Navy sets DOD-wide BPA for Microsoft server products

Navy sets DOD-wide BPAs for Microsoft server products

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

JULY 14'The Navy has signed four three-year blanket purchasing agreements that give all Defense Department agencies a 15 percent to 25 percent discount off the schedule prices for Microsoft Corp. server products.

After seeking bids from resellers authorized to sell Microsoft products through their General Services Administration schedule contracts, the Naval Inventory Control Point in Mechanicsburg, Pa., signed BPAs with ASAP Software Express Inc. of Buffalo Grove, Ill.; CDW-Government Inc. of Chantilly, Va.; Dell Computer Corp. and GTSI Corp. of Chantilly.

The Navy, which has taken the lead in negotiating agreements for Microsoft products under the DOD Enterprise Software Initiative, paid $19 million from its working capital fund, with the amount evenly distributed to the four companies, said Rex Bolton, chairman of the ESI steering group.

Notwithstanding the Microsoft BPAs, Bolton noted that a possibly more significant event occurred yesterday. DOD's Chief Information Officers Executive Board recommended that Defense's top CIO require department organizations to first check leftover ESI product inventories before shopping elsewhere, Bolton said. The board submitted its proposal to Arthur L. Money, assistant secretary of Defense for command, control, communications and intelligence.

To receive deep discounts, DOD agencies in many instances have used money from stock funds to pay for specified numbers of licenses from winning ESI vendors. If Money signs the directive, DOD buyers will have to check the ESI agreements before they make a purchase.

For the Microsoft deal, Bolton said, 'the discounts [the ESI-backed team] received are lower than what the Air Force, Army and Navy have been able to negotiate on their own.' After initially being offered two-year BPAs from vendors, DOD officials held out for three-year agreements because users then would likely be able to get two upgrades on most products, he said.

'Our big challenge is how do we get our money back' to repay the balance to the Navy working capital fund, Bolton said.

The latest BPAs are an about-face for Microsoft resellers. Two years ago, Microsoft would not let its resellers set such site licenses because they were too complex, Bolton said. Initially, the company was willing to let its resellers set an agreement for SQL Server only, he said. But DOD and Navy officials held out for agreements that included all Microsoft server products, including BackOffice, Upgrade Advantage, Visual Studio and Windows 2000, Bolton said.

Other vendors have been more willing to negotiate with the services on DOD-wide licensing deals. For example, the Air Force recently negotiated a series of three BPAs with Oracle Corp. for relational database management system products [see story at www.gcn.com/vol19_no18/dod/2317-1.html].

Floyd V. Groce, the Navy's team leader for enterprise processes, is now trying to negotiate dedicated technical support for DOD organizations from Microsoft, as well as specialized Win 2000 training, Bolton said. Groce, who is the service's chief ESI representative, also wants to negotiate a departmentwide agreement for Microsoft client products.

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