Northrop Grumman sorts out contract options

When one established company takes over another, the result too often is something less than the original parts, but not in the case of Northrop Grumman Information

Technology.

Beginning life in 1998 as a merger of Northrop Grumman Corp.'s existing information systems business and Logicon Inc., the company has grown into a $4 billion IT giant, absorbing businesses well-known in the government sector, such as Federal Data Corp., Sterling Software's Federal Systems Group and Litton PRC.

What continued to be known as the Logicon group finally became Northrop Grumman IT in 2001. It's now a top-tier integrator for many of the larger federal agencies and a leading supplier of security solutions to the government. It is also becoming a major presence at the state and local level.

Northrop Grumman IT is also a major player in the General Services Administration schedules. In 2001, it posted close to $300 million in schedule sales, and more than $471 million in fiscal 2002.

"As we came together with a lot of legacy companies, we found that many of these had their own schedule contracts and governmentwide acquisition contracts," said Ed Naro, the company's vice president of GSA and indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity programs. "When we made the Litton purchase two years ago, we decided to take these very powerful vehicles and house them all in a program management office, where we could nurture them."

It was understood that these vehicles could become a "force multiplier" when added to the other services and solutions that the company had to offer, he said, but first agencies had to understand how they could be used. The rest of the company also had to be trained in how to use them.

But employees knew the new approach would lead to a range of excellent solutions that could be obtained quickly, Naro said.

"Now this program office manages these vehicles and makes them available to all parts of the company at the 'speed of need,' " he said.

It has meant emphasizing partnerships inside the company and externally with the agencies that oversee the various governmentwide contracts, "and that's all meant a significant realignment" for many people, he said.

Ultimately, however, he believes that's how you have to operate to be successful in the government market.

But such realignments make it easier for companies to handle the changes happening in government procurement. As agencies decide how to use the GSA schedules, governmentwide acquisition contracts and other vehicles, Naro said, the bigger challenge for companies will be to accommodate the speed at which procurements will start to happen.

"All the talk now is about how fast a turnaround you can make" on a procurement, he said. "There's no two-year wait anymore."

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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