GSA to bring Microsoft under strategic sourcing umbrella

Tuesday - 11/19/2013, 6:22pm EST

The Federal Strategic Sourcing effort is expanding into software products and going after the equivalent of Capt. Ahab's white whale.

The General Services Administration issued the request for quotes Monday asking for Schedule 70 vendors to bid on a blanket purchase agreement for Microsoft system, application, server, enterprise, online and premier software and support services.

"Over the years, federal agencies have made extensive capital investments in a wide range of Microsoft software and related support services," stated the RFQ, which was obtained by Federal News Radio. "Agency offices have acquired the software and support services through a variety of acquisition vehicles. The demand for best in class pricing, better terms and conditions, and a more efficient license structure has increased as agencies' current Microsoft agreements expire."

Additionally, the BPA will cover term and perpetual software licenses, maintenance of software-as-a-service, training courses and IT professional services.

"Use of these BPAs will reduce the federal government's total cost of ownership of Microsoft software and services by offering reduced pricing, optimized terms and conditions, and improved license structure over what exists in the current FSS 70 contracts," the RFQ stated.

GSA said it expects to award multiple contracts that are for five years and could be worth $5.3 billion. Bids are due Dec. 18.

""GSA is committed to working collaboratively with our partners at Microsoft resellers to reduce multiple contracts into a single set of agreements to save money and streamline the purchasing process for government agencies," said Tom Sharpe, Federal Acquisition Service commissioner in an email statement. "Saving time and money is essential."

Agencies will pay a 2 percent fee to use the BPA, similar to the amount they pay for the contracts for office supplies and print management services.

GSA is putting the Microsoft BPA under its SmartBuy program. But what's interesting is the Defense Department, which partners with GSA on several enterprise software agreements, already has a deal with Microsoft.

According to an Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) fact sheet from 2013, DoD had a deal with eight resellers for Microsoft's software products for desktop configurations, servers and other products at up to 38 percent off GSA FSS pricing.

DoD and GSA co-manage eight other SmartBuy/ESI agreements for software from companies including Oracle, VMWare and Quest.

GSA expects to issue RFQs to establish BPA for other large software publishers in the coming months. The agency estimates the government spends about $6 billion a year on all software products and related services.

Through the FSSI, GSA predicts agencies could save 15 percent-to-20 percent off the prices they are paying now.

The move to commodity software is not unexpected. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy created an interagency commodity council to develop a strategy to take advantage of strategic sourcing more widely across the government.

The council recommended and OFPP approved a total of 10 areas for GSA to develop contracts for in 2013 and 2014.

The large publisher BPA follows a solicitation for janitorial and sanitation (JanSan) supplies and equipment and maintenance, repair, and operations (MRO) equipment and supplies issued earlier this month. GSA received commitments from 11 agencies to use the JanSan BPA and eight agencies to use the MRO vehicle.

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