VA will serve as a test bed for a travel system

VA will serve as a test bed for a travel system

The Veterans Affairs Department will pilot an enterprise travel management system as a precursor to a governmentwide system that the General Services Administration is scheduled to launch next December.

Tim Burke, the project manager for E-Travel, one of the Office of Management and Budget's 25 Quicksilver e-government initiatives and part of the internal efficiency and effectiveness portfolio, said VA hired Zegato Solutions Inc. of Lanham, Md., for the pilot. Zegato will deploy a six-month trial across the department in early January. VA will apply governmentwide standards to the system so GSA can measure its effectiveness, Burke said.

'The pilot will provide us with lessons learned for the governmentwide system and send a message to the rest of the competitors that are in the market,' he said. 'There had not been commercial offerings for end-to-end travel. If there was, we would have done a normal procurement.'

Burke last week joined the rest of the project managers to discuss the portion of the project that deals with internal efficiency and effectiveness at a conference sponsored by Federal Sources Inc. of McLean, Va., and Potomac Forum Ltd. of Potomac, Md., in Washington.

GSA will achieve a milestone for the E-Travel project this week by awarding a contract for an online booking engine for civilian agencies, Burke said. It has commitments from 12 agencies, including the Commerce, Energy, and Treasury departments and GSA, to use the engine.

The final request for proposals for the full-scale system also is in its final review and should be released in mid-January, Burke said. GSA plans to evaluate all the offers, bring in a limited number of vendors for a best and final competition in February and award the contract in June. Burke said 18 of 24 executive branch agencies have committed to using the system.

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