Vanstar sets fed sights on product integration

Following its acquisition of federal reseller Sysorex Information Systems Inc. Vanstar Corp. plans to capitalize on what chief executive officer William Tauscher sees as an opening for product integration and infrastructure support services in the federal market.

In addition to making Sysorex a division of Vanstar the parent company also has created a wholly owned subsidiary called Vanstar Federal Inc. which will direct Vanstar's activity in the federal market. Carleton Jones president of Sysorex and the rest of Sysorex's management team will oversee this subsidiary which among other tasks will look for new acquisitions.Vanstar acquired Sysorex earlier this month with a cash payment and debt assumption of about $46 million [FCW July 14].

According to Tauscher who also serves as Vanstar's chairman of the board a gap exists between resellers that push out commodity hardware and software products and the systems integrators that provide off-the-shelf product integration as part of larger integration lines of work.

In the commercial market Vanstar has developed two "megacenters" that are tooled to carry out a full range of services from PC integration to centralized help desks and other management services. With some "significant infrastructure investment " Vanstar plans to make Sysorex's Winchester Va. manufacturing facility into the Vanstar's megacenter for the federal market Tauscher said.

Vanstar also will expand Sysorex's presence in the field nationwide. Vanstar plans to leverage its state and local offices - part of the company's Government Systems Group - to support Sysorex's federal customers. "We will quadruple their sales force overnight " Tauscher said.

Vanstar believes federal agencies are looking for vendors to provide product integration and other support services as a way to reduce their own financial and management burden. But to date "there was a plethora of solutions providers but there was not anybody who really staked out a dramatic position in doing product integration and supply to the federal government " Tauscher said.

Vanstar believes Sysorex with a string of contract wins in the last year has emerged as the leading contender in this midtier services market. Among its contracts is the $1.5 billion Department of Veterans Affairs' Procurement of Computer Hardware and Software program.

Although such integrators at Litton/PRC Inc. and Science Applications International Corp. do such work as part of their integration business product integration remains a side business for them Tauscher said. Vanstar is structured specifically to carry out this work and to do so in a cost-effective manner he said.

Mark Amtower a consultant based in Ashton Md. said product integration "is definitely a sizable part of the federal market " but one that is being addressed. While the market may lack the large presence of a Vanstar it does feature a couple hundred smaller firms that integrators frequently rely on for support services Amtower said.

In addition to pursuing new indefinite-delivery indefinite-quantity contracts and schedule business Vanstar is interested in the General Services Administration's Seat Management procurement and similar opportunities.IT managers are becoming aware "that there is a model developing that is available to them where there are people like us who can take the burden off them and run it in a very effective way " Tauscher said. "Seat Management at the end of the day is simply the high-end and most complete offering " he said.

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