NIH follow-ons feature leasing and lower fees

NIH follow-ons feature leasing and lower fees

Contracts reflect how feds use technology, NIH's Leamon Lee says.

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

The National Institutes of Health next month plans to award follow-on contracts for two programs that have garnered $1.6 billion in sales.

Image World 2 and its sister contract, Chief Information Officer Solutions and Partners 2, will be 10-year, indefinite-quantity contracts through which buyers governmentwide can post task orders online to solicit bids, said Leamon Lee, associate director of administration at NIH.

NIH's Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) issued the Image World 2 and CIO-SP 2 requests for proposals last month.

The contracts will feature leasing options, and agencies will pay smaller percentage fees to NITAAC for larger orders through a sliding-scale fee arrangement, Lee said.

How to use it

Image World 2 and CIO-SP 2 reflect changes in how federal agencies use technology, Lee said. 'Four years ago, we were talking about scanning and getting rid of paper,' he said. 'Now, we're talking about managing business processes.'

Would-be vendors can bid as prime contractors even if they can only handle a limited number of Image World 2's three focus areas or CIO-SP 2's nine focus areas, said Elmer V. Sembly, NITAAC's director of outreach and education.

'We found there were smaller niche companies that were providing these products that have had to sell them as' subcontractors, Sembly said. He cited as examples distance-learning vendors and companies that help intelligence agencies gather data through satellites. By allowing such vendors to bid as prime contractors, 'we're bringing the market to the government,' he said.

Image World 2's three focus areas will be business application imaging, medical sciences, and geographic information systems and scientific imaging. Unlike its predecessor, Image World 2 will let agencies buy products and services separately, Lee said.

The contract will include digital cameras, monitors, DVD recorders and players, image scanners, medical imaging equipment, printers, storage systems and workstations. It will also offer data compression software, database management systems, workflow software, archiving and indexing products, and security software.

CIO-SP 2's nine focus areas are CIO, legislative, regulatory and policy support, outsourcing, IT operations, digital government, enterprise re-source planning and critical infrastructure protection services.

Although the original CIO-SP and Image World contracts do not expire until August next year, NITAAC officials want to award the follow-on deals next month so agencies can plan beyond next year, Lee said.

Like their predecessors, CIO-SP 2 and Image World 2 will be multiple-award contracts, but Lee said NITAAC officials have not determined how many vendors will win contracts under each program.

Currently, there are 20 CIO-SP and 20 Image World prime contractors.

CIO-SP vendors have captured $1.3 billion in orders, while agencies have ordered $300 million in products and services through Image World, Sembly said.

More information about the contracts is available on the Web, at nitaac.nih.gov.

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