BuyIT.gov could steer work to GITSS contractors

The Veterans Affairs Department today began offering information technology acquisition services to other federal agencies through its BuyIT.gov service.

Contracting officers at the department's Austin Automation Center, who specialize in IT procurements, will offer their services on a fee-for-service basis, according to David Peterson, BuyIT.gov program manager.

The contracting officers' primary vehicle will be the department's Global Information Technology Support Services governmentwide acquisition contract, Peterson said. Seven large businesses and three small businesses were awarded the eight-year, $3 billion, indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract in April 2003.

The GITSS companies are: the Centech Group Inc., Computer Sciences Corp., IBM Corp., Lockheed Martin Corp., MacAulay-Brown Inc., NCI Information Systems Inc., Northrop Grumman Corp., Science Applications International Corp., STG Inc. and Unisys Corp.

"What it means to them is more business, and perhaps more jobs," Peterson said.

The 10 companies have teamed with more than 200 subcontractors to offer services in 22 areas, including network and telecommunications infrastructures; application design, development and maintenance; and disaster recovery and business continuance operations.

If GITSS does not meet the agency customers' needs, the BuyIT.gov contracting officers will use other vehicles, such as the GSA schedules or other govermentwide contracts, Peterson said.

BuyIT.gov will compete with other agencies offering IT acquisition services to federal agencies, including the Interior Department's GovWorks, the General Services Administration and governmentwide acquisition contracts offered by numerous agencies, Peterson said.

"There's about $60 billion a year spent governmentwide in IT, and there is plenty of room for other service providers to enter into this market," he said.

Agencies that use BuyIT.gov must first negotiate an interagency agreement with Veterans Affairs, Peterson said.

BuyIT.gov will charge 2 percent of the contract value for an order placed against an IT schedule. For an open competition, the fee will be 3 percent, Peterson said. He said GSA's fees range from 1 percent to 6 percent, while GovWorks fees are 4 percent.

More information about the VA's IT acquisition service is available at www.BuyIT.gov.

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