Light on its feet

Information technology companies are using the momentum of procurement reform to restructure, readjust and rethink the way they go after federal IT business, which has become more freewheeling and less hampered by bureaucratic red tape.

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"On a roll"

Information technology companies are using the momentum of procurement reform

to restructure, readjust and rethink the way they go after federal IT business,

which has become more freewheeling and less hampered by bureaucratic red

tape.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. is no exception.

In October 1998, EDS restructured its Government Services Group to reflect

changes in the way federal, state and local governments procure IT services.

As part of that move, EDS consolidated separate business units that previously

served military agencies, civilian federal agencies, and state and local

agencies into a single government group. The goal, officials said, was to

make the company more flexible and responsive to customer needs.

EDS strategy is what Ray Bjorklund, vice president of consulting services

at the federal marketing and research firm Federal Sources Inc., calls a

"classic re-engineering" to adapt to the new federal market. "Theyve learned

how to be more agile, more adaptable to todays federal buyer, who tends

to go to the task order or [General Services Administration] schedule buys,"

Bjorklund said. "They have kind of done away with their product lines. In

doing so, [theyre]...doing what they do best, which is stick with the solutions."

The strategy seems to be paying off. EDS climbed to fourth place on

Federal Computer Weeks list of Top 20 Systems Integrators, collecting $423

million in federal IT revenue for fiscal 1999. The company posted $248 million

in fiscal 1998, which placed it sixth among all federal integrators, according

to the research firm Eagle Eye Publishers Inc. To boost its presence in

the federal market, the company has begun to add former federal IT executives

to its workforce. Most recently, EDS hired Margaret Evans, former acting

deputy associate for national security at the Office of Management and

Budget, to handle information assurance and intelligence. Anne Reed, former

chief information officer at the Agriculture Department, and Carla von Bernewitz,

former CIO at the Defense Logistics Agency, have also joined EDS.

The company has worked to learn about agency needs and to respond quickly,

said Bill Dvoranchik, president of EDS Federal. "Knowledge of the customer

becomes more important than ever," he said. "You have to be able to instantaneously

respond to customers. If you cant be world-class in your delivery, everything

else is going to fall by the wayside."

EDS has been tapped as one of five prime vendors for GSAs $1.5 billion

governmentwide Smart Access Common Identification contract and one of 11

companies to provide information security services to the Defense Information

Systems Agency under a $1.5 billion contract.

GSA also selected EDS as one of nine companies to work on a reverse

auction pilot designed to allow government buyers to drive down the prices

of goods by allowing vendors to bid on them online. In addition, EDS has

teamed with WorldCom Inc. and Raytheon Co. to bid for the $16 billion Navy/Marine

Corps Intranet contract, scheduled to be awarded this month. The N/MCI contract

is an example of a job where EDS can apply its expertise in large-scale

communications work, Dvoranchik said.

"I look at that as a great program...that brings structure and disci-pline...and

will be heralded as a cost-saver, but will give the war-fighter the ability

to move information where it needs to go in a timely manner," he said.

The EDS federal unit can also tap the resources and experience of the

companys global government group, which is tackling jobs such as an enterprisewide

project for Great Britains equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service,

Dvoranchik said. "Theres a full-court press making sure we are staying

current," he said.

Other focus areas for EDS include distance learning and information

assurance in the federal IT arena, Dvoranchik said. The firm wants to expand

on the concept of its National Guard Distance Learning Network. EDS engineers

have connected hundreds of facilities to bring National guardsmen virtual

learning via multimedia combat situations, interactive tutorials and other

high-tech training courses.

"Theres a lot of talk about how you get more people in the armed services

to stay," Dvoranchik said. "One incentive to stay is to offer more training."Information technology companies are using the momentum of procurement reform

to restructure, readjust and rethink the way they go after federal IT business,

which has become more freewheeling and less hampered by bureaucratic red

tape.

Electronic Data Systems Corp. is no exception.

In October 1998, EDS restructured its Government Services Group to reflect

changes in the way federal, state and local governments procure IT services.

As part of that move, EDS consolidated separate business units that previously

served military agencies, civilian federal agencies, and state and local

agencies into a single government group. The goal, officials said, was to

make the company more flexible and responsive to customer needs.

EDS strategy is what Ray Bjorklund, vice president of consulting services

at the federal marketing and research firm Federal Sources Inc., calls a

"classic re-engineering" to adapt to the new federal market. "Theyve learned

how to be more agile, more adaptable to todays federal buyer, who tends

to go to the task order or [General Services Administration] schedule buys,"

Bjorklund said. "They have kind of done away with their product lines. In

doing so, [theyre]...doing what they do best, which is stick with the solutions."

The strategy seems to be paying off. EDS climbed to fourth place on

Federal Computer Weeks list of Top 20 Systems Integrators, collecting $423

million in federal IT revenue for fiscal 1999. The company posted $248 million

in fiscal 1998, which placed it sixth among all federal integrators, according

to the research firm Eagle Eye Publishers Inc. To boost its presence in

the federal market, the company has begun to add former federal IT executives

to its workforce. Most recently, EDS hired Margaret Evans, former acting

deputy associate for national security at the Office of Management and

Budget, to handle information assurance and intelligence. Anne Reed, former

chief information officer at the Agriculture Department, and Carla von Bernewitz,

former CIO at the Defense Logistics Agency, have also joined EDS.

The company has worked to learn about agency needs and to respond quickly,

said Bill Dvoranchik, president of EDS Federal. "Knowledge of the customer

becomes more important than ever," he said. "You have to be able to instantaneously

respond to customers. If you cant be world-class in your delivery, everything

else is going to fall by the wayside."

EDS has been tapped as one of five prime vendors for GSAs $1.5 billion

governmentwide Smart Access Common Identification contract and one of 11

companies to provide information security services to the Defense Information

Systems Agency under a $1.5 billion contract.

GSA also selected EDS as one of nine companies to work on a reverse

auction pilot designed to allow government buyers to drive down the prices

of goods by allowing vendors to bid on them online. In addition, EDS has

teamed with WorldCom Inc. and Raytheon Co. to bid for the $16 billion Navy/Marine

Corps Intranet contract, scheduled to be awarded this month. The N/MCI contract

is an example of a job where EDS can apply its expertise in large-scale

communications work, Dvoranchik said.

"I look at that as a great program...that brings structure and disci-pline...and

will be heralded as a cost-saver, but will give the war-fighter the ability

to move information where it needs to go in a timely manner," he said.

The EDS federal unit can also tap the resources and experience of the

companys global government group, which is tackling jobs such as an enterprisewide

project for Great Britains equivalent of the Internal Revenue Service,

Dvoranchik said. "Theres a full-court press making sure we are staying

current," he said.

Other focus areas for EDS include distance learning and information

assurance in the federal IT arena, Dvoranchik said. The firm wants to expand

on the concept of its National Guard Distance Learning Network. EDS engineers

have connected hundreds of facilities to bring National guardsmen virtual

learning via multimedia combat situations, interactive tutorials and other

high-tech training courses.

"Theres a lot of talk about how you get more people in the armed services

to stay," Dvoranchik said. "One incentive to stay is to offer more training."

Harreld is a freelance writer based in Cary, N.C.

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