FSI opens door to municipalities

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-requests for proposals, bids and contracts of planned technology projects.

FSI subscribers are mostly major government IT 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.

Hesaid providing a national database of municipal IT prospects would enhance the competitive bidding process for cities and counties, while contractors could broaden their business prospects. FSI has predicted that by 2004, the state and local market will grow to $45.3 billion, a 5.3 percent compounded annual growth rate increase.

To be listed, municipalities would be subject to similar criteria asstates, 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.

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