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State, local governments get new tech buying option

State and local governments looking to harness the purchasing power of larger entities when buying technology have a new option. Acting as the lead public agency, Fairfax County, Va., awarded a contract for technology products, services and solutions for state and local government, educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations.

The contract, awarded to the U.S. Communities Government Purchase Alliance, a national government purchasing cooperative, runs May 1, 2016, through April 30, 2019.

U.S. Communities will be providing solutions via the following suppliers:

  • Google for Work products, services and solutions via Carahsoft
  • Amazon Web Services products, services and solutions via DLT Solutions
  • Insight Public Sector technology products, services and solutions via Cisco, HP,Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Dell, Panasonic, EMC, Commvault, Symantec,Veritas, VMware, Apple, Microsoft, Citrix and NetApp
  • Technology services and solutions via UNICOM Government

The purchasing cooperative is similar to the G2G Marketplace, created by Oakland County, Mich., in 2014 to utilize economies of scale to simplify the purchasing and licensing process for governments, particularly smaller entities.

The General Services Administration also has a cooperative purchasing program through which state, local and tribal governments benefit from pre-vetted industry partners on a variety of information technology products and services. Schedule contracts open under cooperative purchasing include:

  • Schedule 70, for IT products and services, including mobile device and management tools, hardware, software, cloud computing services, support equipment and professional services
  • Schedule 84, for security and law enforcement equipment

Local and tribal governments also have access to specific blanket purchase agreements for wireless service plans and phones, email as a service, IT products and cyber security technology.

Group purchasing is common across many industries and is a small but growing trend within state and local procurement, according to government business intelligence firm Onvia.  The company said the share of total awards linked to a cooperative purchasing contract grew from 1.9 percent to 2.2 percent nationwide from 2012 to 2014.

About the Author

Kathleen Hickey is a freelance writer for GCN.

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