ARMY COMPUTER HARDWARE, ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS Contract Report
Inside: The Primary Source s2 • Consolidated Buy = Additional Discounts s6 it e-mart v2: Improving Your Online Shopping Experience s8 • Working For You s9
1105 Government Information Group Custom Report
The Primary Source The Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) mission is to support all Army customers’ commercial IT requirements – quickly and economically. ear after year, Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) delivers the Army community savings and added value. So much so that CHESS has been designated by the Army secretary as the Army’s “primary source” for commercial IT. It is a task CHESS product leaders do not take lightly. They constantly conduct market research and monitor federal, DOD and Army computer policies and industry trends. This is so they can negotiate and refresh contracts to provide better value. CHESS is aligned under the Program Executive Officer, Enterprise Information Systems (PEO EIS). To achieve its mission, CHESS has joined with other Army Knowledge Management (AKM) partners including the Army Chief Information Officer (CIO/G6), the Installation Management Agency (IMA) and NETCOM. Together they make available policy compliant and architecturally sound IT enterprise solutions to Army installations worldwide.
The New Memo/Policy Revision The Army’s commitment to CHESS as its “primary source” for procuring commercial IT hardware and software was reaffirmed in a recent memo issued May 4, 2009 by the CIO/G6, in conjunction with the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology,
Dean Popps. The memo – Use of Computer Hardware, Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) as the Primary Source for Procuring Commercial Information Technology (IT) Hardware and Software – reiterates to Army leaders “of the requirement for all commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, desktops, notebook computers and video teleconferencing equipment regardless of dollar value to be purchased through CHESS.” The memo can be downloaded from the CHESS website at https://chess.army.mil. Expanding Awareness According to CHESS officials, while the Army’s IT community was already very familiar with CHESS and the existing Army Regulation (25-1, Knowledge Management and Information Technology) requiring the use of CHESS, the same level of awareness did not exist across other functional areas. Issuance by the Army’s top acquisition executive greatly expands the awareness. Most Army users already knew CHESS as the number one source for great pricing on COTS IT. However, the memo further emphasized “the benefits of using CHESS equipment and software to improve the Army’s security posture and enable interoperability across the Army.” Using CHESS greatly facilitates asset management and
Attend Army CHESS at LandWarNet 2009, Fort Lauderdale, August 18-20 The CHESS vision is clear: To be the Army enterprise single center of excellence for commercial IT acquisition through continuously competitive contracts that provide economical, value-added, networthy IT products and superior, performancebased IT services based on Army and DOD policy and standards compliance. To make that vision a reality, CHESS has formed partnerships to provide the best possible service to customers and maximize their buying power. Partners include: Army CIO/G6 at the Pentagon; Networks Command (NETCOM) and the Technology Integration Center at Fort Huachuca; the DOD Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI); the U.S. Army Contracting Agency (ACA); and the Information
Technology E-Commerce and Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) headquartered in Virginia. CHESS is also partnering this year with the LandWarNet 2009 Conference in a unified effort to communicate commercial best business practices and implementation in support of CIO/G-6 enterprise strategy to government and industry. This move is aligned with the vision set forth in the Army CIO/G-6 500-Day Plan, to deliver a joint net-centric information enterprise that enables Warfighter decision superiority. For online registration & additional information for the LandWarNet conference, visit www.afcea.org/events/landwar net/08/intro.asp or email [email protected]
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information assurance as it expands awareness of what’s being connected to the Army’s LandWarNet. Additions and Subtractions As a result of these new policy revisions, the $25,000 threshold that had previously triggered the requirement to use CHESS has been lifted. The May 4 memo explicitly addresses service contracts, stating “hardware and software purchased as part of an IT services acquisition, from any
CHESS supports the Army’s Warfighter Information Dominance objectives by developing, implementing, and managing IT contracts that provide comprehensive hardware and software solutions. source, must also be acquired through CHESS.” Prime contractors on non-CHESS service contract vehicles may be authorized by their contracting officers to order through CHESS contract vehicles according to the Army. At the same time, the memo will help the Army meet its three percent statutory goal for participation of Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Businesses, as well as other small business category goals, “with CHESS as the preferred source if no capability exists through those sources.” Constant Collaboration The CHESS mission statement is “to support the Army’s Warfighter Information Dominance objectives by developing, implementing and managing IT contracts that provide comprehensive hardware and software solutions with enterprise-focused support services within the Army Knowledge Enterprise Architecture.” That statement flows directly from the missions, strategic plans and scorecards of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, (ASAALT) and PEO EIS. As Army goals and objectives evolve, CHESS will adapt. CHESS’ success has been based on maintaining close working relationships with
both the Army’s required generating activities – Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) and the office of the CIO/G-6 – and its industry partners. CHESS engages in constant collaboration with every major COTS IT equipment manufacturer and their vendors and conducts market research through the Information Systems Engineering Command (ISEC). Finally, customers provide feedback both personally and through the online it e-mart which currently has more than 575,000 registered users. The bottom line according to CHESS is “as the Army’s number one source for IT (including hardware, software and support services), their years of experience conducting market research, negotiation and continuous contract refresh pays off in the dollar savings and added value they provide the Army community year after year.” Again this year, through the CHESS Consolidated Buy (CB) period which runs through September 30, 2009, they are providing the Army with a window to leverage its buying power for desktop and notebook computers. (See related article on page s5) That’s one more way CHESS saves dollars and adds value. ❑
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Consolidated Buy = Additional Discounts Until September 30, 2009, the CHESS Consolidated Buy-9 (CB-9) is in full swing. or Army desktop and notebook computer buyers, when the temperatures heat up, so do the values – in other words, hot buys and cool discounts! The annual Consolidated Buy (CB) period provides the Army with a window to leverage its already huge buying power for even better deals on desktop and notebook computers. Right now, CHESS’ Army Desktop and Mobile Computing-2 (ADMC-2) vendors are providing CB discounts on top of the already low pre-negotiated prices for state-of-the-art, commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products. CB discounts generate significant cost avoidance for the Army. The previous eight CBs totaled more than $170 million. “The CB is a win-win for customers and contracting officers,” said Michelina LaForgia, CHESS Project Director. “The Information Technology, E-Commerce and the Commercial Contracting Center (ITEC4) solicits the requirements and contracting officers worldwide need only access the CHESS Web site (it e-mart at https://chess.army.mil) to view a side-by-side comparison of specs and prices, evaluate [them] in accordance with their local procedures and place an order.” Army customers will need to coordinate their desktop and notebook acquisitions through their local Directorate of Information Management (DOIM) or equivalent activity for National Guard and Reserve, in accordance with Army Regulation 25-1.
New For CB-9 New for this CB are categories for an all-in-one desktop and Apple product offers. Three desktop and four notebook configurations are available with options and upgrades from multiple leading technology vendors (original equipment manufacturers or resellers) including CDW-G, Dell, EMTEC, HP, ITG, NCS Technologies, Telos and Transource. All desktops and notebooks are pre-loaded with the latest version of the Army Golden Master (AGM). They meet or exceed the minimum requirements of the latest Army Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army) Technical Authority Implementation Memorandum, which established the Army Enterprise Desktop Standardization. CHESS implemented the extremely cost-effective CB process in direct support of the Army Chief Information
Officer (CIO/G-6) strategy for leveraging the Army’s buying power in acquiring COTS computer technology. A CIO/G-6 memorandum re-issued on July 30, 2007, requires that all Army desktops and notebooks be purchased through the CHESS CB program. Exceptions may be granted for mission critical requirements (between CBs), non-CB configurations and mandatory OCONUS host country agreements. Exceptions are issued by the requiring activity and approved by an O6/GS-15 or higher. Approval must be obtained prior to procuring desktops or notebooks outside the CB.
The annual CB period provides the Army with a window to leverage its already huge buying power for even better deals on desktop and notebook computers.
Throughout its history, the CB has been extremely successful with Army customers. No Army user is left out of sharing in savings that usually accrue to only the larger volume buyers. It consolidates the Army’s total requirements, gets exceptional pricing from its prime vendors, and allows the buyer of one system to get volume buyer pricing. Army customers can view the CB products on the CHESS it e-mart at https://chess.army.mil. Here a web-based tool allows customers to easily compare the CB offerings from various vendors in order to make their award determination. To view CB-9 specifications, products and prices, go to the CHESS website https://chess.army.mil and click on the “Consolidated Buy” link under the browse area on this page. ❑
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it e-mart v2: Improving Your Online Shopping Experience it e-mart v2 consists of updated hardware and robust e-commerce software to provide a streamlined shopping process. egardless of dollar value, all commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software, desktops, notebook computers and video teleconferencing equipment are to be purchased through CHESS. The May 4, 2009 memo from Dean Popps, Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology, cemented CHESS as the Army’s primary source for buying commercial IT. As a result, PD CHESS, anticipating an increase in business, has upgraded its web site, from the it e-mart to it e-mart v2. Help desk support has been expanded and processes streamlined allowing for automated waivers to be sent to customers who cannot fulfill mission requirements through CHESS contracts.
it e-mart v2 is easy to navigate, thus allowing customers to quickly locate and compare products and services from multiple vendors, create shopping carts and place orders. At the same time, CHESS is also drafting instructions to make the user experience as simple as possible. CHESS officials said the website will include frequently asked questions (FAQs) with responses that clarify instances when no waiver is required. Examples will include contracts for items the Army has assigned to other program offices, such as mobile phones and ancillary non-computing items like cables.
it e-mart v2 CHESS has been working with industry leaders on the new it e-mart, the home of the Army’s e-commerce site for commercial IT hardware, software and services. “it e-mart v2 consists of updated hardware and robust e-commerce software to provide a streamlined shopping process that is easy to navigate, thus allowing customers to quickly locate and compare products and services from multiple vendors, create shopping carts and place orders,” according to officials. it e-mart v2 will also consist of innovative features improving the online shopping experience. One of these
features will be a site map, a “navigation aid which allows a customer to quickly choose an area of the website with one click of the mouse,” according to CHESS leaders. Additional enhancements will allow for self-service and Oracle License Transfer functions. Self-service allows a customer to ask a question and receive a list of answers based on relevancy. If the question is not answered, it will be routed to an expert for the answer. The Oracle License Transfer will allow customers to easily transfer unused Oracle licenses to another organizations thus saving the Army from purchasing another license. Software Exchange Another new feature according to CHESS is the software exchange where customers can swap software. For example a customer who no longer has a requirement for particular software can post the information on the CHESS it e-mart v2 and another customer can pick-up the license for the cost of maintenance only. Software licenses on the software exchange have transferability rights included. At the same time, CHESS is continuing to work with the DOD ESI joint program and the federal SmartBUY program to award and manage software contracts and agreements to supporting the federal government. Future ESI requirements include addressing a net-centric license model which will enable organizations within and outside DOD to share information without licensing constraints. Experience it e-mart v2 The CHESS customer online experience allows order tracking and follow-up through the website; and provides for quick posting of the latest contract modifications on new, leading edge technology. With the CHESS it e-mart v2 customers can order IT products and services, request quotes from vendors and search across contracts right from their computer via the internet. To date it e-mart v2 has been very successful according to CHESS officials. Within the four weeks of coming online there have been 5,570 new registrations bringing the total of current registered customers to 576,417. There have also been 7,773 requests for quotes submitted and 27,290 distinct logins within the first four weeks.1 ❑ 1
Source: CHESS; as of June 8, 2009
1105 Government Information Group Custom Report
Working For You Product leaders spend countless hours negotiating better solutions, solving problems and doing their best to make sure Army missions are delivered on time and within budget. n the world of contracting, as in everything else, the only constant is change. If you looked inside the CHESS program headquarters you would find product leaders conducting market research, keeping abreast of governmentwide policies and investigating industry trends. You may find them working on a new contract or blanket purchase agreement (BPA). They might be talking with customers around the world trying to project what their future requirements are, as well as tending to their immediate needs. They spend countless hours negotiating better solutions, solving problems and doing their best to make sure Army missions are delivered on time and within budget. They also ensure that COTS products adhere to the required DOD open systems plans and policies, as well as all other required Army standards. Here is a small sample of what they have achieved.
Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC), Vista and EPEAT The security configuration established by the Federal Desktop Core Configuration (FDCC) has been incorporated within the Army Golden Master (AGM). According to CHESS leaders, all desktops and notebooks are loaded with a FDCC compliant version of the AGM. In preparation for the Army’s migration to the Vista operating system, all CB configurations comply or exceed the Microsoft’s requirements for “Windows Vista Premium Ready.” These mandatory hardware requirements include a minimum of 1 GB of system memory, DirectX 9 class graphical processing unit that supports WDDM driver, pixel shader, and 128MB of graphics memory. All desktops and notebooks also are required to be equipped with a trusted platform module (version 1.2) so that users will be able to leverage the BitLocker encryption feature within Vista. On the green computing front, CHESS has required compliance with EPA Energy Star standards. Further, when the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) became mandatory, all CHESS vendors submitted platforms during the spring CB that were EPEAT compliant. New Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) Agreements As the Army’s Software Product Manager, CHESS participates with other DOD service counterparts in establishing and monitoring new agreements. According to CHESS, recent product awards include the following
products: Belmange, BMC Remedy, Big Fix, BDNA, Opsware, VMware, Websense, Thursby CAC Middleware for Apple computers and Microsoft Premier Support contract. Spotlighting a few of the product awardees, the Thursby software will provide access to the Army’s network for Apple computers purchased from the CHESS CB or for customers who currently own Apple computers. CHESS has also consolidated the Army’s requirements for Symantec backup software for both maintenance and new products and for Minitab Lean Six Sigma software.
CHESS engages in constant collaboration with every major COTS IT equipment manufacturer and their vendors.
The ESI agreements also include software products that are in the Army’s inventory or are included in the software exchange status. If a customer has a requirement for a software product that the Army already has in inventory, they must purchase the software from them before purchasing from any other source. Software products that are currently in inventory include: Citrix, Sybase, and Computer Associates licenses. For more information, visit CHESS at https://chess.army.mil. ❑
army computer hardware, enterprise software solutions - Washington ...
1105 Government Information Group Custom Report
ARMY COMPUTER HARDWARE, ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE SOLUTIONS Contract Report
Inside: The Primary Sou...