VA kicks off governmentwide buying site

VA kicks off governmentwide buying site

The Veterans Affairs Department officially began accepting procurement requests today from across government via an online federal acquisition center.

VA's Austin Automation Center in Austin, Texas, partnered with the Office of Acquisitions to provide IT products and services at www.BuyIT.gov, on a fee-for-service basis. The VA will benefit because, as BuyIT.gov penetrates the federal market, the Austin center will be able to spread costs over a larger base. This will let the center lower the fees it charges VA users for services.

BuyIT.gov could be the IT acquisition service provider of choice for the federal government because it has a uniquely qualified acquisition staff, end-to-end line of acquisition services and highly competitive fees, said David Peterson, program manager for the program.

The BuyIT.gov acquisition staff consists of senior contracting officers who buy IT goods and services every day and are skilled in providing customer support, he said. 'The contracting staff works in a large federal data center, so they have special expertise in IT procurements,' Peterson said.

The Global Information Technology Support Services initiative, a contract vehicle sponsored and managed by BuyIT.gov, provides a pool of vendors and services. Through BuyIT.gov, Federal customers can access the contracts for almost any IT service, Peterson said [see GCN story].

The vendors, unlike suppliers on some other contracting vehicles such as the General Services Administration schedules, must have global reach and top-secret security clearances, Peterson said. And the fees are lower than some other services: BuyIT.gov charges 2 percent compared with GovWorks, a franchise fund of the Interior Department, which charges 4 percent, he said.

So far, BuyIT.gov has awarded 10 contracts including software license and maintenance renewal for a Justice Department data center, Peterson said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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