INS Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

INS Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

By Nick Wakeman
Staff Writer

"A lot of people are going to be watching us closely. The idea of cooperation and how that happens is going to be tricky stuff."
Scott Donaldson, senior program manager, SAIC

A $400 million contract won by Science Applications International Corp. to manage and integrate information technology projects for the Immigration and Naturalization Service could serve as a new model for other government agencies.

San Diego-based SAIC's role in the INS Service Technology Alliance Resources project is to oversee the efforts of four other contractors, which are vying for about $800 million in agency task orders to build IT systems over the next five years.

SAIC and its teammates will help INS develop the requirements for those task orders, manage the competitions among the contractors for such work and, in an additional twist, ensure the contractors work together in the INS' best interest.

INS projects to be developed and deployed under the STAR umbrella include a case tracking system, a naturalization claims system and a system for tracking arrivals and departures of international visitors.

"A lot of people are going to be watching us closely," said Scott Donaldson, senior program manager of the contract for SAIC. "The idea of cooperation and how that happens is going to be tricky stuff."

INS is so committed to cooperation that it is putting its money where its mouth is by offering bonuses to employees that promote teamwork.

SAIC officials are now developing a "cooperation index" to score the contractors. Bonuses that could total as high as $500,000 per company will be paid according to the score the companies achieve.

The money will be paid directly to contractor employees, and not to company coffers, in the form of bonuses up to $3,000, Goldberg said. No bonuses are paid if two or more contractors fail to make adequate scores, he said. "We wanted to bring some peer pressure."

Plans call for INS to pick the four contractors working under SAIC by July 1. Bidders include CACI International Inc. of Arlington, Va.; Computer Sciences Corp. of El Segundo, Calif.; Electronic Data Systems Corp. of Plano, Texas; Keane Inc. of Boston; and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md.

Three of the companies will compete to develop and deploy systems, while the fourth will be conducting independent validation and verification of the systems, said David Goldberg, INS deputy associate commissioner for information resource management.

The project's structure combines the old, single-source way of fielding systems with the newer, multiple award, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts, Goldberg said.

"We've got an approach that moves back to the center," he said.

As the winner of the systems management and integration services contract, SAIC will make sure the systems built by the other contractors are integrated and meet the IT strategy for INS that SAIC and its team of subcontractors are developing, Donaldson said.

SAIC's subcontractors include Analysis Corp. of Fairfax, Va.; High Performance Technologies Inc. of Reston, Va.; Indus Corp. of Vienna, Va.; Intermetrics Inc. of Burlington, Mass.; and Management Systems Designers Inc. of Vienna.

INS wanted the cooperative approach to avoid problems, such as contractors not sharing important information and no one wanting to take responsibility for problems with a project, Goldberg said.

"This is really a different way of doing business," Donaldson said. "A lot of people think this is a good idea and it is very forward thinking."

Bidders for STAR Contracts
CACI International Inc., Arlington, Va.
Computer Sciences Corp., El Segundo, Calif.
Electronic Data Systems Corp., Plano, Texas
Keane Inc., Boston
Lockheed Martin Corp., Bethesda, Md.
Andrew Sung, an analyst with Input, a Vienna, Va.-based research company, said that if this is successful, "others will definitely be taking a look at it. I think it is a good approach."

While SAIC will not be competing for task orders, it will be maintaining a "big picture look at all the activities," Goldberg said.

Turning to a single systems integrator to help coordinate the other IT contractors is an effective way for agencies to address personnel shortages and increased demands for IT services, Sung said. He noted that the Internal Revenue Service is using a similar approach with its $8 billion Prime Integration Services contract.

SAIC Team Members:
Analysis Corp., Fairfax, Va.
High Performance Technologies Inc., Reston, Va.
Indus Corp., Vienna, Va.
Intermetrics Inc., Burlington, Mass.
Management Systems Designers Inc., Vienna, Va.
"The government can't pay the high salaries of the private sector for IT people," he said. "So outsourcing is one way of getting in-house knowledge."

In addition to managing the other contractors, SAIC will help INS analyze its information needs, formulating statements of work for task orders and helping INS pick the winners of the task orders, Donaldson said. SAIC also will field a "program productivity team" to standardize the way software is developed at INS, he said.

"Over time, we want to harvest best practices to develop a consistent and repeatable way to build systems," Donaldson said.

SAIC's approach to the INS contract leveraged what the company learned from an Environmental Protection Agency contract called Mission Oriented Systems Engineering Support, or MOSES. SAIC won that contract in 1991, Donaldson said.

"That contract has been a bright, shining star," he said. Under the seven-year, $116 million contract, SAIC managed system and software development for the environmental agency's headquarters.

"We gained a lot of insight from that contract," Donaldson said.


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