Agencies Press Vendors to Cut Prices - or Else

May 14, 2012

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was paying $800,000 last year for hundreds of BlackBerry smartphones.

That was before EEOC's information technology budget was cut nearly 15 percent, from $17.6 million last fiscal year to $15.1 million. Chief information officer Kimberly Hancher and her contracting staff pressed Verizon to help EEOC cut costs or risk losing her agency's BlackBerry business after March.

Verizon responded. It quickly bundled cell phone minutes, scrapped underutilized phones from the plan, and moved employees to voice and data plans that would accommodate their phone use. The result: a savings of $240,000 this fiscal year, or 30 percent.

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