McKeever fine-tunes AT&T org

ATLANTA— About six months after accepting the post of president of AT&T Government Markets, Mary Jane McKeever said she has improved service to federal agencies by reducing the layers of her organization's reporting structure and by aligning the group as a whole more closely with AT&T headquarters.

McKeever arrived at AT&T Government Markets at a time when the unit was still feeling the adverse effects of its problems meeting deadlines for installation of

the Defense Information Systems Network Transmission Services-Continental United States and for moving the Treasury Department to the company's FTS 2000 network.

One of the first things McKeever did to improve the company's relationships with its federal customers was to remove a layer of bureaucracy that stood between McKeever's office and AT&T's Customer Care group. The group, which is responsible for handling requests for service from federal customers, now reports directly to McKeever, she said.

"I think there is a direct cause-and-effect [relationship] between that and customer satisfaction issues," McKeever said during the FTS 2000 Users Forum here. "We've made some tremendous strides in provisioning improvements."

Dennis Fischer, commissioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service, said in a recent interview that he has been encouraged by McKeever's actions.

"I think Mary Jane is putting a lot of emphasis on operational problems— provisioning, customer service— those things that perhaps had gotten a little lax," Fischer said. "She seems to be very interested in FTS."

When AT&T slashed its FTS 2000 long-

distance rates to rock bottom a couple of years ago, the company captured more than three- quarters of the network's traffic, leaving Sprint with about 20 percent.

But observers said the plan became a double-edged sword when the company's commercial customers began demanding the same low prices AT&T offered to the government.

Not surprisingly then, another of McKeever's priorities was to "tighten the linkage" between the Government Markets organization and the company's corporate structure. She said the arrangement allows her organization to "gain insight" from experts at AT&T headquarters but also allows her staff to share its expertise on leading-edge federal applications with the rest of the company.

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