By David Bicknell
Something unexplained appears to be happening in the contractual relationship between US federal procurers and Oracle.
As this story from InformationWeek details, the US federal government has cancelled Oracle’s services contract on the the General Services Administration’s (GSA) IT Schedule 70. The US government spent $388 million on Oracle products and services through Schedule 70 in the 2011 financial year.
The GSA is an agency that helps with procurement services for other government agencies. As part of this effort, it maintains the GSA Schedule, something akin to a collection of pre-negotiated contracts from which other agencies can use to buy goods and services.
Procurement managers from government agencies can view these agreements and make purchases from the GSA Schedule knowing that all legal obligations have been taken care of by GSA.
IT Schedule 70 is the largest and most widely used acquisition vehicle in the US federal government. Schedule 70 is an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) multiple award schedule, providing direct access to products and services from over 5,000 certified industry partners.
The GSA detailed its cancellation of the Oracle contract in a tightly worded announcement on its website. There has been no further explanation for the contract cancellation and no comment to date from Oracle.
The contract cancellation has also been reported on other blogs in the US:
GSA cancels Oracle IT contract
Six months after suit between them settles, GSA ends contract with Oracle
Feds nix Oracle blanket contract
By David Bicknell
I was interested in the Energy Collective blog, which contrasted the Coalition encouragement for green government spending methods with those operated by the US General Services Administration under a new plan, the GreenGov Supply Chain Partnership.
The piece points out that whereas the U.S. GSA approach on the surface appears collaborative and designed to create a robust procurement process, the downside is that progress is likely to be slow. i.e. the “carrot” approach.
In contrast, the U.K. approach applies more of the “stick”. In both cases, transparency and collaboration are keys to success. The blog suggests that the GSA approach is somewhat unnecessary and does little more than slow down the inevitable. The GSA wants to “design an incentive-based approach to developing contracting advantages”. The implication then is, ‘OK, do it, just like the British government did.’
The blog goes on, ‘Perhaps the U.K has been at this a while longer, though I doubt it. Greening of the U.S. government has been in slow motion (almost glacial) progress since President Clinton signed Executive Order 13123 in 1999. As I recently said, private industry needs to stop procrastinating on green supply chain management or risk losing customers. Why delay the inevitable so you can get it just right. Perhaps my message to the GSA and U.S. policy makers is to also stop procrastinating and (as they say in Texas) “git ‘er done”.’
Or as they say in Whitehall, “These are the rules. Follow them.”