IBM works on public-sector foothold

Expanding its efforts to gain a stronger share of the public-sector market,

IBM Corp. recently announced it has forged new alliances with four e-government

companies.

The companies — Image-X/E-Filing.com, Infocorp, Sysinct and TekInsight.com

— will become part of a year-old IBM program known as Government Specialty

for e-business, joining seven other companies.

The program is designed to seek out companies that offer a particular

expertise in the public-sector market, which is defined as government, education

and health, said David White, director of IBM solutions and business partner

sales. In exchange, partners would implement an IBM platform.

"Some of these firms have grown up and developed niche markets in the

e-government [arena]," he said. "It would be ludicrous for us to compete

with them."

He said IBM looks at a company's financial viability and long-term business

plan before it decides to form a partnership. White said IBM's partnerships

are different from those of its competitors because the company doesn't

just look at providing an electronic solution — it takes into account the

other ways governments deliver services, whether over-the-counter service,

via snail mail or via telephone. "We can't disassociate other avenues they're

delivering," he said.

The four new partnerships would offer services such as e-filing for

courts, social services applications, revenue management, and online tax

and violation payments.

The alliances have paid off and IBM has won some significant deals it

would have otherwise lost, White said.

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