Senate awards IT support deal

Signal Corp. has won a five-year contract worth an expected $100 million to maintain the Senate's information technology infrastructure and provide help desk support to all its offices, the company announced May 28.

Under the contract, Fairfax, Va.-based Signal and its subcontractors — Hewlett-Packard Co. and Interstate Van Lines Inc. — will provide IT installation and maintenance, help desk support, and acquisition and inventory services for hardware and software for the Senate's 9,000 personal computers and 1,000 servers. The computers and servers are in the Senate's Capitol Hill office buildings and in 450 field offices across the United States.

Signal officers were especially jubilant about the win — the largest contract in company history — because the firm competed for the Senate contract in 1998 and lost to Affiliated Computer Systems Inc.

"When we didn't win last time, [Signal president and chief executive officer] Roger Mody resolved that we were going to go after it again and win it," said Bob Smith, the company's chief administrative officer. "A lot of contractors would have given up, but we didn't. It was very much by design that we competed this time and won."

Signal will staff the help desk system and install and maintain IT equipment on Capitol Hill, while HP — by way of divisions acquired through its recent merger with Compaq Computer Corp. — will provide hardware installation and maintenance services for both the Capitol Hill and field offices, Smith said.

Interstate will assist with inventory and transport services, he said.

Technical experts from the old Compaq — now the "new" HP — have worked on parts of the Senate's IT infrastructure before. "Some of that experience at least positioned us to demonstrate the level of our service and capability" to the Senate's Sergeant at Arms, whose office awarded the contract, said Ralph Lipizzi, head of HP services for the public sector.

"We haven't had a tremendous amount of experience working with Signal, but we thought we sync-ed up very well together," Lipizzi added.

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