Agencies Banking on Familiar Contract Vehicles

March 30, 2012

Contract vehicles with the most federal spending succeed for one of two reasons: Agencies know them by name, or they meet agency-specific needs, contract experts say.

Four of the top 10 contract vehicles in fiscal 2011 — two General Services Administration federal supply schedules and two governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs) — attract agencies looking for information technology products and services. GWACs are specifically for IT goods and services. One of these contracts run by NASA — called SEWP IV — offers products, while GSA's Alliant GWAC is best known for services.

Although federal IT spending has leveled off, it is still among the top areas of spending as agencies update and maintain systems, industry analysts said. IT software, hardware and services have become so commoditized that it is easier for agencies to compare prices and buy off existing contract vehicles than create their own contracts for an average IT purchase, said Ray Bjorklund, chief knowledge officer at market research firm Deltek. 

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