FSI opens door to municipalities
- By Dibya Sarkar
- Jul 10, 2001
Contractors that look to Federal Sources Inc. for leads on information technology
opportunities in federal and state government soon could tap into a new
database of cities and counties.
FSI, a McLean, Va.-based market research and consulting firm, is planning
to unveil a municipal database by year's end, said Bill Knauer, director
of state and local government content. Similar to its federal and state
counterparts, the city and county database would list pre-RFPs (requests
for proposals), bids and contracts of planned technology projects.
FSI subscribers are mostly major IT government vendors and smaller companies
seeking business opportunities in the public sector.
When FSI launched its state database seven years ago, it planned to
list municipal opportunities as well but found the task too difficult. Less
than 5 percent of opportunities currently in the state database are municipally
related, he said. Creating a separate municipal database gained support
after several clients and other IT vendors responded favorably to the idea.
A majority of municipalities also expressed interest. This time around,
FSI's sister organization, Atlanta-based American City & County magazine,
is co-developing the database by providing mailing lists, contacts and research
information about municipalities, Knauer said.
He said providing a national
database of municipal IT prospects would enhance the competitive bidding
process for cities and counties, while contractors would broaden their business
prospects. FSI has predicted that by 2004, the state and local market would
grow to $45.3 billion, a 5.3 percent compounded annual growth rate increase.
To be listed, municipalities would be subject to similar criteria as
the states, Knauer said, except that the value threshold for municipal listings
would be much lower. State listings must be at least $100,000. Initially,
the database would list opportunities culled from the top 50 U.S. cities
and counties in terms of population: 25 cities with 500,000 people or more
— such as New York, Houston and Philadelphia — and 25 counties with more
than 750,000 people — including Los Angeles County; Cook County, Ill.; and
Harris County, Texas.
Knauer said the company hopes to list 100 IT opportunities before the
database is rolled out. Eventually, Knauer said they'd like to include hundreds
more municipalities. The current challenge is to persuade municipalities
to share information with FSI, Knauer said, adding that FSI is in the "feeling-out
stage," meaning that the company is building relationships and understanding
each municipality's procurement rules.