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NASA, GSA Join Forces on Outsourcing Desktop Computing

GSA # 9450

November 20, 1997
Contact: GSA, Bill Bearden, (202) 501-1231
NASA, Brian Dunbar, (202) 358-0873


Washington, DC -- NASA and the General Services Administration (GSA) have agreed to work together to procure desktop computing and networking services in a way that should save taxpayers millions of dollars in the coming years.

NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin and GSA Administrator Dave Barram announced the formation of a partnership after extensive discussions and working group sessions within the agencies. Under the terms of the partnership, the agencies will work closely together to implement GSA's SEAT Management Program and NASA's Outsourcing Desktop Initiative (ODIN). GSA and NASA acquisition teams will share information, resources and key personnel, and NASA will include provisions in their ODIN contracts that will give GSA exclusive authority to issue and administer government-wide orders against ODIN contracts.

"We're going to pool our talents, and the benefits will be government-wide," said Lee Holcomb, NASA's Chief Information Officer.

"This approach recognizes the diversity of the government computing environment and will allow federal agencies a choice to select which contract best suits their individual needs," said Charles Self, GSA's assistant commission for Information Technology Integration. "Outsourcing offers great potential to improve management of these distributed assets and enhances the government's ability to keep information technology current at competitive commercial prices."

Both agencies were separately arriving at different approaches to outsourcing computer equipment services, Holcomb said. "The partnership gives a richer set of options to federal agencies. And it's a way for us to be sure we're doing outsourcing right. We can learn from each other."

Under Seat Management, the government will acquire integrated services and the required components to include general purpose desktop computers, servers, and associated peripherals; high performance computational systems and associated peripherals; local area and wide area network capabilities; COTS software; help desk services; maintenance; design and installation; and training. GSA's objectives are to acquire quality desktop computing services as a utility in an integrated fashion through a single source and, to achieve cost savings based on the private sector's ability to attain and manage assets.

ODIN will require vendors to deliver specific end-to-end desktop, server, and local area communications services. These services will be offered under ODIN through a single fixed price per seat which includes computing, networking, maintenance, training, etc., and all associated costs. The ODIN service requirements are based on a comprehensive analysis across NASA of end-user and organizational needs.

GSA's Office of Information Technology Integration will proceed with its government-wide SEAT Management contracts, and NASA will continue to work toward award of its ODIN contracts. Whereas GSA's SEAT Management contracts will have a very broad scope to allow agencies the flexibility to construct "seats" to meet individual agency requirements, NASA's ODIN contracts will permit outsourcing for specific, pre-defined seat configurations.

After extensive discussion and the evaluation of numerous alternatives, Self and Holcomb concluded that proceeding with both solicitations is in the best interests of NASA, GSA and the government.

GSA issued its Request for Proposals (RFP) for SEAT Management in early October, and NASA expects to issue an RFP for ODIN in the next several weeks, with the contract award and selection for both planned for next spring.

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