Use of GWAC Contracts for IT on the Rise

The federal government's use of flexible, governmentwide acquisition contracts to purchase information technology products and services is up 36 percent between fiscal 1999 and fiscal 2000, according to a market analysis released Aug. 1.

The analysis was conducted by Federal Sources Inc., a market research and consulting firm in McLean, Va.

Calling the increase in GWAC use "remarkable," FSI found that:

*Five of the top 10 GWAC vehicles are managed by the General Services Administration;

*Of the agencies using GWAC vehicles, the top 10 accounted for more than $11 billion in FY 2000;

*The 10 most successful prime vendors held one third of the market share, while more than 1,700 vendors vied for the remaining two thirds of the FY 2000 GWAC spending.

FSI reviewed 95,000 purchases amounting to $13.3 billion in federal technology spending on some 60 contract vehicles generally categorized as indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contracts, which include schedule vehicles and governmentwide agency contracts.

These buying vehicles are commonly referred to as GWAC contracts within the federal contracting community.

Popularized following the procurement reforms of the mid-1990s, GWAC-style contracts have become a favored way for federal managers to acquire technologies and skills while avoiding lengthy procurement lead times.

"Despite the growing popularity of GWACs, little has been done until now to quantify the extent of their use by specific federal agencies or to profile the companies that are successful at selling in this new procurement environment," said Jim Kane, president and chief executive officer of FSI.

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