RealTime IT News

EDS Protests Its Way Back Into E-Travel System

EDS Corp. has won a contract protest with the federal government, forcing the General Services Administration (GSA) to add the Plano, Tex.-based outsourcing services company to two other companies providing Web-based travel management for public employees.

In August, the GSA awarded a 10-year, $450 million e-travel contract to Northrop Grumman Mission Systems (NGMS) and Carlson Wagonlit Government Travel (CWGT). Later that month, EDS requested the GSA to halt all work under the contract until the General Accounting Office (GAO) could determine if all bids for the contract were properly evaluated.

The GSA opted to re-open the bidding process rather than go through a GAO audit. By early November, the agency decided EDS would join NGMS and CWGT as commercial providers of government travel. According to the GSA, the deal is expected to cut up to 50 percent of federal travel management costs.

EDS is teaming with partners Zegato Solutions of Lanham, Md., and The MIL Corp. of Bowie, Md., offer a wholly-owned, hosted and operated solution called FedTraveler.com that will provide services using a transactional-based pricing model.

The centerpiece of EDS' FedTraveler.com is a travel service provided by Zegato that permits agencies to perform an array of management activities online while following federal travel regulations and procedures. Travel management functions include travel planning and cost estimating, travel authorization, booking of reservations, filing, processing, and approval of official travel claim, data reporting and fulfillment services.

The service is already used in several federal agencies, including the Department of Veterans' Affairs, the U.S. Marshals Service and the International Trade Commission.

To facilitate exchange of travel and financial data between FedTraveler.com and federal agency information systems, EDS will use the integration services of SeeBeyond Technology Corp. of Monrovia, Calif.

E-Travel, one of President Bush's 22 E-Government Initiatives, streamlines and consolidates federal travel operations into a simplified, end-to-end travel management service. The original contract was awarded after a six-month review process conducted by the GSA in collaboration with 22 other agencies.

The new service hopes to leverage best practices in areas such as administration, finance and information technology. E-Travel will be commercially hosted, minimizing federal technology costs, and promises real-time information.

The next step is for selected agencies to launch E-Travel to demonstrate capability before it becomes available government-wide in December. All civilian agencies should be using it by Sept. 30, 2006, under a Federal Travel Regulation proposed revision.