Sun Federal continues restructuring

In an effort to be more responsive to the needs of government customers, Sun Microsystems Federal has named John Marselle to the newly created position of chief operating officer. Marselle has been vice president of U.S. Government Strategic Sales and president of Sun Federal, among other positions, during his 20-year career at Sun.

The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Microsystems, is continuing along a path set a year ago by Clark Masters, president of Sun Federal. The company has individual units dedicated to specific agencies on one side and a direct line to the parent company on the other. The arrangement allows Sun to understand the needs of each agency and bring the latest technology to bear on them, Masters said.

"We were a little fragmented," he said. "Customers now buy solutions, not boxes.”

The connection to headquarters is a key difference in the organizational structure, said Marie O'Brien, vice president of sales.

“In the past, you had to go much higher into the organization to get the investment you need to make sure that [technology is] available to the customer," she said. "Now it’s one step away.”

After the collapse of the Internet bubble, Sun withdrew into a tactical mode that didn't always consider the needs of customers, Masters said. He's been trying to turn that around in the federal sector.

"This is all about aligning to our customers, doing what they need us to be doing rather than just monetizing our intellectual property quarter to quarter," he said. "When you’re in the government, you’re in a long-term play.”

“The biggest thing is to really strengthen our strategy," Marselle said. "When we built the division, way back in the 1986 time frame, what we did well was we had a good focus on our strategy and a good line into our customer base.”

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