Listen and learn

Nick Wakeman

As we went to press with this issue, Sprint Nextel Corp. had not announced yet whether it would protest the Networx Universal awards. The company is still in the running for Networx Enterprise, and if it wins a spot on that portion of the contract, Sprint should be a strong competitor for telecommunications business among the government agencies.

Sprint's dilemma is that the window for protesting Universal will close before the company knows the outcome of the competition for Enterprise. An informal poll on WashingtonTechnology.com had 43 percent of respondents recommending that Sprint file a protest. Thirty-eight percent were against filing a protest, and the rest said they were not sure.

The loss for Sprint has to be a crushing blow, although Tony D'Agata, vice president of the company's federal government business, put a brave face on the defeat. He told Associate Editor Michael Hardy that only about 30 percent of Sprint's government revenue came from FTS 2001, the contract Networx replaces.

The timing is good for this issue of Washington Technology, because the Networx Universal awards coincide with our cover story, which explores the relationship between contractor and customer.

In a survey of readers of our sister publication, Government Computer News, we asked about past performance, small and large business preferences and reasons projects run into trouble.

One theme dominated, and it's one that the Networx winners should take to heart. Projects live and die on keeping the lines of communications open. It starts with the writing of the request for proposals and it continues through the life of a project.

So although AT&T Inc., Qwest Communications International Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. have plenty of reason to celebrate, they had also better be ready to listen.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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