CINEMA sales fall flat at GSA
"Things are picking up with regard to orders," Bonos said. "When this contract was awarded, many agencies had services in place already. Now, as their agreements are coming up for renewal, they are coming to CINEMA. ~"We have several large orders pending for Internet services," he added. "Things are going to break open, and we are prepared to provide the services once agencies identify their requirements and come to us to fulfill them." ~Frank Lalley, associate dep-uty assistant secretary for telecommunications at the Department of Veterans Affairs and former chairman of the IMC, said he believes FTS and the CINEMA vendors must do a better job of marketing the services to agencies. Lalley, who will start a job this month at the FTS Office of Service Delivery, said personnel involved with the program should focus more on agencies' requirements. ~Sidney Smith, director of government sales at Isocor, which provides X.400 messaging software to Advantis for CINEMA users, said most customers are not aware of the contracts and are doing their own e-mail initiatives. He also said the contracts should allow users to buy equipment to replace their existing messaging backbones. ~"If an agency has 1,500 users and wants a robust X.400 messaging solution, it's tough to do that under CINEMA," Smith said. ~Bonos said CINEMA is service-based but includes provisions to allow vendors to sell equipment. But he said no agencies have notified FTS of a requirement for equipment.Despite projections by the General Services Administration that a governmentwide contract offering electronic commerce, Internet access and e-mail services would bring in $600 million over five years, the program has netted only about $500,000 after nearly a year.
In April 1997, GSA awarded the Commerce, Internet, Electronic Mail Access (CINEMA) contracts to BTG Inc., Vienna, Va., and Advantis, Schaumberg, Ill. The program was initiated by GSA's Federal Technology Service at the request of members of the Interagency Management Council, which is a group of agency executives who focus on telecommunications issues.
No "Quick Start" Yet
Bob Woods, who headed FTS when the CINEMA awards were made and who now serves as president and chief operating officer at market research firm Federal Sources Inc., said he was surprised that the agencies that had demanded the program subsequently failed to embrace it. "It has not gotten off to a very quick start," Woods acknowledged. "I attribute that to the fact that agencies don't have a comprehensive strategy for Internet access yet.
"This was a contract that the IMC was most vocal on, and I worry about whether the companies involved will lose faith," Woods said.
Eugene Bonos, the CINEMA program manager at FTS, said he believes sales will pick up in the coming year as agencies' existing contracts for Internet access expire and as the demand for electronic commerce increases. He added that most of the business funneled through CINEMA so far has occurred in the past three months.