Firms share intell, school markets

Sometimes the best way for a company to infiltrate a new market is to partner with a firm already established there. And there's no better way to seal the deal than by returning the favor.

That's exactly what SAS Institute Inc. and BTG Inc. are doing for each other.

SAS, a provider of e-intelligence and decision-support software, and BTG, an information systems and technical services company, announced Thursday that they have signed a strategic alliance agreement that will draw on each firm's expertise to target the intelligence and K-12 school markets.

The companies will provide data warehousing, data mining and decision-support solutions through BTG's client base in the intelligence community and SAS' foundation in the school market, said Jeff Babcock, vice president of SAS Institute's public-sector sales and marketing group, at the SAS Public Sector Executive Event in Washington, D.C.

For new business, BTG will be the exclusive integrator of SAS solutions to the intelligence community. And BTG, through its Technology in Schools practice, wants to expand its presence in the K-12 market by working with SAS to identify and create technology solutions for public schools.

"There were two driving forces: Intell is very important to BTG and K-12 is very important to SAS," Babcock said, adding that SAS has an internal program dedicated to the education market but is working on re-evaluating that space as part of the alliance. "There's a good synergy between the two organizations...and by the fourth quarter, we should have a formal [K-12] program to roll out."

Les Rose, senior vice president and general manager at BTG, said the time lines for providing benefits to the diverse market segments was different. Short-term gains are possible in K-12, but with intelligence, "There's a little longer lead time to penetrate," Rose said.

"In the intelligence community, their problems take time to evolve a methodology," said Jeff Handy, vice president of business development for defense and intelligence at BTG.

Still, Handy said, "Within a quarter, I expect to see things penetrating into the five large national agencies. We have to bridge the gap between commercial best practices and the problems."

BTG and SAS are working together on a number of government projects, including some in the intelligence agencies as well as an ongoing relationship at the Agriculture Department, Babcock said.

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