GSA center promotes its IT contracts

GSA center promotes its IT contracts

Part of FEDCAC's marketing strategy is to mobilize the sales force and tout its technical expertise

By Kevin McCaney

GCN Staff

When Steve Berg arrived a year ago as director of the Federal Computer Acquisition Center, he noticed that FEDCAC was at something of a disadvantage when it came to its own products.

As an arm of the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service, FEDCAC supports products and services sold through GSA schedule contracts as well as services developed in-house.

'Our sales group can sell not only our products, but everybody else's, too,' he said. And everybody else's goods have marketing muscle behind them. 'That creates the need to market our own products.'

Last week, FEDCAC launched a marketing strategy for its eight major wares: Access Certificates for Electronic Services, Disaster Recovery, Millennia, the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA, Seat Management, Smart Card, Telecommunications Integrator Services (TELIS) and Virtual Data Center.

The plan sets a businesslike model for developing brand recognition and mobilizing the sales force.

FEDCAC now has a logo it uses to brand its products. And Berg said he and other FEDCAC officials will make the rounds at 13 customer support centers around the country, providing the sales force with product guides and model task orders and statements of work. They'll also tout FEDCAC's technical expertise as a benefit, Berg said.

More tools will be added to the marketing package before the end of next month, he said. 'We want [support personnel] to take advantage of their customer base,' he said. 'We want them to become the experts on these contracts.'

Recycling profit

The computer acquisition center is a self-supporting organization. It derives revenue from fees on task orders and for technical consulting, Berg said. Any profits are returned to FTS' information technology fund.

The marketing plan is an attempt to raise the profile of the products that help support the center. Not all of them have drawn heavy government use, Berg said.

GSA's Seat Management Program, for instance, has been slow to catch on with agencies. 'Seat is something you need to get used to,' at least partly because it involves a change in infrastructure, Berg said. An active marketing plan could help remove any misconceptions, he said.

Seat Management director Tom Crowder said FEDCAC has added pages to its Web site, at fedcac.gsa.gov, explaining the products. The center also has developed a database of information on the eight GSA Seat Management orders negotiated so far and will add to the store of knowledge as more contracts go through.

At the moment, Berg said, Seat Management is among FEDCAC's top three selling contracts, along with the TELIS communications services program, which is first, and the Millennia technical services program. But he said he expects all of them to pick up speed as a result of the marketing effort.

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