DISA launches second collaboration option

The Defense Information Systems Agency this week launched the second online collaboration tool offered to Defense Department users through DISA's Network-Centric Enterprise Services (NCES) program.

The service is an adaptation of a commercial application and will be provided on a pay-for-use basis to DOD users by systems integrator Carahsoft Technology and its partners, Adobe Systems, Jabber and Science Applications International.

Availability of the Carahsoft-developed collaboration tool completes DISA's strategy of giving DOD personnel their choice between collaboration services from two providers with the goal of requiring the two to compete for business by offering a better service.

In June, DISA awarded the Carahsoft team a $22 million contract to offer the second-button option of DISA's NCES offering. The agency announced this week that the second option is now available for early testing. The service gives DOD users worldwide access to Web-based instant messaging, text chat, Web conferencing and shared white-boarding services, including the ability for DOD users to bring non-DOD personnel into collaborative sessions.

During the early testing phase, the Carahsoft collaborative option may not be available at all times, and DISA will ask users for feedback on the option's performance during the test phase, the agency said.

Last July, DISA awarded the first half of the collaboration component of the NCES project to IBM under a $17 million pay-for-use contract lasting one year with two optional years.

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