Federal spending through GWACs more than doubles

Federal agencies are making much greater use of governmentwide agency contracts, or GWACs, to meet their information technology requirements. Technology-related orders from GWACs have more than doubled over the past four years, from $1.1 billion in fiscal year 1997 to $2.4 billion in 2001, according to Input Inc., a Chantilly, Va. market research and consulting company.

Spending on GWACs has increased from just 4 percent of all IT purchases by the federal government in 1997 to nearly 7 percent by 2001.

"Agencies have come to rely on GWACs for the speed and convenience these contract vehicles provide in fulfilling their IT requirements," said Erik TerHaar, manager of federal sector database services at Input. Civilian agencies have been the primary drivers in the growth, accounting for 71 percent of total GWAC spending in 2001.

At the same time, the use of GWACs has benefited a relative handful of contractors. Ten vendors accounted for 64 percent of the sales on the 60 GWAC contracts analyzed by Input, out of more than 130 contractors listed on the vehicles.

Those 10 vendors, by percent of GWAC revenue they brought in, are:

Unisys Corp., 11 percent

Northrop Grumman Corp., 11 percent

Science Applications International Corp., 8 percent

Computer Sciences Corp., 7 percent

Lockheed Martin Corp., 6 percent

GTSI Corp., 5 percent

DynCorp, 5 percent

Affiliated Computer Services Inc., 4 percent

SRA International Inc., 3 percent

Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., 3 percent

"For vendors, it has been feast or famine in terms of their success in selling through these contracts," TerHaar said. "GWACs provide a valuable tool for vendors to sell to a number of agencies, [but] it places a much heavier burden on a company's sales and marketing resources than more traditional government contracts."

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