Netscape signs PRC for services

In anticipation of playing a much bigger role in the enterprise computing environments of federal agencies Netscape Communications Corp. has selected Litton/PRC Inc. as its "preferred services provider" for the federal market.

As part of the new partnership PRC will provide trained teams of engineers to assist federal agencies that are building and deploying complex Internet-based applications using Netscape's growing suite of products.

Netscape which already uses BTG Inc. as its preferred federal reseller forged the alliance with PRC because it foresees the opportunity for the Internet to become "a unifying technology" that ties together the government's many computing platforms said Kevin Fitzgerald vice president of Netscape's eastern region based in Bethesda Md.

"It would be unrealized potential unless we could bring together the market infrastructure immediately to support those kinds of [technology deployments] " Fitzgerald said.

Austin Yerks senior vice president of business and sales development at PRC said the company has set up a business unit to do business under the Netscape alliance. He said PRC will initially staff the unit with 30 to 40 individuals but he added that hundreds of PRC employees could ultimately become involved. The business unit is managed by PRC vice president Hal Wilson.

"We view this as our most important strategic alliance that we are working on right now " Yerks said. The program will target state and local governments as well as the federal government he said.

Netscape's product offering - based on its SuiteSpot server software and Communicator client software - also continues to expand. In addition to its recently announced Netcaster technology for broadcasting information to Internet users Netscape this year will announce a new Fortezza-enabled version of its Communicator messaging technology.

Netscape is assembling all the pieces necessary for agencies or corporations to deploy sophisticated Internet-based applications. The company now provides calendar software software-based security certificate services for security functions and other features tailored to support large groups of networked users.

Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen said the "internetworked" environment goes far beyond the capabilities available in either the mainframe or traditional client/server environment.

Unlike either the tightly controlled mainframe environment or the loosely controlled PC environment the Internet provides large organizations with much more flexibility for providing or restricting user access to information or network resources allowing them to build complex environments without the fear of losing control of networked resources. "The net effect is users now have more information at their fingertips than ever before " Andreessen said.

"What Netscape has is a phenomenal set of products " Yerks said. In picking PRC as its preferred service provider "they recognize that they don't want a labor-based consulting infrastructure."

Yerks said he expects the company to offer Netscape services under such contracts as its MISTS II pact with the Air Force and its General Services Administration schedule.

Cora Carmody PRC's chief information officer said PRC will provide a range of services including network site surveys network installation World Wide Web server installation and training. Other services could include software development to Internet-enable an agency's applications. "We have a lot of in-depth mission knowledge " Carmody said. "With this knowledge we can integrate Internet technology into the missions [agencies] carry out."

The alliance comes at a time when Netscape's presence in the federal market continues to grow. Last month the Defense Logistics Agency awarded Netscape an enterprise software license covering server software and as many as 30 000 Navigator clients. DLA now joins agencies - such as the Defense Information Systems Agency the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA - that have standardized on Netscape software.

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