More or less?
- By Dan Caterinicchia, Dan Caterinicchia
- Aug 21, 2000
The next few years may introduce yet another variable into the PC market — a shrinking government, as a large number of federal employees become
eligible for retirement and the pool of workers remains small. But, paradoxically,
a smaller work force may increase business for vendors as agencies push
"Because we have considerably less people than we did years ago, but
more of a demand for IT, the market for computers and software is staying
fairly level," said Col. Neal Fox, director of the Air Force's Commercial
Information Technology-Product Area Directorate. "We need to do the same
job with less people, and we need to automate and innovate to do that."
The Air Force has established an e-commerce site that links customers with
vendors in the hardware and software markets to compensate for shortfalls
in personnel, Fox said.
Rebecca West, program manager for the Information Technology Omnibus
Procurement II contract at the Transportation Department, said she is concerned
about the possibility of a large percentage of federal employees leaving
and taking their IT knowledge with them. "But that just reinforces the fact
that we need to come up with technological solutions to help solve those
Ron Ross, president of Compaq Federal LLC, called the potential loss
of employees "the biggest challenge the government faces in the next three
years.... It's not a matter of whether the government is going to replace
them," Ross said. "They are replacing them as fast as they can, but not
fast enough to replace 45 percent over three years."
He said the numbers are leveling off, and looking ahead at the next
six months, desktop sales are pretty flat, but it runs in spurts. "I think
the general trend over time is flat, but the real question is the availability
of people and increased productivity versus increased personnel. You've
got to be able to do more with less."