Steve Cooper, former chief information officer at the Department of Commerce, discuss the new Dell EMC contract at GSA, and what it means for the future of IT contracting.
The General Services Administration has contracted with Dell to provide virtual computing services across the entire government. The contract to provide virtual machines for federal agencies is a landmark deal for GSA, because it represents a new process for government-wide contracting. Steve Cooper, former chief information officer at the Department of Commerce, says that he supports the efforts, but that the ever-growing amount of contract vehicles could make things confusing for IT acquisition professionals. “I’m not trying to put anything on GSA, but you can see the list, you can look at the number of vehicles. This is just one category of vehicles,” Cooper said. “Honestly, what I think all CIOs and [acquisition] officers want is a clear understanding of what vehicles exist, and how do I get to them quickly and use them? I need understanding of the vehicle, I need the use of the vehicle, both to be decomplexified.” Cooper says that some companies may not want to follow the Dell EMC approach, but they can still learn from it. “If I have a bunch of contracts and agreements in place across all the federal agencies, it may be not in my best financial interest to consolidate all of those. I get that. What I’m asking, and what I think can be done is… at least take an inventory of all the vehicles. It is about software asset management. Which is part of FITARA,” Cooper told Government Matters. “Take an inventory and then sit down together to look for ‘What do we actually have and what do we agree upon in common? If I buy more from you, I want a bigger discount.’ I don’t think anybody would disagree with that. I don’t want to displace or tear up agreements. I can phase In as those contracts begin to expire and move them to a single enterprise agreement. There absolutely is a win, win here.”