Bell dialing up network services

Realizing it cannot remain competitive supplying only telephone services, Bell Atlantic Federal is transforming itself into a network services provider.

Through its Network Performance Services program, Bell Atlantic Federal has expanded its capabilities to include the analysis, design, implementation, operation and maintenance of agency networks. The company also has established alliances with companies, such as Lucent Technologies and Cisco Systems Inc., that specialize in network products or development.

"We are like the primary-care physician," said Daniel Felder, director of marketing and channel management for Bell Atlantic Federal. "An agency would come to us first and we would assess their needs. If they need a specialist, we would send them to one of the companies we have an alliance with who specializes in what it is they need."

As it gets increasingly difficult to staff government information technology positions, agencies struggle to manage and maintain network systems, Felder said. Agencies thus turn to commercial vendors for their network needs — a situation Bell Atlantic Federal hopes to use to its advantage.

Bell Atlantic Federal is hiring additional staff and changing its hiring criteria, Felder said. The company has also retrained its sales staff to look at an agency's overall network needs, including bandwidth requirements and infrastructure, instead of focusing on the agency's voice systems.

"We have changed our skills requirements and have a different type of employee working here now," he said. "We are looking for people with more network integration experience to help us make this change."

Bell Atlantic Federal's Network Performance Services program offerings include:

    * Acquisition planning

    * Network design and modeling

    * Configuration management plans

    * Vulnerability assessments

    * Remote intrusion detection

    * Database, network and application design

    * Systems testing and training

    * Implementation services, including call centers, voice messaging systems, Internet and video systems

More information about Network Performance Services is available at www.bellatlantic.com.

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