Why Doesn’t the Government Use OpenOffice?

From time immemorial, people have complained about wasteful government spending. Congress is continually looking for programs to cut and budgets to reduce, yet we continue to spend millions of dollars on software we could get for virtually free. Take Apache OpenOffice for example. Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, and databases. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics, today there are over 22 million people employed by federal, state and local government in the United States.  Microsoft Office 2016 Professional retails at $399.00 in the Microsoft store. To upgrade everyone to the latest software package, it would cost $8.8B. Sure there are discounts for buying in bulk but even at %50 off, it would cost  over $4B. To upgrade to the latest OpenOffice software, it would cost ZERO in software. Just by making this one software decision, State, Local and Federal government could literally save billions.

Sure there are some costs required for installing the software and training the employees. Every organization what conducts migration to OpenOffice.org faces with the opposition of existing users who settle down to other office suites and don’t want to change their habits. But training is an ongoing cost anyway since new employees are continually entering the workforce and the current office suites are continually changing their software.

In Europe, over the last 10 years there has been a grass roots transition to OpenOffice. Many city governments […]

Part 3: Tera-Scope Contracts and Risk

In Parts 1 and 2 of this series we talked about the contractor and Government perspectives of setting up for, releasing and responding to a Tera-Scope contract opportunity.  Now let’s talk about the high risks associated with putting together such a complicated contractual arrangement.

For several decades the Federal Government has employed Long Term Contracts in order to found relationships with a vendor or vendors for a long period of time.  Task orders are issued against the contracts for work as needs arise.  This saves the Government from repeating the full acquisition process over and over.  Sometimes only the founding Agency can order from the contract.  If ordering is open outside the founding Agency it qualifies as a Government-Wide Acquisition contract (GWAC).   I’m calling a Tera-Scope contract a Long Term Contract where the Government combines every conceivable IT service under one umbrella that requires each offeror to respond to all task areas.  This necessitates Teaming in order to present an excellent proposal in every regard.  For Tera-Scope opportunities where you must respond to all task areas a company cannot afford to be “just okay” in any one of them.  The main difference for a Tera-Scope is that the range of tasks included is very broad – even vast.

In responding to a Tera-Scope RFP proposals must detail why a Team is high quality and high value for every aspect of the Tera-Scope.  Once everything is written and submitted it may still be a while before a decision is made by the Government.  A recently publicized Tera-Scope draft RFP comes with a timeline of 12 months for evaluation and selection of teams for award.  Make sure you understand the termination provisions of your Teaming Agreements. You don’t […]

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