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CHIPS Articles: The DON IT Umbrella Program Leads the Way in Savings

The DON IT Umbrella Program Leads the Way in Savings
By CHIPS Magazine - April-June 2007
It was June 18, 1988, when the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management chartered the establishment of the Department of the Navy Information Technology (DON IT) Umbrella Program with acquisition approval authority designated by the Assistant Secretary of the Navy Research, Development and Acquisition and the Chief of Naval Operations.

Since 1988, the Umbrella Program has assisted the Department of Defense (DoD) and DON in making efficient use of IT dollars. The Umbrella Program provides management, technical expertise and financial resources to support the timely and cost effective placement of acquisition vehicles for hardware, software and services. The Umbrella Program team provides full service from contract conception to the end of contract life.

The team collects and analyzes requirements from you, our customers, and assists with preparation of life cycle documents, Request for Proposal/Request for Quote (RFP/RFQ) and source selection. What's more, we ensure that the products and services under the Umbrella Program comply with DON and DoD IT policies. After contracts have been awarded, our project managers continue to provide world-class customer service.

The Umbrella Program is a member of the DON Enterprise Licensing team, which provides support to the Enterprise Software Initiative and SmartBUY programs. ESI is a joint project designed to implement a true software enterprise management process within the Department of Defense. By pooling commercial software requirements and presenting a single negotiating position to leading software vendors, ESI provides pricing advantages not otherwise available to individual services and agencies.

Agreement negotiations and contracting actions are performed by IT acquisition and contracting professionals within participating DoD services and agencies as software project managers (SPM). Go to the ESI Web site for detailed information at http://www.esi.mil.

The ESI is implementing SmartBUY for DoD. SmartBUY is an initiative of the federal government to support effective enterprise level software management. The General Services Administration is designated as executive agent in coordination with the Office of Management and Budget. Its purpose is to consolidate the purchasing power of the federal government by combining volume requirements to obtain optimal pricing and preferred terms and conditions for widely used commercial-off-the-shelf software.

Easy Shopping

Through the ITEC Direct storefront, available at http://www.itec-direct.navy.mil, customers can make direct purchases using the government credit card; contact SPMs and obtain customer service; browse our product line; review policy notices; and access small business contracts.

ITEC Direct offers easy to use point and click shopping to great values on the items you need most. But the DON IT Umbrella Program is so much more than just a convenient way to order hardware, software, office products and services.

Agile business systems and net-centric operations require robust, integrated standards-compliant tools, and that's what the Umbrella Program delivers. The Umbrella Program combines the systematic business strategies of the DoD and DON into a customer friendly solution that means big savings for you in both time and money.

As a key component of the ESI, the Umbrella Program fulfills the Navy's duties as the executive agent for office automation tools, enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and enterprise application integration software.

ESI product agreements include: the entire Microsoft product line; Section 508 tools; Adobe; Oracle; Novell; TOWER Software; Business Objects' Crystal Reports and Crystal Enterprise; Telelogic; NetIQ; Symantec; Quest Software; Red Hat Linux; WinZip; Gartner Research and Advisory Services; IBM; BEA; SAP; and COTS system integration.

Policy Guidance

In addition to each service component's implementing guidance and policy, the Defense Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) Subpart 208.74 provides policy and procedural guidance. In addition, the recent reissue of the Defense Acquisition System Policy (DoD 5000 series) mandates the leveraging of, and coordination with the DoD ESI when the use of commercial IT is considered viable.

Other guidance includes the policy memo, "DoD Support for the SmartBUY Initiative," issued Dec. 22, 2005, which spells out specific procedures for all DoD in regard to purchasing licenses for commercial software. Finally, relevant provisions of the DoD Chief Information Officer Guidance and Policy Memorandum of July 26, 2000, may also be incorporated into software directives and instructions.

Ordering is decentralized, but contracting officers can contact the procuring contracting officer or project manager identified on the Umbrella Program Web site or in the body of the contract or BPA for assistance.

If you have a requirement for software that is not on the ESI list of "Designated Software," but think it is a good candidate for a DoD-wide Enterprise Software Agreement, you can submit your recommendation via the ESI Web site at http://www.esi.mil. We welcome your feedback!

Periodically, the Umbrella team hears from our customers that they can find products on the DON IT Umbrella Program vehicles for less money by using other purchasing methods. However, we usually find that when the vehicle terms and conditions are reviewed that you can't beat the Umbrella Program prices. Make sure that when you are reviewing terms and conditions that you are comparing apples to apples in a cost comparison. Terms and conditions are a significant factor in pricing!

For example, the ESI has terms that allow transferability within the user base. In this way, software which is no longer needed by the purchasing organization can be redeployed to other organizations within the DON or DoD. The DoD and DON can reap substantial cost avoidance savings by sharing assets within its organizations. Software asset management is something that the DON and DoD are pursuing, and our terms and conditions allow that tracking.

In other cases, maybe the warranty period is longer than a lower priced product vendor. There can be many details that influence price, and it is best to understand those by talking with the cognizant project manager. Your feedback helps us in our research and future discussions with vendors. Vendors in the Umbrella Program are selected by various methods: competition, the sales model of the original equipment manufacturer, e.g., direct sales, reseller or distributor models, and more.

The Umbrella Program is also the proud sponsor of CHIPS, the DON's information technology magazine, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, and the DON IT Umbrella Program Web site. Both are valuable resources for you. The Umbrella Web site contains purchasing guidance and information about the products and vendors in the Umbrella program.

We are continuously reviewing requirements, which we receive from DoD to determine the products you need most, so please call us for assistance with all your IT needs.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you!

DON IT Umbrella Program manager Linda Greenwade (standing) and contract specialist, Sylvia Johnson, from the Information Management (IM)/Information Technology (IT) Department of Naval Inventory Control Point, Mechanicsburg, respond to questions from the audience at the DON IM and IT Conference Umbrella Program Update in February. The Umbrella Program team will deliver another program update at the DON IM and IT Conference to be held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center June 18-21, 2007, in Virginia Beach, Va.
DON IT Umbrella Program manager Linda Greenwade (standing) and contract specialist, Sylvia Johnson, from the Information Management (IM)/Information Technology (IT) Department of Naval Inventory Control Point, Mechanicsburg, respond to questions from the audience at the DON IM and IT Conference Umbrella Program Update in February. The Umbrella Program team will deliver another program update at the DON IM and IT Conference to be held at the Virginia Beach Convention Center June 18-21, 2007, in Virginia Beach, Va.
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CHIPS is an official U.S. Navy website sponsored by the Department of the Navy (DON) Chief Information Officer, the Department of Defense Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) and the DON's ESI Software Product Manager Team at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific.

Online ISSN 2154-1779; Print ISSN 1047-9988