.

'The difference between a systems integrator and a direct seller is the difference between Zenith Data Systems and Dell Computer Corp.,' said Kenneth Heitkamp, SSG's technical director at the Gunter Annex of Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. ZDS held Desktop I, II, IV and V IDIQ contracts, while Dell holds an SSG Information Technology Tools BPA.

'People don't necessarily want one-stop shopping,' said Atkinson, who added that SSG also has an IT2 BPA with Computer Discount Warehouse-Government of Vernon Hills, Ill., which provides multiple products, including PCs and servers.

People enjoy having a choice, so buying from BPAs with a vendor that sells a variety of products works well, he said.

By breaking BPAs up into product categories such as desktop PCs, ruggedized PCs and peripherals, 'you're more likely to get products by market leaders,' Heitkamp said.

In response to SSG's strategy, current IDIQs are being diced up into small, focused BPAs. The follow-on contract to the Unified LAN Architecture II IDIQ will most likely be broken into the LAN and WAN product category with services possibly competed under a separate procurement, Heitkamp said.

SSG officials will slice up what is now the Integrated Computer-Aided Software Engineering contract, held by Logicon Inc. of Herndon, Va., into a CASE tools contract and a second procurement that would feature run-time components such as relational database management system products, Heitkamp said.

Ordering on I-CASE ends in 2002, but SSG officials have not made a final decision on I-CASE's successor. 'That's far enough out that we haven't thought [a lot] about it,' Heitkamp said.

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