Navy sets up DOD-wide BPAs for Microsoft server products

Navy sets up DOD-wide BPAs for Microsoft server products

By Bill Murray

GCN Staff

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

The 31,000-user license is the federal division's single largest such agreement, Microsoft officials said.

The Naval Inventory Control Point in Mechanicsburg, Pa., will manage the license deals. In late June, it 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 sought bids from resellers authorized to sell Microsoft products through their General Services Administration Schedule contracts.

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.

Turn left at EMall

The DOD EMall won't be used for the Microsoft BPAs, said John Adamson, a Microsoft DOD account executive. The Navy's Information Technology Electronic Commerce Direct will feature the products. The site's address is www.itec-direct.navy.mil.

The discounts the ESI-backed team received are lower than what the Air Force, Army and Navy had been able to negotiate on their own, Bolton said. After initially being offered two-year BPAs from vendors, DOD officials held out for three-year agreements so users would likely get two upgrades on most products, he said.

The challenge is to repay the balance to the Navy working capital fund, Bolton said.

Bolton characterized the BPAs as an about-face for Microsoft. 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 negotiate agreements for SQL Server only, he said.

DOD and Navy officials held out for agreements that included all Microsoft server products, including Windows 2000 Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server and Visual Studio. The products are available separately or as an integrated BackOffice Suite.

Microsoft officials disagreed with Bolton's assessment that the company was unwilling to allow a sweeping deal. 'We've been eager to do this for a couple of years, as this has evolved,' said Mary Ellen O'Brien, the company's DOD manager.

More than a year ago, Microsoft officials met with Army Small Computer Program officials at Fort Monmouth, N.J., about a comparable site license, she said. But the company was told that it needed to work with the Office of the Secretary of Defense for a departmentwide BPA, O'Brien said.

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