Agency tinkers with e-buying

Agency tinkers with e-buying

The General Services Administration plans to launch an electronic-procurement pilot for the Quick Quotes section of its Web site.

The pilot will run from Sept. 1 to May 31, combining PurchaseSource from Frictionless Commerce Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., and E-Mall from CyberSystem Technologies of Hunt Valley, Md.

PurchaseSource will let users search for details of products from online catalogs and compare features. E-Mall will handle the transactions.

• GSA recently appointed Deborah Diaz to head development of industry partnerships and management for the FirstGov portal.

Diaz is the special assistant for electronic government in the Office of the Chief Information Officer. In that post, she is GSA's liaison to the CIO Council and industry groups.

She previously spent 12 years at the Agency for International Development, where she managed interagency initiatives on international business development and environmental technologies.

She has a bachelor's degree in business administration from Stonehill College and a master's in international business administration from Colorado State University.

• Susan Chu has joined GSA as its deputy CIO, replacing Don Heffernan, who moved to the Federal Supply Service in February.

Chu came to GSA from IBM Corp., where she worked as a software engineer and telecommunications specialist. Before that she was a senior adviser to the Interior Department's CIO. She also has worked for the Agency for International Development and the Patent and Trademark Office.

• The Federal Technology Service has awarded 31 local phone service contracts worth $3.6 billion to nine companies in 16 metropolitan areas under its Metropolitan Area Acquisition program.

The immediate goal of MAA is to take advantage of telecommunications deregulation to reduce local-service costs through competitive contracts.

Rates under some of the contracts awarded for the program are 65 percent lower than current government rates.

The long-term goal is to offer competitive end-to-end service by letting carriers compete for both local and long-distance service.

MAA vendors are eligible to participate in the FTS 2001 long-distance program pending GSA and regulatory approval. So far, no crossover between the contracts has been approved, although MAA contractor AT&T Corp. has asked to enter FTS 2001.

GSA began by awarding MAA contracts in New York, Chicago and San Francisco, then continued the program in second-tier cities where the agency saw the greatest opportunity to expand its market share as a service provider to federal users.

Contracts are expected to be awarded soon for the cities of Albuquerque, N.M.; Boise, Idaho; New Orleans and Philadelphia.


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