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Spring 2004
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Esri Selected as First in SmartBUY Program

By purchasing common software applications in the biggest bulk possible, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) intends to lower the cost of software for individual government agencies and save taxpayers millions of dollars. In a step in that direction, on February13, 2004, Esri became the first SmartBUY vendor. The agreement negotiated by the General Services Administration (GSA) will represent a savings of approximately $57 million during the five-year life of the contract.

The U.S. federal government spends billions of dollars annually on information technology (IT) products and services. Millions of desktop, laptop, and networked computers serve as essential tools for carrying out the missions of federal agencies while geospatial information has become an essential part of the overall infrastructure.

After determining that an uncoordinated approach to acquiring thousands of software licenses for federal agencies was wasteful and ineffective and that a more efficient procurement method was needed, OMB created the SmartBUY initiative in June 2003. GSA has the authority to implement the program and provides a Web survey to agencies that helps federal agencies (1) determine the number of existing software agreements, prices, and future needs; (2) develop governmentwide agreements; and (3) integrate software licenses.

Esri is the sixth largest software provider to the federal government based on the GSA Federal Supply Service schedule. It was a likely choice as the first participant in the SmartBUY program because 28 agencies were already using Esri technology.

The SmartBUY agreement was in the works for approximately six months as GSA worked with the three agencies that already had existing enterprise agreements with Esri—the Census Bureau and the departments of Agriculture and the Interior. The existing enterprise agreements were migrated to SmartBUY status, and GSA worked out three other enterprise deals with SmartBUY terms, which included the Environmental Protection Agency.

Savings and Benefits

The Esri SmartBUY contract provides significant savings to the federal government through the Esri Federal GIS Program, providing immediate and unlimited enterprise deployments of the Esri GIS suite of software to participating agencies. These participants will receive additional benefits including access to a special Web site to manage keycodes, convenient software packaging, and a no cost subscription to Esri's Virtual Campus for Esri authored courses.

Because GIS plays a vital role in understanding the scope of an emergency, its spread, damage potential, population displacement, risk to human life, and the allocation of resources, the SmartBUY contract also includes a special emergency support provision for agencies responding to brief events that require immediate response.

An added plus to the SmartBUY agreement is Esri's commitment to support open standards. Esri offers the most complete, standards-based commercial GIS software available. It is based on interoperability standards from the Federal Geographic Data Committee, International Standards Organization, Open GIS Consortium, and more than 20 other standards organizations. Esri's technology is based on IT standards widely adopted by the federal government including Web service, SQL, XML, and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).

Agencies without the need for an enterprisewide agreement can still purchase Esri software from Esri's GSA schedule, but all are eligible to take advantage of the SmartBUY program. To enter into a SmartBUY enterprise agreement, agencies must work with Esri to identify current agency usage and forecast software needs for the following years.

For more information, contact Jody Ferrao, Esri (e-mail: jferrao@esri.com).

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