Here's news: One IT sector still humming


The term enterprise resource planning may have become passe, but the federal ERP market is still quite healthy, a forecast from a market research company suggests.

ERP automates such classic business operations as financial management, human resources management and payroll. The federal ERP market will grow by nearly 9 percent over the next five years, reaching $1.8 billion by 2005, an analysis by Inuput shows.

Federal agencies are continuing to deploy ERP software to automate and streamline internal business processes, said Cathy Vlassis, a marketing representative at Vienna, Va.-based Input. The federal government still has many more legacy systems that cannot provide required information or share information with other organizations, she said.

"It's such an important part of being ready to implement electronic government initiatives," Vlassis said. Customers are demanding a certain level of customer service through e-government initiatives, and that is driving the agency need for up-to-date, interoperable systems, she said.

"We always suspect that the government is lagging behind the commercial marketplace, but clearly there are so many old legacy systems that need to be replaced," she said.

The term ERP may have shifted somewhat, but the concept has remained relatively consistent. The Input analysis included typical ERP components such as enterprise applications including finance, human resources, resource management, procurement and travel. It did not, however, include customer resource management and electronic businesses in their calculations.

"The ERP vendors are selling much broader electronic solutions than they were a few years ago," Vlassis said, but agencies are still doing a lot of work automating and streamlining their internal biz process.

Conscience of the mistakes of the past, projects are becoming more focused and are more closely tied to the agency's mission, according to the Input report, "Federal ERP MarketView." Professional services represents more than 50 percent of ERP spending and will continue to grow faster than software, hardware or maintenance spending, exceeding $1 billion by 2005, Input forecasts.

Agencies have received mediocre financial management grades from Rep. Stephen Horn (R-Calif.). In his most recent report card, the former university president gave the federal government an overall grade of C-minus.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine,, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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